Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:
“You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
“You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
“By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;
I cast you to the ground,
I laid you before kings,
That they might gaze at you.
“You defiled your sanctuaries
By the multitude of your iniquities,
By the iniquity of your trading;
Therefore I brought fire from your midst;
It devoured you,
And I turned you to ashes upon the earth
In the sight of all who saw you. (Ezekiel 28:11-18)
We are neither the masters of our fates nor the captains of our souls. Sometimes, like the King of Tyre, we forget that. Tyre was a prosperous city whose wealth came from its extensive trade. God compared its king to the first human in paradise and described his destruction in language similar to Adam’s expulsion from Eden. Like Adam, the king of Tyre had it all. But like Adam, he would lose it all. First the Babylonians would repeatedly sack Tyre, and then Alexander the Great would destroy it.
The king of Tyre was called a cherub because, as the anointed king of the city, he guarded it. Cherubs were a kind of angel, usually pictured as a winged lion, like the images that flanked the thrones of Assyrian kings. Like most Middle Eastern despots of the time, the king of Tyre believed himself to be a god. But thanks to the fact that human beings, even kings, are mortal—God easily put him in his place.
No matter how much control we may think we have of our lives, no matter how well off we may be, our lives and our fortunes are in God’s hands, not ours.