Get Off Your Throne
Apr 10, 2022 1941
To get off your throne is a hard thing to do! Once, I didn’t know that I needed to get off my throne. My career used to be in corporate management. I used to pride myself on my interpersonal and leadership skills. If you read any number of self-development books, you will see that the focus is on controlling your environment, controlling others, and controlling yourself.
When I say, “controlling others,” I don’t mean it necessarily in an overly negative way. I mean it in the sense of communicating and relating to people so that you get the outcomes that you want, in a way in which they end up happy themselves.
But at the end of the day, all of this really is about control. It is about you getting your outcomes. Why? Because ultimately you’re the one on the throne!
God had to lead me along a long and winding, and at times very painful, road before I was finally able to break out of this kind of thinking and give up control. I had to get off my throne!
There’s a story in the Bible that’s very relevant here. Do you remember the story of Jonah, how God sent the prophet to the city of Nineveh? There, Jonah announced that Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days.
You too need to get off your throne and sit humbly before God.
The response of the Ninevites was dramatic. They believed God and repented. This is followed by an even more striking verse in Jonah 3:6:
When word of it reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, stripped himself of his robe, covered himself with mourning clothes, and sat in ashes (Jonah 3:6, CEB.)
When the king of Nineveh heard the message of God, he got up from his throne, and right there we find an important spiritual lesson for us. Like the king of Nineveh, you too need to get off your throne and sit humbly before God.
What does it mean to get up from your throne? It means to recognise that you are not in charge. It means to recognise that your preferences and your wishes should not be the ruling considerations in your life. It means to recognise that someone else will do a much better job at sitting on the throne of your life: the Lord God.
The difficulty of all of this for us is the same as for the king of Nineveh: everything about our society, upbringing, and education tells us that we should sit on our thrones. I’m not even talking about people who aren’t professed followers of God! Everything around you tells you not to get off your throne, but to build it up higher!
In the book of Jonah, it was Jonah himself who is the greatest contrast to the king of Nineveh. One of the many ironies of the book of Jonah is that even though the king of Nineveh gets off his throne and humbles himself, Jonah, the prophet of God doesn’t!
God’s throne is always higher than yours.
John is firmly sitting on his own throne from the beginning of the book of Jonah, and he things his throne is higher than God’s! When God tells him to Nineveh, Jonah disagrees and runs in the opposite direction in a ship. When God nudges Jonah by sending a storm, Jonah disagrees so strongly with God that he is prepared to drown rather than to do what God wants him to do. Then, when God mercifully forgives the Ninevites, Jonah disagrees with God and thinks God should have destroyed them. Jonah ends up being angry with God over this. He thinks his throne is higher than God’s!
In the end, God’s forgiveness of the people of Nineveh was a much greater work than its destruction would ever have been. In showing mercy to Nineveh, the Lord revealed the greatness of his character.
God’s throne is always higher than yours. He says,
…my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. 58:8–9.)
It is time to stop trying to build you throne up higher than God’s. It is right to get off your throne and be humble before God and others. He deserves it, because he himself got off his throne and went to the Cross out of love for you.