“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The Old Testament is full of precursors to the coming of our Messiah. Woven throughout the biblical text of God’s dealings with mankind, His people, we see His plan unfolding, preparing the way for Jesus. One such example is the story of the Exodus, and how God called a great leader in Moses to lead His people from their captivity in Egypt to freedom in the land He had promised.
To Moses, the presence of God meant everything. When God called him to be His leader, Moses feared his inadequacies and pleaded with God to choose someone else. He knew he couldn’t complete the task on his own (Exodus 3-4). Throughout Israel’s journey through the wilderness, recorded in Exodus for all to see and read, Moses depended on God’s presence. One of the most beautiful depictions of God’s relationship with man is found in Exodus 33:11, where it says, “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” Later, as Moses was interceding to God on behalf of the Israelites, he refused lead them into their inheritance unless God promised His presence would be with them (Exodus 33:15).
God’s presence has not always been a priority for mankind. Even after God did miraculous things before His own people, they would turn away and chase other gods, idols, and their own desires. This cyclical relationship between God and His people would be repeated from generation to generation.
So, God had a plan. From the foundation of the world, knowing how His people would wander, His plan was to make a way to bridge the chasm that separated the Creator from His creation. His plan was fulfilled in sending to us Emmanuel, His Son, Jesus. Many names, one Son, one Redeemer, the only way. But the greatest fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies of God coming to us is found in that one name, Immanuel.
Do you know why Jesus was called Emmanuel? Because that name means, “God with us.” His presence, given to you and me, for all time. This Jesus would ensure that mankind would no longer have to be alienated from their Creator. Our God had come to us, inviting us to commune with Him forever, through His Son, Jesus - Immanuel.
I’m not so sure that Moses knew that his need for God’s presence would lay the foundation for God’s eternal presence given to mankind generations later through Jesus. But God worked His plan out to perfection. And He still is working His plan in your life today. Some days it may not feel like it, but He is. Just trust Him. He will finish what He has started. I guarantee it.
So, this Christmas, remember to celebrate the presence of God. He has come to us through Immanuel. He is “God with us.” Just as He was there with the Israelites in their wilderness, He will be there in yours too. O Come, O Come, Immanuel!
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
-Jesus, in Matthew 28:20