Thursday, August 25, 2011

Never Beggars

“So, what do you suppose the ‘throne of grace’ looks like?” I asked. (Some time ago we were reading through Hebrews together after dinner. It’s not an every single dinner ritual; we do it about every other night. Rather than get up and move elsewhere, we stay at the table, and any one of us might do the reading.)

Ever the imaginative one, Emma offered, “I picture a big, beautiful, golden throne with God on it, and this long, long line of people snaking along toward it. That’s what I imagine. Just because I imagine it, doesn’t mean that will make it happen, you know. It’s just the way I see it.” She was sure we needed to be clear on this whole imagination thing.

“Alright—I like that, Emma. Now, how are people talking to God, what are they saying to Him who is seated on the throne of grace?” I asked. Sarah gave me an “I know what you’re getting at” kind of look. Ellen and Emma sort of defaulted to the scary television portrayal of King-on-the-throne idea, and said, “Oh, please, God! Give me what I need! Answer ‘Yes’ to my requests. Please, God!” I loved their dramatics, but not their picture. I wondered how many of us default to the idea, too.

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s pretend that it’s me on the throne—your daddy. How would you approach me?” Emma got out of her chair, cut to the front of the imaginary line, crawled up on my lap and said, “I love you, daddy! Can I have a gerbil? Can I have my own computer? Can I? Can I?” Sarah and Ellen laughed, and Ellen said, “We don’t have to beg with you, and we don’t have to beg with God, either. That would be silly!” Sarah asked, “And why don’t we have to beg God? Why don’t we have to plead with Him who sits on the throne of grace?”

And together Ellen and Emma said something like, “Because it’s the throne of grace, not the throne of begging! We already have everything with God because of Jesus. We’re in Him, so God gives us everything because of that. Did you forget that, daddy?”

(We love this.)

I asked, “So what do you suppose is most important and most honoring to God as we approach Him, seated on the throne of grace?” Still laughing, Ellen said, “That we believe we’re always welcome and always wanted and will always get what’s right from God because of His grace to us. Not because we beg just right, but because we believe and ask Him. That’s how it works.”

And we were done. If I had had a football, I would have spiked it and done one of those little swivel-butt endzone dances. (It's probably a good thing that I didn’t have a ball.) But I loved what my daughters were getting and that they we’re having fun with it.

That’s what I think the fourth chapter of Hebrews is about. Believe God is who He says He is, believe we are who He says we are, believe our relationship is as excellent as He says it is because of Jesus, and, hanging onto that, hang out at the throne! Put your confidence in Him and in what He says is true of you. It often takes some work to hang onto faith in Him, but you really will find rest. That’s how it works—did you forget?

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, 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 sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 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. (Hebrews 4:14-16)


  1. Charlie Pendergrass8:07 PM

    Great stuff Ralph.

  2. I'm glad you liked it, Charlie. Thank you.

  3. Judy McLean8:28 PM

    I love this!

  4. Nichole Joy Marbach10:14 PM

    Amen Ralph, this is very good and I love the conversation you had as a family :-) What a wonderful legacy you are leaving your family about who God really is and what we already have in Jesus and why we don't have to be beggars. Praise the Lord we can come as we are & we are always wanted & welcome. Good stuff and thanks for sharing! God bless!

  5. Todd Paskins10:17 PM

    Amen Ralph...Very good analogy..I shared the above verse not too long ago on my Wall..I think it is so essential that believers embrace it deep in their heart, that not only do we serve an Awesome Father in Heaven, but our Father has a big heart, and wants His children to come to Him in confidence. They say, that some perceive God, in a similar manner that they were treated by their father on earth. I for one, had a great Dad here on earth. He taught me allot, as my Mom did too. I am so thankful that I learned so much about Jesus Christ since my youth..Those things I embraced in my heart since my youth, and eventually, I surrendered my whole heart to Him..He is a Father that I know loves me unconditionally, even when I let Him down..He encourages me, to ask for forgiveness, and move on..Like the Apostle Paul said..I press forward towards the prize...Our prize is one day seeing Christ, face to face......and belonging to Him forever.....

  6. Julie Belshe2:46 PM

    The throne of Grace, is not the throne of Begging, Amen! Love it Ralph.

  7. Watsi Ng Goh2:46 PM

    The Grace of God so honored and elevated to its true glory - ever so amazing, eternally amazing! Such warmth of God's welcoming embrace in His Holy Presence in the very throne room of our loving Abba Father being seated on the Throne of GRACE! thnx for sharing!

  8. Dave Geisler2:47 PM

    This was not a field goal of a story but a touchdown my friend...I'm spiking the ball because of you and your family as we speak

  9. Sheila Vertoli5:36 PM

    Beautiful way to share God's nature. No begging, no distance.

  10. Craig Julian7:29 AM love that story....the truth of the throne of grace! Thanks for much!

  11. Marie Louise Cassidy7:29 AM

    Thanks so much for representing my Daddy so well, even though I believe I know Him this way, the more my siblings share their personal experiences/stories about/with Him, the better I know Him... a joy to read this, the kind that makes your eyes wet....