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"God is with Us" - A Scriptural Theme
The presence of God in his people's lives is a prevailing theme in Scripture. The name Immanuel, found in Scripture in the Book of Isaiah, means "GOD WITH US".
The name Immanuel for the Lord means “God with us”. God’s unique presence holds great significance in the Bible - even in the beginning.
GOD WAS WITH ADAM
In the Garden of Eden, Genesis recounts intimate conversations between God and Adam, which took place during the tranquil coolness of the day. These glimpses into divine-human interaction inspire awe and wonder, emphasizing the closeness and accessibility of God to humanity.
GOD WAS WITH THE BIBLICAL PATRIARCHS
These early encounters within the Garden of Eden lay a solid foundation for understanding God's presence throughout history, shaping believers' perception and their quest for communion with the divine. The concept of God's special presence extends beyond Eden, permeating sacred writ. Look at how the Lord was with Abraham, Jacob, and Jospeh during their trials.
GOD WAS WITH ABRAHAM - Genesis 26:3
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.
GOD WAS WITH JACOB - Genesis 28:15
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
GOD WAS WITH JOSEPH - Genesis 39:2–3, 22-23
2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. … 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. … 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.
MOSES AND ISRAEL
God assured the Hebrews of his presence at the inception of their journey as a nation in Exodus 3:12. God manifested his presence in many ways: by the pillar of cloud and of fire (Ex 13:21, 22), and by the symbolism of the tabernacle and the temple, especially the Holy of Holies and the ark of the covenant.
God led his people on their pilgrimage, guiding them through both day and night with a cloud during daylight hours and a pillar of fire at night. The majestic manifestation of the divine was observed within the sacred enclosure known as the tent of meeting and the tabernacle (Exodus 40). During times of war and conflict, God reassured Israel of his steadfast presence in Deuteronomy 20:1, 31:6, Joshua 1:9, and in the verses below.
JOSHUA & CALEB vs THE CANAANITES - Numbers 14:9
Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”
JOSHUA - Joshua 6:27
So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.
GOD WAS WITH THE HOUSE OF DAVID
God pledged his unwavering companionship to those who found themselves consumed by fear or weakened by adversity (Isaiah 41:10). We find this to be true in the life of King David.
DAVID - 1 Samuel 18:14
And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him.
DAVID - 2 Samuel 7:9
and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
SOLOMON - 1 Kings 1:37
As the Lord has been with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”
Upon its completion by Solomon, the Temple elicited an overwhelming sense of awe due to the palpable presence of the Lord, as depicted in 2 Chronicles 5:13-14. The glory was so remarkable that it rendered even the performance of priestly duties impossible, for no one dared enter into this sacred space according to 2 Chronicles 7:1-3.
GOD IS WITH US IN THE NEW COVENANT ERA
This close relationship sets God’s people apart from all others on earth (Exodus 33:16) and serves as the bedrock for God's covenant with his elect, both then and now (Deuteronomy 5:2f). Centuries later, Zechariah saw the Messiah and recalled Yahweh’s promises and their fulfillment to the House of David.
Zechariah upon seeing the Messiah (Immanuel) in Luke 1:68–69
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…
GOD WITH HIS PEOPLE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
From the close fellowship experienced in Eden to the gracious presence of the Lord Jesus with all believers in Revelation 22:21-23, the concept of "God with us" saturates the Bible. GOD WITH US - this close companionship stands as a distinct mark of those whom God has chosen and bears testament to his faithfulness.
HIS PEOPLE, THE CHURCH - Revelation 21:3
In the consummation of all things, as shown to the apostle John, the Lord said: “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them”.
GOD WITH US reminds us that God is not distant or indifferent to our plight. He is actively engaged in the lives of both individuals and communities. This truth inspires and guides us as we live our daily lives in the light of his presence. We acknowledge God's extraordinary presence in prayer, praise, and profession. The forty-sixth psalm (below) is one of the best at expressing the fact that GOD IS WITH US!
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
GOD IS WITH US IN OUR TROUBLES
When we face formidable trials, God promises to remain faithfully at our side (Isaiah 43:2). In this closeness, God speaks (Hosea 12:4), walks alongside us, and provides guidance and protection (Judges 6:12-18; 1 Kings 8:57; 2 Chronicles 13:12; 32:7f.). This is the sentiment that undergirds the famous prophecy about Christ (ultimately and most fully) found in Isaiah 7:14.
GOD WITH US - the "Immanuel theme," encapsulated by the covenant statement, "I will be their God, and they will be my people," highlights God's desire to have his children be “close” to him. The promise that "God is with us" served as a sign to Ahaz and his people in Isaiah 7:14. This is what my next post will cover.