“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 (NIV)
I remember the moment I realized Jesus, God’s Son, connected the Old Testament to the New Testament. I had joined a Bible study that required us to read the Old Testament. I almost quit that study before I started because I was so intimidated at the thought.
The Old Testament always seemed so complicated and irrelevant to my life. I’d always believed the story of Jesus began when He came to earth. But the more I read, the more I realized how wrong I was.
As I hesitantly began reading Genesis, I saw that Jesus was with God the Father in the beginning, creating. God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26a, NIV).
A look at Colossians 1:16, in the New Testament, and we see: “For in him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, … all things have been created through him and for him” (NIV).
Jesus and His Father labored together to handcraft each and every created thing … including you and me – our hearts … our smiles … our purpose. All part of Their creative process!
But it wasn’t enough for Jesus to be part of creation. There came a point in history, a time Jesus knew would come, when those precious created ones would need more. When sin and disobedience would reign and rule on the earth. When the devil would initiate a battle and relentlessly pursue the souls of those God created.
It was then they would need a savior.
At the right time, God announced that Savior through one of His spokesmen — the prophet, Isaiah. Isaiah 7:14b, also in the Old Testament, says, “The virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
That Son, Immanuel, is Jesus.
Let this soak in, my friend. Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied His birth.
The human and the divine collided.
The Eternal One became a real man of particular height and weight, with a particular color of hair, speaking a particular language.
A miraculous act driven by divine love done with the absolute intent to be with us.
By His very name, we know this. Immanuel means God with us.
God is not distant; He is here with us. God is not unapproachable but drawing ever near. And even better … He came not only to be with and near us but also to equip and empower us.
Immanuel came to equip us with confidence to face any challenge life presents.
We live in a fallen world. Hardships, tragedies, sickness, death, betrayal, all come our way. It’s inescapable. But we do not do this life alone.
Hold tight to these beautiful promises:
“Now, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:37-39, NIV).“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you … When you walk through the fires, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze … For I am the LORD your God …” (Isaiah 43:2-3a, NIV).
Immanuel came to empower us so that we can accomplish all He calls us to do.
God’s Holy Spirit, Who comes to live inside of us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, seals and infuses the heart of every believer. It’s miraculous and inexplicable what transpires in our bodies in that moment. The old is gone. God does a new thing. And this new work transforms and initiates a work deep within us that we cannot do in our own flesh.
Walk confidently in these promises:
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NLT).
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT).
Sweet friend, in the deepest of valleys, through the darkest of times, Immanuel promises to be with us. Whether we see Him or not. By His very name we know He is there.
Whatever you are walking through today, walk confidently, equipped and empowered, because Immanuel is with you every step of the way!