Before the Throne of God Above

  • Jan. 19, 2012
  • #7754

Joni sings "Before the Throne of God Above" and shares the importance of approaching God's throne to obtain mercy before submitting our requests.

Hi, I'm Joni and here’s a beautiful contemporary hymn I think you know… 

Before the Throne of God Above

I have a strong and perfect plea.

A great high Priest whose Name is Love

Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,

My name is written on His heart.

I know that while in Heaven He stands

No tongue can bid me thence depart.

No tongue can bid me thence depart.

Of all the modern hymns there are, this is a real favorite, isn’t it? I just love the title – “Before the Throne of God Above.” It comes from Hebrews chapter 4, verse 16 where it says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Don’t you just love that idea, that we can approach God's throne with confidence… but not to first find help for all our needs. Rather, we approach the throne of grace so that we might receive mercy. That is always the first order of things.

For instance, my husband Ken usually drives me to work in the morning in the Toyota van and as we drive down the freeway, we usually take that time to pray together – we’ve got a whole list of people that we pray for, besides things going on at Joni and Friends like delivering wheelchairs or holding Family Retreats or whatever. It’s a great way to spend the 20 minutes it takes to get from our house to work. Well, the other day, as Ken was driving, he starts out praying, “Thank you, Lord, for the day and we come before you to ask for our friends who have lost loved ones…” and he started listing off a bunch of names. But as he prayed, I felt this little tinge, a little pin-prick on my conscience. I mean… here we are just coming to God as though He were our personal butler, our vending machine, our go-to-guy. Got a need? God’ll take care of it. Well, I joined in with Ken in naming out loud the various people and needs we pray for…

But afterward, I mentioned what was troubling my mind – and we both agreed. We take way too much for granted. So ever since then, as we’ve approached the throne of grace, as we drive that distance from our house to the Joni and Friends International Disability Center, we pray first to obtain mercy and we do it carefully and respectfully. “God? We don’t deserve the privilege of even entering your presence; there’s nothing we’ve done to earn a hearing with you… we are poor sinners. But we come before you because of Jesus and the mercy you’ve shown us through Him. So, for His sake, may we present to you our requests?” Friend that is what it means to first obtain mercy. Then we find grace to help us in our time of need.” Mercy is first and the needs come second.

I like the way Matthew Henry describes Hebrews 4:16, “There is a throne of grace set up, a way of worship instituted, in which God may with honor meet poor sinners… God might have set up a tribunal of strict and inexorable justice, dispensing death, the wages of sin, to all who were convened before it; but he has chosen to set up a throne of grace… A throne of grace speaks great encouragement even to the chief of sinners. There grace reigns, and acts with sovereign freedom, power, and bounty.” That’s what happens before the throne of God above.

© Joni and Friends

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