Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne
by: Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliot 1864 (July 22, 1836 – August 3, 1897)
Traditionally sung to: Margaret by Timothy Matthews 1876
YouTube recording: http://youtu.be/2Pfhdlm9qJs
1) Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity:
Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus!
There is room in my heart for Thee;
2) Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth cam’st Thou, Lord, on earth,
And in great humility:
3) The foxes found rest, and the birds had their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee:
4) Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary:
5) When heaven’s arches shall ring, and her choirsshall sing
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me up, saying, “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee!”
And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus!
When Thou comest and callest for me;
Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliot (1836-1897) was associated with the Evangelical Party of the Anglican Church (also known as the “Low Church Party”), she spent her life working with rescue missions and children in their Sunday Schools. For six years she edited a magazine called the Church Missionary Juvenile Instructor. She published at least two books of hymns, and “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne” is the best known. She also wrote many books for children and early adolescents, most based upon some biblical moral theme.
She was a niece of Charlotte Elliott, author of the hymn: “Just as I Am.” Two of Emily’s uncles were Evangelical Party ministers, including Rev. Henry Venn Elliott, author of the hymn “Sun Of My Soul,” based on a poem by Rev. John Keble.
In Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne, Elliott weaves several Biblical images and scriptural references together to form a strong theological exegesis of Jesus Christ’s deity and role in our salvation. In Phillipians 2:5-8(KJV) 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. This claim starts with Christ being in the presence and having equality with God. Yet he chose to empty himself of all the glory which was rightful his and become the humblest servant, even to His death on the cross. This is the opposite of the typical human understanding of humility as the not striving for something greater and accepting our low or humble position. In Christ we see the true example of humility as in leaving all rightfully glory and gladly accepting the lowest position available and serving there.
This descent into humility was proclaimed throughout heaven and earth by the angels as we read throughout the Nativity stories found in the Gospels.
The greatest irony is the Creator of earth had no home in His creation! If the master of the home has no place to rest his head, then no less should be expected of his disciples.
19And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.20And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
In the fourth stanza Elliot continues this theme drawing from the beginning of John’s Gospel. The Word, the very breath of God, became flesh to live amongst us and yet, we, the world rejected Him who made all of us.
John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Yet in the end the heavens and all the angels will declare the victory that is Christ’s.
9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.