I have been thinking a lot about the concept of Immanuel. ...God with us.
I remember my Old Testament professor reminding us that the Immanuel idea: "God with us" was not always a positive concept in Scripture. Sometimes, in fact, it was terrifying. There were times in the Bible where "God with us" meant judgement and wrath.
But, the promised Messiah would be different... at least His first coming would be. With the Messiah would come the forgiveness of sins. Jesus was given His name, "God saves", for a reason. He would indeed be "God with us" in the best possible way and He would bring salvation when He came. He would come in humility and love. He would come with peace, goodness, and righteousness---blessing was being held out for all mankind to respond to. This is the Father's heart made flesh in the Son's birth on earth.
Emmanuel. God with us... What a thought! In these last few years this Truth has become more and more sweet to my soul. He is with us!
He is with me!
But recently there has been another aspect of this idea bouncing around in my head. It isn't just that God came down and took the form of man. He did that, yes, indeed And, that alone is amazing! But, still more... after His death and Resurrection He sent His Spirit to dwell within us. He would come and be within His bride--- those that welcome Him in.
Immanuel: God within us. The "God with us" is no longer an idea that is tenderly right next to me, or outside of me in any way. He can't be far off. He is inside me! This God, my savior God, is within us. He is within me.
I was particularly struck with the immensity of this Truth as I sang the popular song, "Welcome to Our World" by Chris Rice. The words, "So, wrap our injured flesh around you. Breathe our air and walk our sod. Rob our sin and make us holy", pierced my heart as I listened and sang.
His Spirit dwells within me as I sit at this desk and type these words. He walks my sod! My shoes... my carpet... my stairs. He knows me that intimately. This is the God Immanuel that I am in awe of today. This is advent for me today.
God within me. He is that close. Can He get any closer?