Sunday, 16 January 2011

Contemplating the Throne of God

The first thing that comes to my mind when I contemplate the Throne of God is Isaiah’s vision when he tells us “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple” (Isa 6:1). What privilege to be given a vision of this nature, of the very Throne room of the Holy and Awesome God of Israel. It is no wonder that Isaiah cried out “Woe to me!...I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” (Isa 6:5).

I also think of those great men of God - Daniel, Ezekiel, the apostle John - who were given similar visions, and I watch as they stumble around trying to express with mere human words what our language can never capture, for there are simply no words to describe the Otherness of their vision – the Heavenly Throne Room.

Who can dare to look in on this Throne Room? Who is worthy? How can we approach One who is Holy – no, more than that, who is Holy, Holy, Holy? How can these eyes of ours, belonging to bodies of sin as they do, dare to behold such Awesome Splendour and not be engulfed in fires of Holiness?

The answer – we can’t. We join Isaiah in crying out “Woe to me!”

Yet all is not lost. Because there is One who is Worthy, Jesus Christ the Beloved Son of the Father! Faith in Him and in His atoning death means - our sins are taken away, we are washed clean in His blood, and clothed in His Righteousness we can approach this Heavenly Throne. The glorious gospel message.

Yet the Bible teaches us there is even more to it than simply being able to approach this throne, which is news enough to leave someone on their knees in gratitude for life. For Hebrews rings out with this call of faith: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence” (Heb 4:16). With confidence! I am reminded of Queen Esther who approached the throne of her husband and King with the thought “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). Her life depended on whether she won his favour, which would be shown if he were to extend the gold sceptre in his hand towards her. We have no such worries! We KNOW that we have won the favour of our King, that His gold sceptre is always pointed towards us – because we approach Him in the Name of His Beloved Son, who always has His favour.

And still there is more! For not only do we have access to the Throne of God, which we can approach in confidence – we have a High Priest there who empathizes with us, with our weaknesses. Our Mediator, Jesus Christ, who has enabled us to approach the Heavenly Throne, is fully Divine, fully man, and He understands us. Our Mediator is full of compassion as He intercedes for us. His Father, our Father, has no less compassion – for He knows how we are formed, He knows we are as dust, and as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. We have a hope of receiving mercy and finding grace to help us in our time of need at this Throne. Oh the depth of the riches of the grace of God!

I don’t know about you, but this knowing “in part” provides such joy and delight in this heart of mine – I can’t begin to fathom what it will be like when we shall see face to face and know fully, even as we are fully known now. For as if all this were not good news enough, we still have this promise to look forward to:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away... The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. " (Revelation 21:1-4; Rev 22:3-5).

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

I wrote the tune and lyrics for this hymn a year or so ago as I contemplated the throne of God. Unable to sing well or write the music down I didn’t quite know how to take it forward. Then during the summer a good friend of mine, Ken Johnstone, transcribed the music for me. And recently I discovered that the talented writer and fellow pilgrim Petra Hefner of Penned Pebbles has a talented musical husband Rick who agreed to arrange and perform my hymn. I am absolutely delighted with what he has done with it, and I hope it blesses you!


  1. Yes, Diana! I am with you 100%! What "joy and delight", even in the midst of suffering, we have in the knowledge that one day we shall see Him face to face! May God, by His grace, keep this eternity of ours in full view!

    Also, I so love the words to your hymn and Rick's arrangement and performance! Bless God for such talent and giftings!

    Love and blessings to you!!!

  2. This is beautiful. Thank you for writing it and sharing this.

  3. To approach the Holy One at all without perishing; to approach the throne in confidence; to be so filled with God's riches already yet only know in part... Oh, LORD, what joy--what glorious awe shall fill us when we come face to face at last? Amen!

    What a glorious post! Your hymn is so beautiful, the lyrics so rich! Rick and I are very happy that you're pleased, and thank you for everything. Love and hugs!

  4. Oh Christina! I'm simply blown away! What a TREAT! And how cool that Rick Hefner performed this! Maybe we will all one day sing your beautiful song together before His throne!

    Thank you my good friend!

  5. Oops Diana! I apologize - I had just looked at Christina's name on her comment above when I was typing! duh! :)

  6. Christina - you help me to keep this eternity of ours in full view, thank you. Love and blessings to you!

    Lisa - Hi there! I am so touched by your reading, listening and encouraging comment. It means a lot to me, thank you. God bless you.

    Petra - So glad that this has been a joint project with you both! Love and hugs to you.

    Diane - The great thing about when we all sing before His throne will be that ALL our voices will sound good then :) Even mine :)

  7. "Who is like unto Thee, Oh Lord, among the gods..." (Exodus 15:11). I live for the day when all that ever lived shall finally realize and see that He was always the ONE. As in the profound final climactic words of the Pharaoh (Yul Brenner) in the movie The Ten Commandments, "His God, IS GOD".

  8. Hi Sam, thanks for stopping by, and I pray He continues to reveal more of Himself to us as we await that awesome Day!