Visions of a seated God

A while back I listened to this sermon on Psalm 2. When he came to verse 4, the preacher remarked that God doesn’t even bother to stand up, and that one recurring theme in scripture is that of God seated on His throne. You know those things that though they never crossed your mind, once they’re pointed out to you, they start popping up all over the place? This was one of those for me.

Isaiah “saw the Lord sitting upon a throne.” Ezekiel saw “the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance.” The psalms have abundant references to God sitting on His throne (I found these), as do the prophets. And in Revelation, God is simply referred to as “Him who is seated on the throne.”

So what?

In the movie The King’s Speech, there’s a scene in which the speech therapist settles himself in the seat reserved for the king at his coronation. His Majesty is indignant, and rightly so. That piece of wood and upholstery had symbolic significance–only those with the right kind of authority could sit in it. How much more with the God of the universe! His is a throne no other being can occupy, not even in jest.

God’s throne is high, holy and lifted up far away from all the messiness of human sinfulness. In Revelation 4, we see it surrounded by concentric circles of holy beings, lightning, thunder and rainbows. He is a transcendent God, absolutely nothing like us. And yet He desires to dwell with us:

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
   who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
   and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
   and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
–Isaiah 57:15

You can’t make up that kind of deity!

Finally, here’s my current favourite song, Behold Our God, which explores the otherness of God and His coming down to our level in Jesus Christ:

Live recording:

Studio recording: