Immanuel: God With Us!

Read: Isaiah 7:1-17

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and shall call his name Immanuel. (v. 14)

This well-known verse is often quoted at Christmas. Matthew himself connects this verse to the birth of Jesus (Matt. 1:23), adding that Immanuel means God with us. The surprising context in which Isaiah spoke these words is in a confrontation with King Ahaz. Ahaz’s rebellion against God led the nation into disaster. The immediate threat was an alliance of Aram (Syria) and Ephraim (Israel) against Judah, leaving the people badly shaken and the king searching for a political solution.

On meeting the king Isaiah gave him this message: “Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint.” (v. 4) In essence this was an invitation for the king to trust God to protect his people rather than trusting a political alliance. Isaiah adds this warning: “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.” (v. 9) God graciously invites Ahaz to ask for a sign to confirm that God will be faithful. And this is where we hear the familiar words of verse 14. In response to Ahaz’ rejection, Isaiah announces a magnificent sign from God to the entire House of David: God’s victory will come through a son, born to a virgin, who is Immanuel, God with us.

This promise, given so long ago, was beautifully fulfilled in Jesus. Hallelujah! He is with us always. —Gordon Van Wylen

As you pray, thank God for the promise so wonderfully fulfilled in Jesus.

About the Author

Gordon Van Wylen

Gordon Van Wylen served as the Dean of the Engineering School at the University of Michigan, and was the President Emeritus of Hope College. Dr. Van Wylen died in 2020.