Friday, January 15, 2021

God be with you!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

The question asked by many people after Christmas is “How did Christmas go?” For the Christian, every day is like Christmas in that God is with us every day. That is the true meaning of “Emmanuel: God with us” and, even better, God is for us; on our side. 

But, remember that God’s Son has another name – Jesus. Every name has a meaning and Jesus means “He will save His people from their sins.” After His resurrection, before returning to His Heavenly Father, Jesus spoke to His disciples with these reassuring words: ”…and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. This is how Matthew ends his gospel. These words offer great comfort to every Christian. Jesus has promised to be with His disciples “even to the end”. Are you living in the good of Christ’s promise? Do you face tough times with the certainty that God is with you throughout? I truly hope so. 

The plan for today is to take a brief look at three instances where we read of God being with His people in the Bible. We will start in Matthew’s Gospel, the first book of the New Testament before going back to Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament and Joseph. We will then go mid-way through to the book of Psalms and consider some words of David. 

Having just celebrated Christmas, one of Jesus’ names was to be Emmanuel which is translated as “God with us”. This had been previously prophesied by Isaiah in the Old Testament hundreds of years before the actual birth of Jesus. Matthew records Isaiah’s words like this: ‘Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Back to the Genesis story and Joseph. I have had the privilege of acting in the musical Joseph twice whilst in school. I have also seen the musical twice which was very entertaining. If you have ever seen it, do you remember the line, “It’s all there in chapter 39 of Genesis”? 

Joseph, remember, was imprisoned as he refused to sleep with Potiphar’s wife. It was she that had made a story up about Joseph. “Lie with me” was her constant request. At the start of the chapter, we read, “The LORD was with Joseph”. 

In Egypt, Joseph was without any other family member, in a foreign land and was unsure of his future. But, when in prison, we read, “The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s hand, because the LORD was with him…”. The story’s end is a positive one in that his father, Israel, and Joseph’s brothers received food from Joseph as there had been a terrible famine throughout the land of Egypt. 

Let us move forward to Psalm 23 where David speaks of his personal experience with God: “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall lack nothing.” Within a few verses, we have mention of tough times with the words: “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me: Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.” David can depend on God for consolation and comfort knowing that every need will be met. Have you got that same confidence today? Is the Lord your shepherd? Does He guide you in these difficult times of lockdown?

Messages with Meaning (15/01/21) Written by Nigel Binding for Your542Day and used with permission.


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