Emmanuel: God is With Us
December 19, 2012 - You may recognize the word from the timeless Advent hymn, but do you really know what "Emmanuel" means?
by Ruth Bell Graham
Among the most reassuring promises of Scripture are the "I-Am-With-You" promises. They begin in Genesis where God says to Isaac, "Fear not, for I am with you" (Genesis 26:24, KJV).
And they occur again and again, and they reach a glorious climax in Matthew 1:23, "And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (KJV).
Once again at the close of Matthew, as the risen Lord prepares to return to heaven, He leaves His disciples with the promise, "Lo, I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20, KJV).
This happy season will be even happier as we bear in mind the words of the writer to the Hebrews, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5, KJV).
Having so great a Gift places all lesser gifts in proper perspective.
And all of time is marching toward that glorious fulfillment when, as He said, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3, KJV).
He with us here—we with Him there.
Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
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Adapted by permission from "Growing in Prayer," by Ruth Bell Graham, "Decision" magazine, December 1973, (c)1973 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Charlotte, N.C.