The emphasis of Bethlehem Calls is one of the most glorious words in the Scriptures: Come. To a world which most assuredly deserves to hear the word, “Go!” or “Depart from Me!” Bethlehem’s call, instead, is “Come!”
Instinctively, we know there is a distance between sinful us and the holy Divinity, so mankind has always tried to devise ways to attempt to draw near, find favor, or, at the very least, ward off displeasure. Despite the fact that our sins have separated us from Him (Is. 59:2), the true God’s greatest desire is that we draw near, so He bids us “Come,” then provides the way for us to do so Himself. In the Garden of Eden, He provided the animal skins to cover Adam and Eve after they had sinned. He provided the system of blood sacrifices for His people Israel to span the gap until He sent His ultimate redemption through the arrival of His Son, who had come to be our Savior.
Bethlehem’s call begins with the fact that God has first come to us. He became a man in order to be “God with us.” Jesus often talks about the purpose of His coming, including the wonderful truth that He came to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10)—for lost is who each of us are/were. And with His coming to us, He, in turn, invites us to come to Him. There are so many sweet invitations from the Lord in the Scriptures:
• When we realize that gulf between ourselves and a holy God, He bids us to come to Him for forgiveness and cleansing (Is. 1:18).
• When we sense His heavy hand of conviction or discipline, He bids us come for His healing, restoring touch (Hosea 6:1).
• Instead of striving or succumbing to the pressures of this frantic world, He bids us to come to Him when we are weary and heavy laden to find His rest (Matt. 11:28-30; Mark 6:31).
• When we feel like all is against us, He bids us to come to Him for refuge (Is. 27:5).
• When nothing in this world can satisfy us, He bids us to come to Him to be filled (Is. 55:1; Jn. 6:33-35; 7:37-39; Rev. 22:17).
• When we realize all that His redemption has accomplished for us, He bids us to draw near with confidence to receive His mercy and find grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:16).
• In a world that is full of lost and weary people, He invites us to join Him in His mission to seek and save the lost (Mark 1:7).
• At the end of life’s journey with Him, He invites us to share in His happiness, and inherit the kingdom He has prepared for us from before the foundation of the world (Mt. 25:34).
• And when these realizations bring us joy, He bids us to rejoice and sing praises to the Rock of our salvation (Ps. 95:1-2).
Survey all these wonderful invitations! They spring from the goodness and love of our amazing God, and evoke in us a desire to come and worship the One who is so gracious and merciful, so winsome and wooing. Thus, we heed the refrain of this song and come to adore Him. It is the only appropriate response to such a wonderful, unfathomable invitation from the very heart of God.