I have recently been captivated with the knowledge that God is everywhere all the time. Of course I have known this my whole life but God impresses the importance of living in the reality that He is everywhere, all the time, which means He is with you and me continuously as well. Knowing God is with us is an incredible foundational truth we can count on in life moving us beyond ourselves. In fact, this facet of God’s character is so important His name is “Immanuel” “God with us”.
This name for God is used only once in the New Testament referring to Jesus in Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means “God with us.” Isaiah prophesied this coming of Messiah, the Christ, more than 700 years before His coming. We read this prophesy in Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His Name, Immanuel.”
This is the personal union of human nature with the divine Christ Jesus. Immanuel, God with us – He is with us in human and divine form. The child would be born of a virgin (human) The Son would be given by Father God (Divine). Only Immanuel, God with us can be our Savior, Mediator, and Deliverer. In Matthew 1:21 we read “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” He dwelt among us physically and is now with us always . John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
We must not underestimate the power of this word because in Immanuel, we have fullness of life. John 1:16 “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” We have our Messiah with us today. His fullness enables us to reject worry and fear, conquer giants, and fulfill our calling in life. Grasping the certainty of God with us puts His arsenal at our disposal. We need not wonder how to walk in faith when we know “God is with us” and live in that confidence. The reality of “God with us” demands we win if we do not lose faith.
Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me, Your rod and staff, they comfort me.”
A crucial key in all of life, the reason for our strength and comfort, the capacity to live fearless and without anxiety comes from the knowledge “I am with you”, “You are with me”, “God is with us”, Immanuel.
There is one other place Immanuel is used in Scripture which gives additional promise of protection and victory as we embrace “God with us”. Isaiah 8:8 “He (the enemy) will pass through Judah (God’s people), he will overflow and pass over, he will reach up to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.” In 8:10 we also read, “Take counsel together (the enemy), but it will come to nothing; speak the word, but it will not stand, for God is with us. (Judah)”
In this scenario Judah is being punished for rejecting their own government and prophets in lieu of rejoicing in the enemy with its power and prestige. God brings the enemy upon them giving Judah all and more of the enemy they could handle. Basically God was saying, “If you don’t like what I offer and you are impressed with what the enemy has to offer and want it, I will give it to you abundantly.” BUT God established limits because it was His land and His people. Even though the Assyrians would stretch their wings and fill the land of Judah they would only reach up to the neck of God’s people. God would keep the heads of His people above water. When the enemy came in like a flood Immanuel saved His own and raised up a standard against them. Isaiah 59:19
He will never leave or forsake His people and He will always preserve them. Though Judah had forsaken Him, He had not forsaken them though He did bring judgment. It was Immanuel’s land, where Christ would be born, live, preach, and work miracles. The Lord may allow a deluge in His land but it will not be destroyed. Isaiah prophesies the enemy will come and fill the land, but there is an outcry for help in “O Immanuel”.
Beloved, even when the enemy comes in and everything looks hopeless we can cry out in faith “O Immanuel” reminding ourselves “God is with us!!!” The Lord loves His people and even when He gives us over to our sin, He will not allow the enemy to take us under. We may still choose to defy Him, but His faithfulness is without end. It is His land and His people! He will intervene! Look at Isaiah 8:10 again. In spite of the overwhelming superiority of the enemy it would not succeed in taking out God’s people. There was only one reason for this triumph – “for God is with us.” We saw the outcry in verse 8 and now we see the declaration of triumph in verse 10. Isaiah prophesied this truth in boldness and confidence – the reason for their victory was because of Immanuel.
We have that same triumph today! 2 Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” The enemy of the church raises it war cry, takes counsel together, plans its next attack, but just like the enemies of Judah, they will be shattered and all attempts will end in failure. The strategies of the enemy will be thwarted and their plans will not stand, all because of Immanuel, “God with us”. Can you see it? Immanuel, God with us, is not just a name to bring us comfort and hope. It is our war cry! It is our confidence! The enemy is going to come in and attempt to destroy – what is our response going to be? We cry out – O Immanuel!
Let us not think however we can continue to “side” with the enemy, turn away from our God, thinking we can do whatever we desire. Rebellion is still witchcraft and God will still have His way. If you were to read on in Isaiah, the Lord instructs him to hallow the Lord of hosts, fear God, and allow Him to be his dread, rather than the enemy. Some of God’s people still would not see Him as their sanctuary and they would stumble, be caught in a snare, and end up broken and fallen. It is the same for us. We must not test God believing we can do and say whatever we please. We can turn completely away from God who is with us, refusing His protection and triumph. Isaiah says in 8:17 “And I will wait on the LORD, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him.”
We need to do the same – wait and hope on the Lord! We need to cry out with all that is within us “Immanuel – God with us”. He came to be with us to forgive us and release us from bondage. Our hearts should be bursting with songs of praise and adoration to our Immanuel. He paid the debt – He broke the chains – He is with us! We do not deserve His glory but oh, how He deserves all glory, honor, and praise! And because of what He did and does, we have this incredible privilege of living with Immanuel! May you live today in the blessed knowledge, truth, fullness, and power of God With Us!