Their entire bodies, including their backs, hands, and wings, were full of eyes all around, as were their four wheels.
I. THE EXPRESSION CASTS LIGHT UPON THE NATURE OF GOD. The voice is, among all the inhabitants of this earth, man's prerogative alone. And for this reason - man alone has reason, and therefore he alone has speech. There are noises and sounds, and even musical sounds, in nature; but to man alone belongs the voice, the organ of articulate speech and intelligible language. When voice is attributed to the Almighty God, it is implied that he is himself in perfection that Reason which he communicates to his creature man. Our intellect and thought are derived from his, and are akin to his; our reason is "the candle of the Lord" within.
II. THE EXPRESSION CASTS LIGHT UPON THE INTERCOURSE BETWEEN GOD AND MAN. The purpose of the voice is that man may communicate with his fellow man by means of articulate language, and by means of all those varied and delicate shades of intonation by which we convey our sentiments, and indicate satisfaction and disapproval, confidence and distrust, tenderness and severity, inquiry and command. Now, where we meet in Scripture with the phrase, "the voice of God Almighty when he speaketh," we are led to think of the purpose for which he utters his voice. It is evidently to communicate with man - mind with mind - that we may be acquainted with his thoughts, his wishes, his sentiments with regard to us, if we may use language so human. The whole of nature may be regarded as uttering the Divine thought, though, as the psalmist tells us, "there is no speech nor language, and their voice cannot be heard." But his articulate speech comes through the medium of human minds - the minds of prophets and apostles, and (above all) the mind of Christ Jesus. The Word speaks with the Divine voice; in him alone that voice reaches us with all the faultless tones, and with the perfect revelation which we need in order that we may realize and rejoice in the presence of the Divine Father of spirits, the Divine Saviour and Helper.
III. THIS EXPRESSION CASTS LIGHT UPON THE DUTY AND PRIVILEGE OF MAN.
1. It is ours to listen with grateful joy to the voice of God. "The friend of the bridegroom rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice." Christ speaks, and his utterances are welcome to every believing and sympathetic nature; they are as the sound of a voice long expected and wished for, as it now fails upon the listening and eager ear. The sinner may well dread the voice which can speak to him as with the thunder of threatened vengeance. But the Christian recognizes the tones of love and the accents of gentleness.
2. It is ours to listen to the voice of God with believing submission and obedience. God's voice is always with authority. Because he reveals himself as our Father, he does not cease to command. "Ye have not heard his voice at any time," was the stern reproach addressed by Jesus to the unspiritual Jews. The exhortation comes to us all, "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." - T.
Ezekiel 1:18. It is said there the rings were full of eyes; here, that all, even wheels and cherubims, were full of eyes, and He that sat on the throne, even the Lord, He is full of eyes.
Full of eyes round about.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
1. The motions of causes and creatures here below are not casual or disorderly. The wheels and cherubims are full of eyes, they see and know their way, the work they have to do, the place they are to go unto; the eye of Providence is in every creature and every motion. When things fall out contrary, or beside our expectations, you say they are mischances; but you are mistaken: in sea or land affairs, in martial, magisterial, or ministerial, yea domestic affairs, whatever falls out is an act of Providence; surprising or sinking of ships, disappointment of counsels, defeating of armies, escape of prisoners, interception of letters, firing of towns, drownings, self-murderings, divisions of brethren, clandestine marriages, abortions, divorces, the eyes of Providence are in them all, and heaven's intentions are accomplished in them.
2. There is much glory and beauty in the works of Divine providence. All the wheels and cherubims are full of eyes; the wheels have eyes round about, not in one place, but in every place; the cherubims, their bodies, backs, hands, and wings are full of eyes; and (Revelation 4:8) they are full of eyes within, they are inwardly and outwardly glorious, beautiful. Man's eyes add not so much beauty and glory to his face, as these eyes do to the works of God in the world. The peacock's train, which is full of eyes, how beautiful and glorious is it! yet far short of the beauty and glory which is in God's government of the world. When the queen of Sheba saw so much wisdom in a man, so much glory and beauty in the order of his house, she admired, and had no spirit left in her (1 Kings 10:4, 5). And could we see the wisdom which is in God, the glory and beauty which is in His ordering the wheels, we would be so far from complaining of any wheel's motion that we would admire every wheel, the order and motion of it; but oh, how blind are we, who hardly have an eye to see any of these eyes! When a man is on a high hill, there are many hedges, ditches, and separations of one piece of land from another; there are low shrubs and higher trees, here a hill and there a river; yet all contribute something to make a beautiful and glorious prospect to the eye: and so it is in the works of providence. If we were lifted up by the Spirit to view the wheels and their motions, we should find that all these things that seem grievous to us, our wars, divisions, taxes, burdens, and such like, do contribute much towards a glorious prospect.
(W. Greenhill, M. A.)
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