Before the Throne
I love music and find that it touches my soul in a way that nothing else can which is why I think the Bible makes such a big deal about worship. Music helps your soul speak when you can’t utter words, whether that means a beautiful love song, an epic ballad or a boisterous song of praise.
There are so many fantastic songs of praise and worship but my favorite has to be “Before the Throne of God Above” which was written in 1863 by Charitie Lees Smith. I did not know until recently that she title the original composition as “The Advocate” which is very appropriate considering the words. The opening verse says,
“Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea. A great High Priest whose name is Love, whoever 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.”
Hebrews 4:14-16 states that “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize without weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” This song directly speaks to the fact that Christ pleads our case before the throne, even when we don’t have the words to say. I know that there have been times in my life when I have had nothing but a “groan” of suffering to offer to the Lord and yet Christ has spoken on my behalf.
The second verse is just as beautiful saying,
“ When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see him there who made an end to all my sin. Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free; for God, the just is satisfied to look on him and pardon me.”
This is essentially the story of salvation. Instead of looking on my failures and sin, the Father sees me through Jesus the blameless author and perfecter of my faith. (Hebrews 12:2) How often does Satan tempt you to despair? Let me tell you, he does it a lot with me! I was once told that discouragement was Satan’s best weapon and the one he uses most often. The beauty of the plan of salvation is stated so clearly in the second verse of this hymn. The justice required by God’s holiness has been met on my behalf by the perfect and sinless Jesus.
The final verse is a glorious reminder of Christ and our position as children of God.
“Behold him there, the risen Lamb. My perfect, spotless righteousness. The great unchangeable I AM, the king of glory and of grace! One with himself I cannot die. My soul is purchased by his blood! My life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ my Savior and my God.”
How beautiful that, in spite of our failures, the Lord put into place a plan that allows us to be viewed as spotless and righteous.
Anytime we sing this song, I’m reminded of my place in the kingdom of God, my ability to approach the throne of God boldly and the future awaiting me. This song reminds me of the Father’s love and His provision to me as a believer. How grateful I am to be a child of God who has the ability to crawl upon the Father’s knee!