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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lenschow

God's Abiding Presence

His Coming Anticipated

Day 2 Monday, December 4th—God’s Abiding Presence

Isaiah 7:1-17, emphasis on 7:14

1. Recognize the Context:

The historical context-

Ahaz, the king of Judah (735-715 B.C.), was attacked by Israel and Syria. The prophet Isaiah was sent to Ahaz to encourage the king to trust God. Isaiah invited Ahaz to ask God for a sign of his presence because this was God’s instruction. Instead, Ahaz refused to do so, demonstrating his lack of faith in God and his disobedience. However, God announced a sign anyway: the birth of a child called Immanuel.

7:1-2 The historical setting

7:3-9 God’s assurance and the call for faith

7:10-12 Ahaz encouraged to ask for a sign, and his refusal

7:13 God’s plan for David’s dynasty

2. Read the Scripture: Isaiah 7:1-17, emphasis on 7:14

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

3. Reflect on the Scripture:

Immanuel means “God with us.” The message of God’s presence with his people is at the heart of the Bible. He led the people of Israel out of Egypt, through the desert, and into the Promised Land. His presence dwelt in the tabernacle, which was situated in the center of their camp. God resided in the Temple once Solomon built this permanent structure in Jerusalem. He also spoke to his people through the prophets (including Isaiah).

Despite Ahaz's lack of faith, God was still present and at work with his people. He saw them through their eventual exile to Babylon and their return. He was with them as they rebuilt Jerusalem and waited centuries for the birth of Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 announces the birth of the long-anticipated child. He was given the name Immanuel. With the advent of Jesus, "God with us" took on a whole new dimension. The incarnation has altered the human experience, and it would never be the same (John 1:14). The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah have changed everything. Simply put, Jesus is the game-changer! Humanity can now know and experience God in ways that it couldn't have before Christ's birth.

4. Relate to life:

Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.

To pray:

Take some time to prayerfully consider the meaning of the phrase “God with us.” Today, thank God for being with you.

Prayerfully consider these questions:

-How has the coming of Jesus permanently changed the human experience?

-How does His advent directly impact his followers?

-How does this impact your life today?

To do: (Actions with the Holy Spirit's help)

This Advent season, pray and actively look for someone who needs to hear about how Jesus is "God with us." Consider having a conversation with this person.

Given the prayer suggestion and questions above, what can you incorporate into your life today? Think about your attitudes, actions, and words. Think about your family, friends, church community, co-workers.

To study: (Always make sure to read the immediate context of the given passage.)

Read and reflect on Matthew 28:18-20. Many Christians know this familiar passage as the “Great Commission.” Notice the promise of Jesus’ last sentence. Matthew has brought his Gospel full circle. It has returned to where it all started in Chapter 1—the promise of “God with us.”

Read and study Hebrews 13:1-8. This last chapter of Hebrews provides some final instructions on how to live as a follower of Jesus. The author reminded the readers about God’s constant presence, specifically within the context of contentment. He alluded to Deuteronomy 31:6.

Read and study Deuteronomy 31:1-8. In this passage, Moses gave his final words of encouragement to Israel as his life was coming to an end. This same God, who was with His people then, is with his people today.

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