6 In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
7 Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8 Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9 He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
Advent is a rescue mission.
David is describing his own personal angelic advent. The arrival of God in his time of distress. And it is epic (literally). If you have time read the whole psalm. What you and I would see as just another day in human history, David describes as the awesome and cosmic work of the Lord. David winning a battle on earth is smoke from God’s nostrils and fire from his mouth. David’s enemy, Saul, dying in battle, a normal part of war, is God bowing the heavens and coming down with thick darkness under his feet riding on a cherub.
My guess is that we don’t see the events of our lives this way. We are likely oblivious to all of the rescues of God. All of the angelic advents that have occurred throughout our lives. How many times has God ridden down on his cherub for you this year? This week? Today?
The truth is that it’s happening all the time. Coming down with angels is what God does. Hopefully this advent series is helping you to see that. God is transcendent, yes. He is far above us. He has to ride down. But he is also imminent. Ride down he does! Carried by his cherub to rescue you and me today.
So why do we miss it? Because God’s works are veiled in darkness – He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him. Usually God’s angelic advents aren’t visible. His rescue missions are hidden. No literal earthquakes. No actual smoke and fire. No vision of the cherubim storming down from heaven. Just darkness.
But if you can have the eyes of faith to see, you know that time and time again God has arrived to rescue you. To draw you out of many waters. To bring you into a broad place. Why? Because he delights in you.
How can we know that God is rescuing us like this? That he delights in us as he did David? We can know because 2000 years ago God rode down on the cherub and invaded earth to rescue us through the birth of Jesus Christ. Veiled in flesh but piercing the darkness. Born out of the brightness of the angelic splendor but dying under the canopy of God’s darkness.
How do we know that God is rescuing us? Because the God of Psalm 18 has united his life to ours in Christ. God delights in us because he delights in his son Jesus. In Christ we are his anointed to whom he shows steadfast love. The unconditional covenant love of the God who has ridden down into our hearts on his cherub giving us the power of Christ and his righteous life.
How do we know that God is rescuing us? Because one day another angelic advent will occur. God will ride down on his cherub again. This time visible to the whole world. Smoke from his nostrils and fire from his mouth. And all the world will see him. No more veil of darkness. Just light.
Every eye shall now behold him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at nought and sold him,
Pierced and nailed him to the tree,
Shall the true Messiah see. (Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending)
- Have you experienced the rescue of Psalm 18? The spiritual rescue from your sins?
- Spend some time today meditating on this psalm. Remember that because God rode down to earth as a baby in a manger and as a man upon the cross to rescue you from the outside in, he now can ride down into your heart to rescue you from the inside out.