Mat 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
As of late, and I’m not referring to the Christmas season, my times of worship have specifically focused on this particular name of Jesus, “Immanuel.” I had never really thought much about it until God started stirring something within me in deep appreciation of this celestial name for the historical person that the world calls “Jesus.”
The name means “God with us.”
How astounding, when I stop and consider it, that God chose to do all the work of creating a system in which He could permeate humanity in the flesh. Of course, there is the whole central theme of salvation and redemption, but that is not my purpose in writing today.
When we think of “God with us” today, most of us tend to give God one of two options: omnipresent Creator or invisible friend. If we relegate His presence to simply omnipresence, then we academically acknowledge that He is everywhere at all times. If we consider Him to be the invisible friend, then we imagine that it must be Him who carried us through our last trial, and we sure are glad He did what He did, even though it is only apparent in hindsight.
The reality is that God, of course, is omnipresent, and He does carry and sustain us, but the fullness, or intensity, of His presence grows when we are actively tuned to hear Him and when we are yielded to what He wants to have happen right now, in this moment.
You see, we often make assumptions about what God is up to and what we can do for Him; just think of the last 5 “worship services” you’ve been to. How often have you attended and distinctly wondered, “Where is the presence of God?!”
In the “omnipresent” sense, of course He is there. But, why aren’t we picking up on it? It is because we are not really looking to yield ourselves up to Him in that service, we are wanting to feel good knowing cerebrally that we have done something that God would appreciate. It is in this selfish condition that we rob ourselves of an intimate encounter with the great Immanuel, with the Lover of our Souls.
In these moments, we can catch ourselves and stop the foolishness. We can, mid-service, yield ourselves to the Father. We can invite Him to have His way, and His presence can definitely grow. What starts as a God-forsaken assembly can course correct and ultimately commune with the Father, if enough of His children are aware of the foolery and refuse to let it continue within themselves.
Immanuel: God With Us. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for Your desire to be with us. My we become increasingly aware of Your presence and continue learning how to be with You for Your great pleasure.