“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” — Mark Twain
Heavenly Songs, Earthly Noise
“In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures. . . . Day and night they never stop saying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” – Revelation 4:6, 8
In chapter 4 of Revelation, the Apostle John has a vision of the throne in heaven. He sees one sitting on the throne with the “appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling and emerald, encircled the throne” (vs.3). I’m not exactly sure what jasper and carnelian look like (they are colorful types of quartz), and I’m not sure how to envision a rainbow that looks like an emerald, but I think that is the point. Our minds cannot comprehend the beauty and magnificence of the throne while we remain on the earth side of heaven. But then, who is to say we’ll be able to wrap our minds around it when we finally see it?
However, that is not what bothers me. What bothers me is the day and night singing of the cherubim.
Cherubim, like us, are created beings. They are not all powerful and all knowing, but they do pre-exist mankind. Although most of us think of cherubim as supernatural angelic beings covered with eyes and having four faces, who protect the throne of God and may even have tremendous power, there is one thing we have that they do not: an experience of the saving mercy and grace of Jesus.
And yet, without this unique relationship and ultimate reason to praise the name of the Lord God Almighty, they still sing His praise and worship at His throne twenty-four hours a day.
I have trouble remembering to worship Him for five minutes in the morning before I go to work. That’s why this passage bothers me.
The cherubim sing constantly without experiencing the saving love of God, but I allow too many earthly distractions to remember to praise His name. Part of me thinks God created cherubim just to praise Him and therefore they have nothing better to do. But I, too, was created to glorify Him, yet spend most of my time looking out for myself. It bothers me that they never experienced the grace, mercy and soul-cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb, but still find themselves in constant praise and worship of the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come, Amen.
Not to change the subject, but that is one of the things that challenges me about the twelve disciples of Jesus. They left businesses and family to follow a man they thought could be the Messiah before they ever saw the world-changing miracle of the resurrection. And I, 2,000 years after the resurrection, still have difficulty believing that Jesus understands my need to have a prosperous job and take care of my family.
It seems that in some ways, cherubim and fishermen have a better understanding of the holiness and worthiness of God than I do. And if their actions and habits are any indication of their gratitude and appreciation of who God is, then my actions and habits have plenty of room to grow. I may not be able to worship God 24/7 (I do have to sleep some time), but I know I can do better than I have. Maybe I’ll start by learning to sing this simple tune: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”