Day 3: God with Us

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel–which means, “God with us.”

The highest and holiest entered this world through the most humble of doors.

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:22-25)

We discover in our verses for today fulfilled prophecy. The Savior would be born of a virgin. God will fulfill His every Word! Jesus gives us a solemn declaration regarding this same principle later in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount:

The Savior of the world did not come from an empress or a queen. He did not appear with outward pomp or splendor. Rather, leaving His glory behind, He arrives in the womb of a poor young virgin, a reflection of spiritual purity.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

Since Matthew was writing primarily to a Jewish audience, the fulfillment of prophecy is consistently brought to the forefront. In the second chapter alone, we discover no less than four occurrences of prophecy being fulfilled through the life of Jesus. Matthew was ever pointing his audience to the fact that Jesus was indeed their long awaited Messiah!

In our verses today, Matthew cites the prophecy from the pen of Isaiah–almost word for word:

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)

“By the light of nature, we see God as a God above us; by the light of the law, we see him as a God against us; but by the light of the gospel, we see him as Immanuel, God with us, in our own nature, and in our interest. In this consists the salvation he brought about, in the bringing of God and man together; this was what he intended, to bring God to be with us, which is our great happiness, and to bring us to be with God, which is our great duty.” -Matthew Henry

The Savior of the world did not come from an empress or a queen. He did not appear with outward pomp or splendor. Rather, leaving His glory behind, He arrives in the womb of a poor young virgin, a reflection of spiritual purity. The highest and holiest entered this world through the most humble of doors. The name “Immanuel” assures the people of God’s continued presence. To be sure, He is a “with us” God! Isn’t that wonderful news? The writer of Hebrews affirms this:

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

God’s encouraging Word through the Prophet Isaiah comes to mind:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10)

We see the faithfulness of Joseph as he is obedient to God’s commands. He did not let his earthly concerns distract him from the eternal matter of obedience to the will of God. There was no delay in his actions. God was his strength and God’s presence was Joseph’s comfort and consolation. We will always discover the sufficiency of our Lord Jesus when we follow His way and rely upon His strength and wisdom. With Him, nothing lacks value–even though at first blush, as in the case of Joseph, it seems difficult, confusing, and scary. God’s ways are not the ways of man.

Christ left His glory in heaven and entered the earth through humble doors and he lived out His earthly life in perfect obedience to the Father. He was despised and rejected, and yet, in the end, He was exalted:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Take It to Heart

“Tarry not for a convenient time. The movings of the Spirit are never convenient to the interests of the flesh, and I shall engineer your circumstances to conform to My plan and My will. You will glorify Me; for My plan for you excels all other ways, and in the center of My will is a perpetual fountain of glory. Do not doubt or hesitate, for I the Lord your God go before you. You already have My promise that the work I begin I am able to carry through to completion. Yes, there is already laid up an exceeding weight of glory for those who go through with Me and determine to seize the prize. For I have wealth beyond your fondest dreams to bestow upon those who have left all to follow Me. All the glittering enticements of this transient life are as chaff in comparison, for God’s gifts and calling never waver, and My giving is restricted only by the will and choice of the recipient.” (Frances J. Roberts)