Immanuel

God with Us

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us.’”     Matthew 1:22-23

One rainy night my husband Ken went to a colleague’s retirement dinner. An hour and a half after I thought he’d be home, I began to worry. I tried praying, but mostly stared out the window or paced the floor.

Ken was driving my car because his car was being repaired following a minor accident. I felt guilty because I had forgotten to tell him that my car needed gas. I worried that he would run out of gas and that an inattentive driver, unable to stop on the wet pavement, might ram the car from behind.

“I am with you,” God whispered as I paced. “I’m also with Ken.”

I remembered the Scripture passage in Isaiah I had read earlier in the day as I researched the word Immanuel. I had judged Ahaz for turning to the Assyrians for help instead of trusting God. How could Ahaz turn to the cruelest nation? The Assyrians would eventually become Israel’s enemy. Isaiah offered to ask God for a sign that He was with His people, but Ahaz would not ask for a sign. Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). God was with His people.

That evening when I worried, “Where could my husband be? What could have happened?” I had turned to a cruel enemy, Satan. He gladly presented all kinds of dreadful scenarios and guilty feelings. Instead, I should have trusted that God was with me and with Ken.

In repentance, I asked God for His peace and received it. God is with us. And He is with our loved ones when they drive slowly through the rain, stop for gas, and arrive home safely.

DIG DEEPER:

Read Ahaz’s story in Isaiah 7 and 8. The message about Immanuel is a prophecy within a prophecy. What messages did God give His people in Ahaz’s time through the birth of Isaiah’s children?

Read Philippians 4:6-9. What does it mean that God is with us? Should that make a difference in how we live? What happens when we go to God with our fears?

Read Psalm 139:1-16. According to the psalmist, in what specific places is God with us?

Nancy J. Baker

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