“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea’…After listening to the king, they (the wise men) went on their way. And behold, the star they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him.” – Matthew 2:3-5, 9-11
#12 – God welcomes all who seek Him
In yesterday’s countdown we talked about the wonderful truth that God makes Himself approachable. We have also learned on our Advent journey that God always makes Himself known. So, how is it then that Bethlehem was not overrun with priests, scribes and people from over the world? It certainly wasn’t that people didn’t know. God had given a detailed map through the Law and the prophets. The Scripture above shows us that that they did know. It even implies that it was common knowledge among the religious folks of the day. Yes, they knew, but for some reason they did not choose to go. They heard the news that the Messiah had come and they knew where it had taken place, but they did not go. They were invited to the party but did not come. We are not told why. It could be that people were just too busy with life and didn’t have the time for one more thing. Maybe it was a feeling of apathy that can sometimes creep in when religion becomes a routine rather than a relationship. The bottom line is that, good reasons or manufactured excuses, they did not go.
Today’s Christmas truth focuses on God’s desire for us to come to Him by our own choosing. Yes, God is approachable and anyone can come, but it is up to us to respond. Today’s revelation is that God welcomes all who seek Him. Why is it that way? It sure would make us feel better if we just said, “God welcomes all” which is true as well, but without our needing to come. It is certainly easier to believe in a God who doesn’t care if we love Him or desire a relationship with Him. Yes, easier but not Biblical. Why doesn’t God just make everyone believe automatically? Why doesn’t He save everyone and be done with it whether they respond or not?
Answer: God is love and love does not force itself on anyone.
Genuine love cannot be forced or come as the result of manipulation. Love by nature is an invitation into a relationship. And those who respond to that invitation can be assured of His welcome. God welcomes those who seek Him!
God loves us…He calls us…He pursues us…He blesses us…He invites us, but He doesn’t force us. Loving our God is not a chore we MUST do or a command we MUST obey. It is our response to a God who first loved us (1 John 4:19). So, lets follow the example of the wise men today and go to the manger and worship our Savior.