“Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.” (Isaiah 6:2, emphasis mine)
Think about what wings are for. Sure, in the case of chickens and rheas and dodos (secretary birds, too), they don’t do much. But the wing is for flight, how else can I say it? Isaiah opens his sixth chapter with “I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” (all this happened “In the year that king Uzziah died, by the way—6:1) The Lord in repose on His throne is attended here by two seraphim. One of the only descriptors—really, only one is necessary—I can give is that of flame, “burning” as it says in Strong’s. They’re on fire and they must have been a sight to behold. And by the way, that mention of the Lord’s “train [filling] the temple” refers to His glory filling the place where He was; angels don’t hold a candle to the beauty and the brightness of the Lord.
“One thing have I desired of the the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
“Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.” (Psalm 99:9)
Picking around through the Old Testament, an interested party can piece together an image of just what it looks like where God dwells. Yes, it’s true that He dwells in our hearts by His Spirit (see Acts 7:48-50) but metaphorically speaking, it’s almost as if God has His throne room deep in the warren of an impregnable castle at the top of a high mountain overlooking a vast valley. It takes all our effort to approach God and to truly, genuinely seek and obtain audience with the Most High. One doesn’t just happen to find themselves in the holy of holies without a little humility.
“They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.” (Psalm 84:7, emphasis mine)
“Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might…” (2 Peter 2:11a)
What would you do with six wings? Yes, you might fly—I mean, how could you not? But that just takes two. Stay with me here. While we are not angels and even though Jesus says that we’ll be “as the angels of God in Heaven.” (Matthew 22:30b) upon getting there, we’re a different class of being. We were created in the Lord’s image and likeness and yet somehow, we don’t have wings. We can crane our neck to the sky and yearn for the power of flight, but when the day is over, we’re still earth bound. This is how God designed it. It would seem that He has seen fit to start us off at the bottom level, the ground floor. But think about the angels with me for a moment. While I can’t touch on what it means to cover my feet with two of my wings, the implication of covering my face with that which is used to fly is supremely humbling.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4)
This is what we get to do. Thanksgiving is not just a movable feast occurring once a year on the third Thursday of November in America. Thanksgiving is the least common denominator of humility—it’s also its own gift; it is a privilege to be able to give thanks to the Lord on high. It isn’t that we don’t get to look God full in the face (remember, we’re not angels), it’s more about taking our gifts and surrendering them to the Lord and ensuring there’s nothing between you and He.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons (and daughters) unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:9-10)
Very simply, it’s not about us, it’s about Him.