“Above [the Lord] stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’ ” (vv. 2–3).
Deuteronomy 3:21–22 records God’s promise to Joshua that He would go with Israel and fight for His people as they took the promised land. And as we have seen thus far in our study of the book of Joshua, God did just that, giving the people of Israel victory over the Canaanites. But how did the Lord fight for Israel? Other key texts in Scripture indicate that God fights for His people through the angelic host (2 Kings 6:8–23; Dan. 10:13), and even in Joshua we see the “commander of the army of the Lord,” the preincarnate Son of God who leads the Lord’s army—His mighty angels—into battle (Josh. 5:13–15). So that we will have a better understanding of the angels and the role they play in the lives of God’s people, we will now pause our study of the Old Testament Historical Books and base our next few days of studies on Angels and Demons, a teaching series by Dr. R.C. Sproul.
When we consider the topic of angels, we face an interesting paradox. Clearly, angels have played an important role in the history of God’s people. Scripture, in fact, uses the Greek word for “angel” (angelos) more often than it uses the Greek word for “sin” (hamartia). At the same time, the Word of God tells us very little specifically about the angels. Evidently, the Lord wants us to know that His angels are key players in the outworking of His purposes, but He has also determined not to tell us all that we might want to know about the angels. We must therefore be content with what He has revealed, trusting that it gives us everything we need to know about the angels on this side of glory.
One of the most extensive descriptions of angels in the Bible is found in Isaiah 6:1–7, which gives us information about the seraphim. These seraphim worship the Lord continually in heaven, shielding their faces with two of their six wings. Even the angels cannot bear to look directly on the glory of God, which frequently manifests itself as blinding rays of light (Matt. 17:1–3; Acts 9:1–9; Rev. 1:16). Angels are supernatural beings, but they remain creatures who are in a distinct class from their Creator. They cannot enjoy a direct view of God’s majesty.
Isaiah 6:1–7 tells us that the seraphim focus their praise on the Lord in His holiness, naming Him as holy in threefold repetition. That is instructive for us. If the angels exalt the Lord God Almighty as holy, surely we cannot afford to do anything less.
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
The holiness of the God revealed in the Bible sets Him apart from all other gods. If we downplay or neglect this holiness, therefore, we are in danger of committing idolatry, of not speaking of God in the way that He has revealed Himself. Let us take some time to meditate on the holiness of God today and praise Him for His distinctness from all creation.