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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Season of Advent: THE SACRED PAUSE - IMMANUEL




The name "Immanuel" occurs in Isaiah's important prophecy (7:14-16). The name relates to the confirmation that the plans of Jerusalem's adversaries would fail because God's purposes are immutable (Isaiah 7:4-9). His presence ensures this. The great prophecy of chapter seven is followed by some important details about "Immanuel" in the next chapter. 
 
The key passage interpreting the meaning "Immanuel" is Isaiah 8:10 ("Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, for God is with us"). This means that God's purposes stand no matter how strenuously evildoers oppose them. Note the similarity of Isaiah 7:7 and 8:10.

Regarding Matthew 1:23: "Immanuel," meaning "God with us" carries the implication that God is sovereignly working His purpose in the lives of His people to protect them and work through them. He will fulfill His promises no matter how earnestly men may oppose them (See Ro. 8:31 and following). The reference in Matt. 1:23 teaches that Jesus in His Person is truly God, but it also includes the idea that God’s plan of redemption is unstoppable and that our ultimate security and provision is in the Person of Christ. (©1998 Internet Biblical Resources)

In this season of Advent, you have the opportunity to consider afresh that you have been “born from above” (John 3:3), that the God of all Creation, Christ Pantocrator (Lord of the Universe) has called you into his life, or desires to. He has become Immanuel to you. God is with you, today and tomorrow and forever.  You are in him and he is in you (Galatians 2:20).

The spiritual implications of this truth are profound. Because you are his and he is with you, you have an open invitation to intimacy with him. You can know his heart and he knows yours – you are his idea. There is no need to feel separated from him. He will never leave nor forsake you, period. (Hebrews 3:5) In joys and sorrows he is there; he carries you. (Isaiah 46:4-3)

Immanuel means that in your struggles, afflictions and adversities, God is with you. He is your Helper and Deliverer. You no longer face your life by yourself, even if you feel alone, you are not. God is with you. You have a devoted Advocate, and Protector at work in your life. He will let nothing nor anyone tear you out of his hand. No power in heaven or on earth is capable of doing do.

Jesus is your Immanuel.

As you ponder this, let the following questions open you to what the One who is always with you wants to say to you through the still, small voice of the Spirit:

1. Jesus, where in my heart have I not let you be Immanuel?

2. Lord, show me where I let feeling alone prevent me from engaging life in Your Presence and with your help.

3. Father, how would have me know that your redemptive purposes this Christmas and into the next year will not be prevented in my life and for my life?
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