Today we begin another name. Immanuel. That’s the transliteration of the Hebrew to English and in English transliteration of the Greek, it’s Emmanouel. God with us. Jesus is God with us. I think you know how to pronounce this name, so I won’t link to an audio pronunciation this week.
As you read today’s chapter in the book by the same name of this week’s featured name, note where it first appeared in Scripture. I hope you will appreciate the context of where it appears for the first time.
At this point in Israel’s history, Israel is a divided kingdom. Ten tribes belong to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The remaining two tribes comprise the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Isaiah was a prophet to Judah, the Southern Kingdom. If you want to be more mindful of Isaiah’s calling as a prophet to Judah, go back and read Isaiah 6. Note Isaiah’s state when he is given this vision. Note God’s comments about the people to whom Isaiah would speak God’s words. God is the Lord of Hosts (Jehovah-Sabaoth) in this chapter. (The NIV calls Him Lord Almighty, but there is another name for that. In the Hebrew and in word for word translations, He is the Lord of Hosts). According to an online source, this name signifies the following (and I so appreciate this name in light of this information and the context of Isaiah’s day):
“To summarize, the LORD of hosts, Jehovah Sabaoth is the Name of God we find used in Scripture when a man or woman is at the end of their rope so to speak — Jehovah Sabaoth is the Strong Tower which God has made available for those times when we fail & are powerless, when our resources are inadequate, when there is no other help. And it is especially during those times that one comes to appreciate that God is truly the LORD of the armies & of all hosts.”
I just love that Jehovah-Sabaoth (the Lord of Hosts) is about to call in the ultimate “weapon” for those at the end of their ropes – Immanuel.
Now, read Isaiah 7. Syria is the capitol of Northern Kingdom Israel at this time. Go back and reread Ann’s commentary on this chapter. Perhaps it will make more sense to you…this prophecy of Immanuel.
Ponder what such a prophecy would mean to people in such a condition. God with us. Might they have thought, “He hasn’t been with us in so long! This is wonderful news!” or, “When will He come?”
Now, did you note what God told Isaiah in Isaiah 6 about how the people would receive His words from Isaiah? In 6:9, God says to him, “Go, and say to this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’” That’s God telling him that He has important words for him to speak to people who wouldn’t have the ears to understand or the eyes to really perceive these words from God, yet Isaiah was to be faithful to proclaim them to these people. They would not get it. Speak anyway.
I think about those words God told Isaiah and I think how great the need for Immanuel to come then.
How great is the need today! Yet, He has come. We live in the AD’s and Isaiah was in the BC’s. But, are our times that different from Isaiah’s day? We, too, need to be faithful to speak the truth whether others get it or not. We live in times when “God with us” has come, lived, died, was buried, and rose to life after three days. Immanuel has ascended to heaven and sits at God’s right hand. Immanuel lives to intercede on our behalf. Us – people at the end of our ropes.