God with us.
I know the Christmas season has come and gone, but I wonder why it is we only hear ‘Emmanuel’ during the most wonderful time of the year. I wonder why it is we really only focus on God being with us as a New Testament phenomenon as the person of Jesus and also as the Spirit dwelling within us. If you read stories in the Old Testament, you see that God promises to be with us wherever we go.
Wherever we go.
Time and time again, the Old Testament tells the story of an ordinary person in an ordinary life doing extraordinary things because of God. I just want to take a moment and bullet point some stories/verses to demonstrate my point:
- God promised to be with Isaac during a famine which had struck the land which we read about in Genesis 26:1-5. God reminded Isaac of the promise He made to Isaac’s father, Abraham.
- God promised to be with Moses while he asked Pharaoh to free the Hebrew slaves in Exodus 3. Because of that promise, and Moses’ humility, the people were freed and started their journey to the Promised Land
- God showed His presence as a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day to guide the Israelites through the desert. He dwelled within the Tabernacle while the Israelites set up camp in the desert.
- When God appointed Joshua as Moses’ successor, He promised to be with Joshua as he brought the Israelites in to take possession of the Promised Land.
- God repeats this promise in the first chapter of Joshua; that He would always be with Joshua.
- Again, in Joshua 3, God promises to be with Joshua so Israel will listen to him.
Besides those examples, God proves time and again that He is with the Israelites in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in battle. God never leaves His people despite their complaining, grumbling, disbelief, and rebellion. God fulfilled all His promises He made to His people. Even when Israel did not know where they were going, how to get there, or how long they would be in the wilderness, God was with them.
The same is true for us today. God is with us when we follow Him. He is with us when we are in times of doubt. He is with us in our battles, our wilderness, and our grumbling just as much as He is with us in prayer, dreaming, and thankfulness. The person of Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit show this as well, in a deeper way. But God has always been with His people, from the beginning.
Emmanuel; God was, is, and will always be with us.