Immanuel means ‘God with us’ and we know that from Matthew 1 :23. The gospel writer, Matthew, quotes from Isaiah 7:14 as he tells the story of Joseph, and his dream encounter with the Angel. Joseph had just been told that the child Mary carried was the Son of God. In this context ‘Immanuel’ is a name, the name given to the child born of a virgin, who would be the Messiah, the Saviour.
GOD AS A MAN
God Himself, in the person of His Son, descended into humanity so that He could live among us. We can put from our minds all thoughts of a distant, uninterested God. He was born into poverty, hardship, shame, fear and uncertainty, under Roman oppression. He chose to experience these things, as well as injustice, hatred, misunderstanding, loneliness, physical torture and death. He suffered these willingly, for our salvation, but also so that He could fully understand our pain and suffering (Hebrews 4:15).
He truly made Himself ‘God with man’, and this is our comfort. There is nothing that we can face that He has not experienced Himself. We can never believe that He does not care, because He truly knows how we feel. He also had no problem identifying with the undesirables – from the shepherds, to tax collectors and prostitutes. He came to be with those who needed Him most, God with every man, whatever their status.
OUR BATTLE CRY
But ‘Immanuel’ occurs elsewhere in Isaiah, in chapter 8, verses 8 and 10. Here it is not a name but a cry of trust, from a nation facing humiliation and defeat; it is a yell, ‘Our God is With Us!’. Immanuel is our comfort but also our battle cry. Whatever we face, He, Almighty God, is truly with us. ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5) is His promise.
Is Immanuel both your comfort and your battle cry?
‘Were you afraid on the ship?’
‘Honestly? Yes. Fear in itself is a normal human reaction. You would expect to feel fear every time you entered a battle?’ He glanced over at Philip who nodded in response. ‘I was afraid, but I have learned to do the things God requires me to do, even when I feel fear. He promises to ride the storm with me, every time.’ He continued, ‘I prayed the whole time that God would help me, to not let my fear become greater than the faith I had in Him to keep us safe. My mind was eventually able to find a degree of peace, unlike my stomach.’ He smiled wryly.
THE HEALING p 95
Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.
‘The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022
More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com