Immanuel

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

I remember the day I first held my oldest nephew in my arms.  Of course, it was love at first sight!  My head danced with all of the possibilities for him.  Was he going to be athletic, a musician, a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher?  Would he break girls hearts?  Would he break my heart?  But mostly I just smiled at the possibilities of hope that existed in that tiny little baby.  He entered the world and brought our whole family joy!  We knew he would change the world, because he had already changed ours!

Jesus entered this world in the same way.  Of course, his earthly parents had some idea about what the future held for Him.  But in this human baby, God gave us a way to know and understand Him.  Jesus was actually uniquely qualified for so many things because He came as a human.  Because He was PERFECT, He was able to pay the penalty for our sins.  But, the point of this blog is that God came down and dwelt among us.  Immanuel means ‘God with us’. 

In Isaiah we see the prophecy of this child, Immanuel. This prophecy has a double fulfillment.  There was a child born during the reign of King Ahaz.  This child was a sign that God would give Judah a reprieve from the attacks of Israel and Syria.  But it was completely fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.  The book of Matthew opens with a reminder of this prophecy.

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Matthew 1:23

If you have a child, I’m sure that you know the struggle of finding the perfect name for your child.  Often we end up with some super cool (or hilarious) stories of how a name came to be.  My nephew that I was just speaking of was named Tate Michael.  I remember when my brother and Tate’s mom were thinking about names.  His mom wanted to name him ‘Tate Andreas’.  We looked at her like she was crazy!  We said, “OK, now say that name with the last name ‘Walerius’”.  Yep, that didn’t stick!  It sounded horrible. 

But Mary and Joseph didn’t need to worry about that, because God told them what the name of their child would be.  As we have discussed before, names were pretty important back then.  They explained more about who the child would be, rather than just something to identify them.  God chose this name because of what it means!  He wanted us to understand that He is with us.

You may have heard the poem “Footprints”.  Read these words.

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

Footprints

I heard something once that made things make a little more sense to me.  Someone told me that everything that we face has already been through His hands.  He took the hardest part of it from us.  He allows us to go through things, but He lightens the blow.  Have you seen that picture of the dad with a shield in front of him guarding his child, all while his back is full of arrows.  That is what the picture is. 

Remember this, sister.  No matter what you go through, God is carrying you.  Abuse, assault, loss of job, loss of child, loss of parents …. No matter what!  He is saying, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you.”  He is God with us!

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