Wednesday, December 6, 2017
A favorite praise tune we sing at church, “Imannuel”, is one of my favorites. When we sing it, I often wonder if all of our members are aware of it’s message. Do they know that the word means “God is with us”? The word “Imannuel”, (some modern versions of the Bible spell it “Emannuel” or “Emanuel”) appears only 3 times in the Bible, twice in Isaiah, and once in Matthew, the most notable being Isaiah 7:14, which reads: “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Most bible scholars, of course, know this is one more prophecy which speaks about the birth of the coming Messaiah. (Jesus)
This prophecy was given first to an unbelieving Ahaz, king of Judah. At the time, Jerusalem, it’s capitol, was surrounded and about to be attacked by forces much greater than they. Because of it, Ahaz and his people were gripped with fear. Therefore, God, in His mercy, sent Isaiah to the unbelieving king to tell them that the invasion would not occur, that He would defend them. Because of his unbelief, the prophet informed the king he could ask any sign whatsoever from God to confirm it’s reality, Ahaz refused, stating that he did not want to tempt God, but the Lord knew it was really unbelief. Regardless of how difficult things appeared to His people, God wanted to remind them that He was with them. Because Ahaz never really believed, he and his people missed out on all the good things God had for them’
During the Christmas season in particular, I think often of “Immanuel.” Ahaz never got it, but I know that in spite of all the negative things we see and hear on a daily basis, “God is with us.” Many people around the world feel especially lonely during the Christmas season. They hear of all the families which spend time together at this time, some coming home from far and wide just to be together. May I remind you that on the very first Christmas, Joseph and Mary had no family or friends with them. Yet, I bet they knew that God was with them. In fact, He was closer to Mary than we can humanly understand or appreciate. I pray none of you will feel alone and forgotten this Christmas. I trust, that, unlike Ahaz, you don’t miss out on the comfort, joy, and peace that should always characterize our every Christmas. If you know the One who was born in a stable a little over two thousand years ago, you know that He is with you. After all, He is Immanuel.
God’s word for today: (Micah 5:2) “But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”