“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”
Isaiah 7:14, 9:2, 6-7 NLT
Immanuel. The Hebrew word meaning “God is with us”. Way back in the early chapters of Genesis God was so close to mankind that He walked and talked with the first man, Adam. At that time, Heaven and Earth were in contact, with God passing freely between them. God was with us. In those days, Planet Earth had not been corrupted by sin. But after the Fall, that desperately sad moment when sin entered the world, Heaven recoiled from Earth, in horror that sin had made such a liaison impossible and no longer viable. There is no place for sin and wickedness in Heaven. The only time that sin did in fact erupt in Heaven was when Lucifer decided to rebel against God, and he ended up being cast down to Earth, along with a third of the angels who rebelled with him. God still yearned for the opportunity to be with His creation, human beings, but had to be content with the occasional contact through His Spirit and via angels. But God had a plan.
Isaiah prophesied that there will come a time when God will be with us once again here on Earth. Look at the sequence of events. It starts with a virgin conceiving. How can that happen? It was obviously not a natural event – even in today’s medically-enlightened times it can only happen with a manual intervention. In Isaiah’s prophecy such an event was nothing short of miraculous, and could only have taken place with God’s involvement. The sign continued with the birth of a Son. A Son who was both human and divine. The theologians call this the Incarnation. John wrote about this event – we read it in John 1:14, “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son”. The miraculous sign continues with the declaration that the Son will be called Immanuel, “God is with us“. Once again God was walking on Planet Earth.
Thankfully, God’s liaison with Planet Earth didn’t end with the Ascension. Jesus left the Earth, knowing it was in good hands. We read in John 14:16 (AMP), “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counsellor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever—”. The Holy Spirit has been with us ever since, acting as Jesus would have done, had He still been with us.
We pilgrims are deeply grateful for God’s plan, that is still being outworked with us today. God is still with us.
Immanuel, we praise and worship You today. Amen.