God With Us
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 NIV
We have heard this verse many times but may be surprised at the setting. Israel and Ephraim were assaulting Judah. What had once been the remainder of a united kingdom under King David was now divided and at war. God spoke to King Ahaz of Judah, saying he could ask the Lord for a sign that he was with them. Ahaz's response in faith, "I will not put the Lord to the test." Isaiah followed with the words of prophecy in this verse, the Immanuel, which means "God is with us," would come. God was not only there with Ahaz and Judah that day but would send a physical sign of his presence in the future.
Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, was sinless because he was of God. He dwelt among us, experiencing the same emotions and temptations, yet remained pure, the unblemished lamb. This Immanuel offered himself for all people to heal the rift of sin and reconcile man with God. Returning to the Father, this wholly divine yet human Christ listens to our prayers and intercedes for us. Before he ascended, he promised to send the Holy Spirit. God's spiritual activity in this world, the "God with us," that leads and directs us in righteousness.
Like Ahaz, we may be facing a battle and strong opposition, or we may be in a period of calm. Whatever our situation, God is with us. It is through our faith in Jesus Christ we have this assurance. He will never leave us or forsake us.
God, we thank you for the Father who sent the Immanuel and Jesus who sent the Holy Spirit. Thank you for the salvation brought in Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of our sin, and the promise that lies ahead. Bless us this day and help us to remember that you are with us. May we be humbled by your mighty gift of love and be obedient to your will. Amen.