Celebrate Immanuel. Our God is With Us
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
In the ancient world, names were not just labels; they were frequently used to describe the object’s nature, purpose, or history. And often, the word “name” in the Bible can be substituted with “nature.” Names describe the nature of the object.
When the prophet Isaiah said that God’s name is Immanuel, he was referring to God’s nature, that he wants to be with us. “Immanuel” means “God with us.”
Do you remember the first question God posed to humanity? That question was, “Adam, where are you?” God is always looking for us. His nature is such that he wants to be with us. And we are the ones who are running away from God. Our sins separate us from God. Our depravity pushes us away from the Lord, but God wants to be with us.
And so it is the Lord who takes the initiative to be with us, such that while we were yet sinners, Scripture tells us that Christ came to be with us. He lived among humanity and died for us. God longs to have a relationship with humankind. You see this throughout the Bible. God keeps looking for us, but we are the ones who are constantly doubting if God wants us and if he really wants to be with us. We find it hard to trust Imanuel’s reality.
As we enter into Christmas this season, we want to reflect on the beauty and the wonder of Immanuel. Immanuel, God with us, is indeed with us, in power, glory, and grace.
Are you feeling discouraged today? Do you feel like no one understands what you’re going through? Have you been through a loss recently? Do you know where your courage and strength is going to come from?
“For all those who live in the shadow of deathA glorious light has dawnedFor all those who stumble in the darknessBehold your light has come.”
You and I can never stir up such power from within ourselves. No amount of self-talk or self-effort is going to help us. We need Immanuel. You need Immanuel, and you need Christmas. You and I have to turn to the one who came for us to be with us.
The above is a lightly edited excerpt from a video where Guna Raman shares an Advent Devotional. You can watch the full series of devotional videos here. Lyrics from Michael Card’s song “Immanuel” has also been added in italics.
You and I can face the harsh realities of life in this broken world with courage and hope only because we are not alone. Immanuel is with us.
For a limited time (until Jan 15th 2023), you can download Paul Tripps’s Daily Advent Devotional, “Come, Let Us Adore Him, An Advent Daily Devotional” as you and your family meditate on and adore Immanuel.
Click here to watch the whole Advent Devotional
“So what will be your answer? Will you hear the call? Of Him who did not spare His son But gave him for us all On earth, there is no power There is no depth or height That could ever separate us From the love of God in Christ.”
With lyrics from the song “Immanuel” by Michael Card.”