Friday, December 21, 2012

God With Us!

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given,

    and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  
Of the increase of his government and peace

    there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

    and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

    with justice and righteousness

    from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty

    will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6,7)

With Christmas just a few days away, I wanted to visit these wonderful prophetic verses from Isaiah. Isaiah was a prophet who had to deliver a lot of unpleasant news from God. In fact, in the verses just following Isaiah 9:6,7, he warns Israel about God’s anger and wrath. There are many chapters pronouncing “Woe!” to the nation. Chapters about judgment. It must have been quite a burden for poor Isaiah to be the bearer of the bad news!

But in much of Isaiah, there is also the glorious good news of the coming Savior. There are promises of hope, blessing, and deliverance. The above verses, which are read every Christmas, remind us that our wonderful God is faithful to keep His promises. These are just two of the more than 300 prophesies that Christ fulfilled at His first coming. And they focus on His name.

First, He is called Immanuel. This one name sums up the whole Christmas story. God humbled Himself, He left His throne, and voluntarily took on the form of a completely vulnerable baby to be with us! He submitted Himself to all of the pain and suffering and humiliation of the Cross - taking on the sins of the world - so that all who would believe might be with Him! And because He is with us, nothing and no one can stand against us!

Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor. How much time and money do we spend seeking counsel for our lives? How many self-help books or philosophy books line the shelves of book stores? Yet, no one has the wisdom to Counsel or give comfort to our spirits like Jesus. He not only has the words that give life, He IS the Word of life!

Mighty God. Not only is Jesus willing to give us help and comfort, but He is also ABLE to do it! He is not just the Son of God, but also God the Son. He is the Creator of the universe and He holds all things together. Nothing was made without Him. He is all-powerful, so He is able to save. Nothing is too hard for Him.

The name Everlasting Father is a remarkable reference to Jesus being coeternal and one with God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, having no beginning and no end. He is the Second Person of the Trinity. 

And, finally, this baby in the manger, surrounded by the noise and mess of animals in a dirty stable, would also be the Prince of Peace. In the midst of our dirty, messy, noisy world, He still brings peace between God and each of us who call Him Savior. Those of us who were once enemies of God are now reconciled by His blood. And, as a bonus, He also brings us the peace that passes all understanding even when our world is collapsing all around us.

Since God kept His promises concerning the Messiah the first time, we know we can trust Him to keep the promises regarding His Second Coming. In fact, look at that last statement at the end of the passage from Isaiah 9: The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this! It’s like He can’t wait, because He’s so excited to do it! Isn’t that amazing?

How I love Him! May we all make room for Him in our hearts and in our homes this season. Have a blessed Christmas! We’ll meet here in 2013!  

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