God Is on His Throne
Do events in your life or in society ever cause you to wonder if God is really in control of things? I suspect that God’s revelation of Himself to Isaiah in the vision recorded in Isaiah 6:1-8 was intended in part to resolve such questions in the mind of the prophet.
Isaiah’s unparalleled view of God’s glory revealed God as sovereign, holy, wrathful, loving, and good. In this post I want to look at just the first of those, focusing on Isaiah’s vision of God’s sovereignty: “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple” (Isa. 6:1). With the king dead, and the throne of Judah empty, Isaiah saw the supreme throne in heaven occupied by Isaiah’s true King.
We notice, first, that God was seated. Every spring, I assist as a music adjudicator for a state-wide high school fine arts competition. At these events I often cross paths with colleagues I’ve not seen in some time. On one recent occasion I almost literally ran into an old acquaintance as I was hurrying down a hallway looking for one of the student-competitors. I didn’t see her until she was right in front of me and called my name. I said, “Oh, hi! It’s nice to see you, but I don’t have time to talk right now because I’m dealing with something of a crisis.” I didn’t want to hurt her feelings or offend her, but I had left the competition room suspending the male vocal solo event, because the previous competitor had inadvertently walked out with the judging forms the other judge and I had completed for those who had already sung. If I didn’t retrieve those forms, the entire category was in jeopardy. I was frantically trying to fix a problem, scrambling for a solution, and I didn’t have time to stop to chat even for a minute. How unlike God that is! The nation of Judah may have been in disarray after the death of King Uzziah, but God was not frantic or in “crisis mode” dashing around trying to figure out what to do. Heaven’s throne room remained as tranquil as ever. God was seated on His throne.
Secondly, we see that God was governing all creation. His rule was not limited to Judah. All nations, including our own, are under His sovereign jurisdiction, and He had everything under control from His “lofty and exalted” position. Psalm 115:3 reminds us that “God is in the heavens, He does whatever He pleases.”
The third detail we notice is that God’s greatness and glory could not be contained. In the ancient world, the greatness of a king was displayed by the length of the train of his robes of state. When Isaiah saw the Lord’s robe filling the entire temple of heaven, he understood that it signified the greatness of God that is unlimited or infinite. We also find that part of the angelic attribution of the greatness of God is that “the whole earth is full of His glory” (v. 3). The glory of the Lord that couldn’t be contained in the throne room of heaven can’t be contained in the earth either. May each of us develop an unshakable confidence in our Sovereign God.
“It is precisely this vision of God’s sovereignty that must be recovered in the church today. We must rid ourselves of our silly perception of an anemic god trying to run a universe seemingly out of control. Enough of a ‘designer’ deity who tries to defeat the devil, but never gains the upper hand. Enough of a pathetic god who cannot prevent bad things from happening to good people. God is still sovereign! The throne is still occupied! The King is still in control!” (Lawson, Steve, Made in Our Image: What shall We Do with a ‘User-Friendly’ god?, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, Inc, 2000, p. 213).
Dr. Paul W. Downey