COME DOWN UNTO ME
It is just this ‘tarrying’ that is hindering so many from coming to the Saviour. What reason could there be for Joseph’s brethren to ‘tarry’ and go on starving a little longer in their own land, when Joseph was waiting to settle them and their father and their whole families in the land of Goshen ‘in the best of the land’? And what reason can there be for you to tarry, and go on starving and unsatisfied a little longer, when the Lord Jesus is waiting to receive you into the ‘pleasant land’ of His all-satisfying love? Why tarry in the ‘far country’ with the husks and the heart loneliness? ‘Ye shall haste!’ said Joseph, for his heart was eager to do great things for them.
YOU WILL NEVER COME AT ALL?
I do not know any one promise in all the Bible for the fingerer’s. And if you grant the reality of Christ’s love at all, do you not see that delay in coming down to Him, and hesitation in letting Him save you in His own way and there is no other and putting Him off from day to day, must be wounding His love?
Any part of coming to Him? There are no steps in coming to Jesus either why do you tarry? Have you any reason whatever to give Him? ‘What wilt thou say?’ Do not flatter yourself that all this delay and putting off is any preparation for coming, much less you come, or you do not come. There is only the ‘one step, out of self, into Christ.’ There are no gradations of approach marked out in His Word. If you think there are, search and see; Acts 17:11-12, do not take my word for it; look for yourself, and see what the Lord’s word about it is.
You have nothing to gain, but very much, perhaps everything, to lose by ‘tarrying.’ You are accumulating the guilt of disobedience. You are, it may be very unconsciously, hardening your heart and taking the great step more and more difficult. Instead of being in a better position for coming to-morrow, you will be in a worse one.
While you are doing nothing, the enemy is very busy strengthening his toils around you, and they will be stronger tomorrow than today.
While you are, as you fancy, only lying still, you are drifting fast down the stream into the stronger current, nearing the rapids, nearing the fatal fall.
It is a question of life and death. ‘Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain.’ Genesis 19:17. It is the old story of ‘If you tarry till you’re better, you put yourself out of the sphere of God’s promises, what have you to unknown,
Oh, how much more doth He!’ For one who perishes through straightforward refusal, there are probably thousands who perish through putting off. ‘How shall we escape if we’ refuse-no, if we merely ‘neglect so great salvation?’
Yet there is room! The Lamb’s bright hall of song, with its fair glory, beckons thee along.
Yet there is room! Still open stands the gate, the gate of love; it is not yet too late. Pass in, pass in! That banquet is for thee; that cup of everlasting love is free. Ere night that gate may close, and seal thy doom; Then the last, low, long cry,-‘No room, no room!’ found any hope at all upon? ‘Tarry not!’ Oh, If I could but reach you and rouse you!
“My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
What a loving call! What astonishing condescension, that the Heavenly Bridegroom should use such words to-whom? Would you not like to be able to fill up that blank, and say, ‘My Beloved spake, and said unto me!‘
Perhaps you think this is too much for you. You feel too sinful and unworthy to be so loved,-too defiled to be called ‘my fair one. If so, will you turn to a wonderful picture of those upon whom He sets His love, and of what His love does for them, asking the Holy Spirit to open your eyes while you read it, that you may behold wondrous things out of it. Psalm 119:18.
I will not quote it here, because I want you to go to His own Book for it. See in it how the Lord Jesus goes down to the very depths, Psalm 40:2 and begins at the very beginning. Your case is not deeper than those depths; for it is even when we are dead in sins that the great love wherewith God loved us reaches and raises us. He says, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and rise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’ You cannot be worse than ‘dead;’ and the very sense of sin and death working in you is a proof that He has said unto you, ‘Live!’
The call to arise and come away is a proof that He is passing by. And when Jesus passes by, He looks upon you, though you are not yet able to see Him. And He says that when He does this, it is ‘the time of love.’ And oh, what that implies! What will He not do, when the bright, warm, powerful rays of the love which passeth knowledge Ephesian 3:19 are focused upon you, and He says even to you, ‘My love!’ giving you the glorious right to respond, ‘My Beloved!’
Read on, and see what He will do ‘then!’ ‘Then‘ the ‘thoroughly’ Psalm 51:2 washing and the anointing which prepares you for the delight of the King. ‘Then’ the clothing, the girding and the covering, each with their treasures of significance. Then ‘also’ the decking and the crowning, and the being made ‘exceeding beautiful’ and ‘perfect through my comeliness which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God! When He puts the beauty of the Lord our God upon us, then He can indeed say, ‘My fair one!’ ‘Fair only with His comeliness; otherwise the fairest natural character that was ever seen is ‘black as the tents of Kedar,’-those miserable goats’ hair tents, which are to this day the very type of the filthiest blackness. Yet with it, whatever your natural character, and whatever your added deformity through having been ‘accustomed to do evil,’ you will be ‘comely as the curtains of Solomon, the type of all that is costly and beautiful in colours and workmanship.
Let Him do all this for you! Philippians. Rise up and come away from all that pollutes and separates you from Him. ‘Shake thyself from the dust, and arise!’ ‘Arise; shine, for thy Light is come!’ ‘Though ye have lien among the pots, Psalm 68:13 yet’ when you come to the Light that is come so close to you, ‘yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold,’ shining and gleaming as you rise and come away, resplendent in the beams of the Sun of righteousness. ‘Rise, He calleth thee!’ Come away.
COMING AFTER JESUS.” Come and follow Me.” Mat 19:21 Following is the only proof of coming. There is hardly a commoner lamentation than this: ‘I do not know whether I have come or not!’ And nobody ever says that with a happy smile. It is always with a dismal look; and no wonder! When so much hinges upon it,-poverty, or riches, safety or danger, life or death,-uncertainty must and will be miserable. Now, do you really want to know whether you have come or not? Our Lord gives you the test, ‘Come and follow Me!’ Matthew 20:34.
If you are willing for that, willing with the will that issue in act and deed, then the coming is real. If you are not willing to follow, then you may dismiss at once any idea that perhaps you have come or are coming: there is no reality in it, and there is nothing for you but to go away sorrowful, as the rich young man did, who ‘came,’ but would not ‘follow.’ Matthew 19:22.
The following will be just as real and definite as the coming, if there is any reality in you at all; and if you are not deluding yourself with a deceitful cloud-land of sentimental religion, without foundation and without substance, which is but a refuge of lies, which the hail shall sweep away. Do not sit down in the most serious state of uncertainty, but ‘give diligence to make your calling and election sure.’ But you say, ‘How am I to know whether I am following?’ Well, following is not standing still. Clearly it is not staying just where you always were. You cannot follow one thing without coming away from something else. Apply this test. What have you left for Jesus? Matthew 4:18-20. What have you left off doing for His sake? If you are moving onward, some things must be left behind. What are ‘the things which are behind’ in your life? If the supposed coming has made no difference in your practical daily life, do not flatter yourself that you have ever yet really come at all. Jesus says, ‘If any man will come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’ Luke 14:27. What light does that saying throw upon your case? Be honest about it; all true coming to Jesus must issue in thus coming after Him.
Then look at it from the positive side. He has left us ‘an example that ye should follow His steps.’ As the beautiful collect puts it, ‘Give us grace that we may daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of His most holy life.’ John 13:15. Now, what are those steps? Perhaps you are not even looking to see what they are, let alone following them! Following the steps is quite a different thing from thinking to follow one’s own idea of the general direction of a course. If you would only take one Gospel, and read it through with the earnest purpose of noting, by the Holy Spirit’s guidance, what, the steps of Jesus are, you would soon see clearly whether you are following or not, far more clearly than by reading any amount of books about it, or consulting any number of human counsellors. Take for today only one indication of what those steps were. ‘Who went about doing good.’ Act 10:38. Do your steps correspond with that? It is not, ‘went about doing no harm,’ but actively and positively ‘doing good.’
Oh, dear friends, they are ‘blessed’ steps all senses of the word! For His ways are ways of pleasantness, and all His paths are peace. Once fairly and fully entered, the paradox is always solved, the self-denial John is lost in the greater joy of pleasing Him, the cross becomes a sceptre in the hand of His ‘kings and priests.’ Then you shall ‘continue following the Lord your God.’ John 12:26. And the end of the following is, ‘that where I am, there shall also My servant be.’
“Come with Me.”
‘Come away’ is not all that the Lord Jesus has to say to us. ‘Come unto Me’ and ‘Come after Me’ only lead up to the even more gracious invitation, ‘Come with Me.’
‘Ye see your calling;’ it is nothing less than to come with Jesus. The enviable privilege of the twelve, whom Jesus ordained ‘that they should be with Him,’ is freely offered to you. Will you avail yourself of it? Will you come with Jesus, walking with Him from this day every step of the way? Will you accept Him as the Guide with whom you will go, John 6:68, the Friend with whom you will commune by the way? It will be no dreamy or nominal coming with Him, if only you are willing to come. You will find it very real in all respects.
You can never be so really always with any earthly friend as you can be with Jesus, and as you will be, if you accept the invitation. For there are two sides to that ‘with.’ If you will but come with Him, He will come unto you and abide with you. Your natural fear lest, even when you consent to come to be with Him, you might not remain with Him, is met and completely settled by His promise, ‘I will never leave thee.’ Hebrew 13:5. And of course, if He never leaves you, you will always be with Him. And if He has said that, of course He will do it. Number 23:19. So do not let that objection come up again!
It is a very common experience in great things and small, that the person or thing we most want is not there just when we most want Him or it. Never shall we have to complain of this as to the promised perpetual presence of our Lord; for He says, ‘I will be with him in trouble.’ ‘When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee.’ Isaiah 43:2. And in the deepest need of all, in the valley of the shadow of death, the soul that has yielded to the present call will be able to say, ‘Thou art with me!’
I do not think we consider enough how we disappoint the love of Jesus when we refuse to come with Him. For He does truly and literally desire us to be with Him. Would He have made it the very climax of His great Prayer, representing it as the very culmination of His own rest and glory, John 17:24 that His people should be with Him, if He did not so very much care about it, and was only seeking and saving us out of bare pity? No, it was in His love as well as in His pity that He redeemed us! Isaiah 63:9 and love craves nearness. This is the very thing that differences love from the lesser glow of mere pity, or kindness, whatever their degrees or combinations. The Lord Jesus would not say, ‘Come with Me,’ if He did not feel towards us something far beyond any degree of pity and kindness. It is the Royal Invitation of His kingly love.
But now what are you going to do about it? Hearing it, and thinking it very gracious, and all that, is not enough. You must come to a point about it. You must give as definite an answer to this as mere common courtesy demands to any earthly invitation. Giving no answer is an acknowledged insult. Will you treat the King thus? And if not, what shall your answer be? You must give it yourself. Christ Himself is waiting for it. John 6:67.
There is a beautiful type which tells us how a maiden was chosen to be the bride of the son of ‘a mighty prince’ in a far off land. She was to answer for herself about it, and so ‘they said, we will call the damsel and enquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said, wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.’ Shall this be your answer today?
“At that time ye were without Christ.” I could not do without Thee, (
O Saviour of the lost! Whose precious blood redeemed me at such tremendous cost? Thy righteousness, Thy pardon, thy precious blood-must be my only hope and comfort, my glory and my plea. I could not do without Him! Jesus is more to me than all of earth could ever be. But the more I find Him precious, and the more I find Him true, the more I long for you to find what He can be to you. Psalm 34:8.
You need not do without Him for He is passing by; He is waiting to be gracious, only waiting for your cry. He is waiting to receive, to make you all His own! Why will you do without Him, Hosea 11:8.
And wander on alone?