23 Dec 2015
As we celebrate this Christmas season we need to recognize the significance of what the prophet Isaiah declared over 700 years before Christ’s birth. The prophet’s words became reality when the Son of God was conceived, by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of Mary. Matthew echoed Isaiah’s words when he said:
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matt. 1:23)
Isaiah’s proclamation and Matthew’s confirmation of Jesus Christ’s conception and the word of prophesy which declares “God with us” warrants further discussion. But, before we go there, let’s examine the idea of “God with us,” then we will explore some other thoughts on this phrase.
First off, the word “with” is a preposition and prepositions are words that show the relationship between a noun or a pronoun and some other word or element in the rest of the sentence. Interestingly, the preposition “with” shows the relationship between the noun “God” and the pronoun “us.”
Here, we see that God is referring to His intentional and desired relationship with us, which is “to be next to us,” “to come alongside us,” “to be in our company,” or “to be or go with us.” You see one of the main reasons Jesus Christ was born into this world was to make a way for us to enter into an eternal relationship with Him, His Father, and the Holy Spirit. Through a relationship of daily interaction and fellowship God is with us on a continual basis. With this being the case, what then are some of the implications of embracing and experiencing the revelatory idea of “God with us?”
God reveals some of those implications in His dialogue with Isaiah. For instance, God told Isaiah:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand’ (Isa. 41:10)
God with us – is God saying, I am with you, and when God is with us, the first thing He says is “to fear not.” Paul put it this way “if God is for us who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) In other words, if God who created the universe, this world, and all that is in it – if He, the Almighty One is with us, the One who can silence storms with a word from His mouth, or cause the earth to open up and swallow His enemies, can He not protect us and keep us far from harm?
God says yes – because He is with us – He will help us. Here, the Hebrew word for help, ‘azar, means to surround, to protect, or to aid. God says yes – I will surround you; I will encircle you with My presence, with My invincible power, and with My heavenly agents. God says yes – I will protect you from harm. It is God’s presence that protects. David said our enemies fall and perish at His presence and that the wicked perish at His presence (Ps. 9:3, 68:2).
God with us, means that His is ready, available, and accessible to help us. He wants to assist us in pursuing our redemptive purpose and defending our spiritual turf. He desires to contribute to our effectiveness and our advancement. Through Christ He’s immensely invested in our future, in seeing us successfully complete the race that is set before us. Yes, God with us means that He is ready to assist in any way He can to successfully get us across the finish line.
When God says, Fear not, it is rooted in the fact that He is with us. He says don’t be dismayed, upset, distressed, or disturbed. Don’t lose your enthusiasm in pursuing Me, in trusting Me, or depending on Me. Do not allow fear to damage your resolve to walk in My ways, to speak My truth, or represent me in the
earth. God with us means that we have the unction and courage to stand and resist in the face of foreboding odds. God with us means that discouragement shall not engulf us nor stop us.
God with us means that He will strengthen us in so many ways. He will strengthen us against fear and every other spiritual enemy. He will increase our strength in every dimension – spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical, social, and even economically. He will strengthen us by fortifying our resolve, reinforcing our courage, and firming up our spiritual alertness. He will increase our discernment to greater levels, empower our minds to think His thoughts, and enhance and intensify our desire and ability to pray with effectiveness. Yes, God with us means that the heavenly resources needed to increase our strength are readily available to confront the fears that would attempt to overcome us.
God with us means that not only will God strengthen us and help us, but that He will also uphold us. Uphold is translated from the Hebrew word tamak, which means to sustain, and implies to obtain, to keep fast; figuratively it means to help, to follow close. God with us means that He empowers us to keep moving forward, helping us continue on the road to victory.
God with us means His divine support and sustaining ability keeps us from falling or sinking. It means that His upholding power provides the spiritual nourishment for us to have the vitality to never quit, fueling a Spirit-inspired intensity and tenacity we could never claim as our own. Yes, God with us means having the power to consistently stand in spite of all obstacles or hindrances. God with us means He will sustain us in defeating the fears that dare rise up against us.
God says, fear not, for I am with you, I am your God, and I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Anytime God speaks of His righteous or His righteousness, this always draws Jesus Christ, who is the righteousness of God, into the picture. Over and over again the Scriptures tell us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of our Father in heaven. In this sense we could than say that Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but in many ways, He was and is the hand of God.
Through Jesus the hand of God moved to heal the broken-hearted, to touch the untouchable, to comfort the grief-stricken, and to restore the lost. Though Jesus’ words the hand of God also moved, touching the hearts of men, shaping their thoughts forever, and ultimately wiping away the tears from their eyes. Jesus Christ’s coming into the earth realm was God with us then and is God with us now.
In preparing for His physical departure, when giving His final instructions Jesus said to His disciples, “lo, I am with you always” (Mtt.28:19). Ultimately, for those who have entered into eternal relationship with Him, this is what God with us means, that He is with us always, never leaving, abandoning, nor forsaking us (Heb. 13:5).
All of God’s promises-- to be with us, to strengthen us, to help us, and to uphold us, are all contingent upon Jesus Christ coming into this world and becoming the Father’s preferred point of entry into the kingdom realities established through His word. It is only through Him that anyone can enter into the God with us dimension, that special place were God makes His presence known to those who love Him and faithfully walk with Him.
So, as we celebrate the remembrance of Christ’s birth and His initial entry into the world that we live in, let us be ever thankful, with hearts full of gratitude, that our heavenly Father loved us so much that He was willing to give His only begotten Son to come among us to be God with us. Immanuel, God with us, how awesome a gift is that!
May God richly bless you and yours throughout this Christmas Season.