The promise of Immanuel – God with us - 8 October 2021

By Carina Francke

Have you ever found yourself, all alone, in an unfamiliar, threatening, or uncomfortable situation? Then you know how your mind can spiral out of control and how you can imagine being in the most awful of situations. You hear noises, see shadows and hear footstep echoing. It is then that you wish that you had someone trustworthy with you. Someone who can help you! Such a person is God and, much later, the Messiah.

God knows man, and this is the reason that the theme “with you” is often used in the Word. Just think about the Israelites in the wilderness – God is with them as the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire; protectively present with David (Psalm 6-7). His presence as the I AM, was the most visible when a cloud filled the temple and the tabernacle. Then the people knew that the Lord’s mighty presence filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35) and temple (1 Kings 8:10-11). Today, we look back. Jesus, the Son of God, exchanged his divinity, and came to live as a human amongst us. The Immanuel, God with us! Every hour of every day of every year!

In Isaiah 7:1-15, the prophet foresaw the virgin birth of Jesus more or less seven centuries before it even became a reality. A possibly threatening war that could have led to the division of land confronted King Ahaz and his people. He wanted to join a coalition. Isaiah tried to put his mind at ease – soon the enemy would no longer be a threat; they would be a people no more.

Do you think the king listened? No! Pig-headed, as man is, he refused to believe. He even declined God’s invitation to ask for a sign as proof that there would not be a war. (Isaiah 7:10-12) Isaiah reacted with a prophecy: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) Immanuel means “God with us”. If only the hearers of these words could have seen 700 hundred years into the future when this promise was fulfilled to the letter.

Prayer: Our Father, thank you that everything you say is cast in truth. Thank you that Jesus came to us in the flesh to be “God with us” and thus made a way for us to have eternal life. Thank you that you still choose to “pitch your tent” amongst us by the Holy Spirit in us. Amen