"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." Matthew 1:23
God sent the prophet Isaiah to King Ahaz (see Isaiah chapter 7) to tell him that God would protect them from the army that was coming against them. Scripture goes on to remind us of the Kingdom principle that is necessary to possess the promises of God. It is written, "If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established" (Isaiah 7:9b).
It always comes down to our faith and believing that God is faithful to perform what He said -- doesn't it? It seems that doubting the love and faithfulness of our Creator is the enemy's strongest scheme through which he tries to confuse and mislead God's faithful followers.
King Ahaz had a big decision to make, yet we have the same type of difficult decision to make each day, too. Will we trust that God is with us and will protect us as He promised, or will we strive to find a way out of a situation ourselves?
Suddenly, God does the unthinkable. He commanded Ahaz to ask Him for a sign. This sign that God was offering would encourage him and strengthen his faith. God was offering Ahaz some sort of proof. He could look for this evidence in the depths or in the heavens above. Anyplace he could find it, this sign would convince him of God's ability, love, and faithfulness (see Isaiah 7:11).
Sadly, Ahaz did not take God up on this most gracious offer.
What makes this so striking is that Ahaz's name means he has grasped, possessing, or possessor, yet he did not reach out and grasp what God was offering him, a sign to convince him of God's faithfulness.
GOD SENDS US A SIGN
God gives us a sign anyway. God is a giver and He gave us Immanuel. A virgin did conceive and brought forth Jesus to save His people from their sins. This is a sign that we can see each and every day and receive the hope we need and the strength for any situation we are in. Hallelujah!
"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you" (John 14:16-17).
He goes on to tell us in John 17:22, that just as the Father was in the Son while He was here on earth and He was in the Father, this is available for us to possess today. "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one."
When Jesus made this remarkable statement He was getting ready to head to the Cross. They would no longer have Immanuel – God with them. However, because He was going to the Father they, we, could have something never before offered man: God in us, just as Jesus did.
ONENESS WITH GOD IS OURS
There is a oneness, a unity with God that Jesus is offering us that having God With Us (Immanuel) comes shy of. The promise we can possess today is having God in us just as Jesus did. We can live, move, and have our entire being in God in the exact same way Jesus did. The same intimate relationship. The same power in prayer. The same spiritual insight, just as Jesus did.
We often look at the life of Jesus as being something outside our grasp because we are human. It makes sense that He could turn water into wine; He is the Son of God after all. It makes sense that He could love the unlovable, heal the sick, and walk on water...He was God in the flesh dwelling here with us. Because of this mentality, many Believers do not possess the fullness of what is being offered to them today.
Scripture teaches us in Philippians 2 that Jesus purposely emptied Himself of all Divine privileges when He became Immanuel -- God in the flesh dwelling with us. He didn't have any special privileges as the Son of God that He is not offering us today. By His own admission, He said He didn't do anything in His own power. Jesus said it was His Father, who was in Him, who did all the work.
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works" (John 14:10). Just as God was with Jesus, He will be with us... just as.
IN THE MIDST OF STORMS
In Matthew 8:23-26, the disciples had Immanuel, God with them, on a boat when a great storm arose. Waves were beating the boat and it was filling up with water. In the midst of turmoil that they could not control they came to Jesus saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" (Matthew 8:25 NIV). This is something we all can identify with and have felt from time to time as the pressure builds.
Jesus, on the other hand, handled the storm very differently. He and His Father were one and He slept through it all. The disciples needed to wake Him up. We all want to want to possess the peace that He had in the midst of the storms that face us! In fact, We would like to speak to the waves and watch them become still -- even walk on the waves of our storms just as Jesus did, unaffected by the turmoil around us.
Immanuel said we could, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father" (John 14:12).
God has indeed given us a sign: a virgin will conceive and bring forth a Son and call His name Immanuel. And while Immanuel was with us He promised us that He would send the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, just as it was with Him. That's a promise we want to possess this Christmas and beyond. Amen and Amen.
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