Then the earth shook and quaked;
And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also,
and came down with thick darkness under His feet. (vv.7-9)
When first reading this prose, it seems out of place from the first six verses. The poetic praise of David for God’s deliverance begins as a beautiful time of worship. David is thankful for all the deliverance he has experienced from the hand of God. The intro to this Psalm reads: A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. David cultivated a grateful heart. He abruptly ends his time of worship with a discourse describing an angry God. However, upon deeper reflection, we have insight into who God is angry with ~ it is not David, but David’s enemies that incur God’s wrath.
He rode upon a cherub and flew;
And He sped upon the wings of the wind. (v. 10)
I searched extensively for an accurate portrait of the cherubim; I searched in vain. The most accurate is the description of them on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The glory of God rested between the cherubim when He spoke to Moses, or when the high priest was ministering in the Holy of Holies. Cherubim are mostly portrayed as babies with wings, flying through the air with their bow and arrow, likened to Cupid. Cherubim guarded the Garden of Eden with flaming swords. They are not baby angels; they are mighty warrior angels. As is the case with many heavenly realities, their character and appearance is so far beyond human imagination and present comprehension that they must be described in earthly terms obviously designed to convey something surpassingly supernatural. (Ezek. 1:5-14; 28:12-14)
It is no wonder then that I could not find an accurate picture (except the Mercy Seat). My imagination is awake with a vision of God riding on a cherub with the wings of the wind to rescue me. He is my Rescuer. My Defender. My Saviour. My Refuge. My Strong Tower.
Your locks will be iron and bronze,
And according to your days,
so will your leisurely walk be.
“There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
“The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
And He drove out the enemy from before you,
And said, ‘Destroy!’
“So Israel dwells in security
(Deuteronomy 33:25-28a emphasis mine).
Just as the Lord heard the cries of help from Israel, and from David, He hears you and me. He rides the heavens in all His Majesty and Glory to rescue His people when they cry out to Him. He defeats our enemies and brings us to safety. Trials will still come; enemies will still attack, but God empowers and strengthens us with His grace to defeat them and to overcome.
How can we have confidence like David? David cultivated a grateful heart, and a worshipful spirit. The Psalms penned by David reflect his heart toward God. He worshiped God through every trial; He was the One David called upon at the first sign of trouble. Sometimes the prose of figurative language can cause us to read over David’s poetic praise, and not understand how it can apply to us. David’s description of God’s power and wrath is colorful indeed, but it is important to remember, that David’s words are figurative. He did not actually see God ride through the heavens on a cherub. He did not see the earth shake and the foundations of the mountains tremble. He did not see smoke out of His nostrils, and fire from His mouth. He did not see God come down from heaven with thick darkness under His feet. He did not see these events literally, but through God’s wondrous and majestic creation, He describes God’s character and His deliverance. He sees into the realm of the spirit to describe for us what God is doing behind the scenes that we cannot see. Moses and David both saw God riding through the heavens through spiritual eyes.
Let’s travel to 2 Kings 6 and meet up with Elisha and his servant. They are taking shelter in a house in a stand-off with the Arameans who aim to capture Elisha. The man of God and his servant are completely surrounded. Elisha is completely confident in God; the servant is petrified. Elisha attempts to comfort his servant with his trust in the Lord to deliver them from this situation, but the servant believes it to be impossible. Elisha prays to God for the eyes of his servant to be opened so that he can see that the army of God’s angels actually have the enemy surrounded: Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. (v.6)
The Lord will do the same and more for us. We may not see mountains tremble, but Christ declared that we can cast mountains into the sea. (Mark 11:23) He has given us power to trample on serpents and scorpions. (Luke 10:19) He has empowered us to have power over the enemy; He said we will have trials, but that He has overcome them all. (John 16: 33)
He made darkness His hiding place,
His canopy around Him,
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
He sent out His arrows, and scattered them,
And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.
Then the channels of water appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare
At Your rebuke, O Lord,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all His ordinances were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
I was also blameless with Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.
With the kind You show Yourself kind;
With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;
With the pure You show Yourself pure,
And with the crooked You show Yourself astute.
David finishes his Psalm of worship painting a majestic picture of God’s deliverance. Though David’s enemy was strong, and could overpower him, he continued to trust in God’s deliverance. He saw in the natural when he was finally free from Saul. He saw it spiritually because of His trust in God’s faithfulness, His deliverance, and His nature and character. He Knew God. He knew God intimately because he nurtured his relationship with God in thanksgiving and worship. That is how we can know God intimately too, through His Holy Writ, and by nurturing a thankful heart, and a worshipful spirit.
 Terry Law, The Truth About Angels (Lake Mary: Charisma House, 1994), 115.