ADVENT STUDY: God With Us. { Day 9 }

Advent Study: He is Faithful: Called Immanuel

READ: Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:22-23 ESV

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ { which means, God with us }.”{Matthew 1:22-23, ESV}

A woman, not too unlike ourselves, was busy doing what she regularly did, drawing water from the well. There she encountered a man who spoke of living water, who knew the details of her life, and who explained what true worship is. She said to the man, “I know that Messiah is coming { he who is called Christ }. When he comes, he will tell us all things” { John 4:25 }. His response:

“I who speak to you am he.”

Wow. That gets me every time I read it. I can only imagine how she felt living it. She had a living encounter with Immanuel.

I had a dream one night. It was, at that point, the hardest night of the hardest day of my life. My world was turned upside down and life suddenly seemed surreal. In my dream, it was completely dark, but I very strongly felt the presence of the Lord. Because His presence felt so real I asked him, “Is this it? Are you returning?” He replied ‘No, I just want you to know that I am with you.”

That was just a dream, but his presence with me through that long and painful valley was very, very real. My Immanuel. You see, the woman at the well, you, and I, we all have the glorious fulfilled promise of ‘God with us.’

“’Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).” { Matthew 1:23 }

Let’s try to wrap our minds around a couple things regarding our Immanuel:

  1. God became flesh

The creator of the universe and everything in it became like one of his creation. Why did he come? Why in the flesh? Here is a beautiful response to those wonderings:

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.  For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” { Hebrews 2:14-17 }

This kind of humility – this kind of love – is simply astounding. Not too good to be true { as we would usually classify something so incredible }, rather, so good and so true.

  1. God is still with us

Jesus himself is no longer walking around in the flesh, but he has given us his Spirit which resides in us.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” { John 14:15-17 }

Seriously amazing. Please pause for a moment to meditate on the confounding truth that the Spirit of God dwells within you.

Wait, what are you doing? Don’t read yet. Pause.

Just as amazing, we have His Word, which is living and active { Hebrews 4:12 }, useful for teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness { 2 Tim 3:16 }, and accomplishes the purpose for which it was sent { Isaiah 55:11 }. He is with us through his Word.

Are you lonely? God is with you.

Are you rejoicing? God is with you

Are you afraid, doubting, or bearing a burden too heavy for you? God is with you.

His coming, his incarnation, his death and resurrection, have given us the victory, power, and truth we need to face and overcome anything in this fleeting life. He is with you in your present moments, and his finished work is sufficient for all that is to come.

The Lord himself gave Ahaz a sign so long ago, Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel { Isaiah 7:14 }. Ahaz feared the end of his kingdom (and therefore the Davidic dynasty) because of the current circumstances { the threat of attack by Syria and Israel }, but the sign God gave him showed that the kingdom would continue, because many years later a baby would be born to a virgin, and his kingdom will never end!

When you feel enveloped in your circumstances remember you will not be overtaken, you will not be overcome because of “God with us.” The prophecy was spoken to Ahaz, born through Mary by the Holy Spirit, and is our greatest reality today!

As we sing “O Come, O Come Immanuel” this Christmas, may we remember that Jesus truly came, and he is truly still with us. And, wow, he is truly coming again.

REFLECT: 
  • Jesus becoming a baby, and ultimately dying on a cross, were incredible acts of humility. Think about how you can demonstrate (and possess) more humility this advent (and forever).
  • Jesus, our Immanuel, calls us to love others as He has loved us. What are some practical, tangible ways you can show someone that kind of love this advent?
  • God is with you. With that on the forefront of your mind, how can that change the way you handle some of the things you are facing right now?
PRAYER:

O Lord, thank you for giving us the gift of yourself and everything that means! Thank you for becoming a baby, living a sinless life, and giving your life for us that we may be with you forever! May we never lose the wonder of this beautiful truth. May we also never forget that you are always with us. I pray that we will hunger and thirst for you and always treasure, above all, your nearness.

Image: Found on here.

Cari Weber
Cari Weber
Cari Lee Weber is blessed to be a follower of Jesus Christ, a wife to Trevor, and mommy to Eliana and Rylee. Her passion is to know Christ and make Him known and to stir up and encourage those around her in their precious and powerful relationships with Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:2-3 speak her desire best—that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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