Ever since the time changed last month, I've had difficulty adjusting. Something about the shorter days and longer nights has this sunshine-loving girl feeling off. Of course, it doesn't help that I can feel the intense spiritual warfare in the atmosphere.
Maybe you can feel it too. The darkness seems to be pushing down on us, and sometimes it looks like the enemy is winning. It can be depressing. We can lose hope. We can doubt if God will show up to save us.
God's people have been here before.
In Isaiah Chapter 7, the nation of Judah was shaken. Their enemies were pursuing on all sides, planning their destruction. Yet, The Lord sends Isaiah to King Ahaz with a message:
'Be careful, keep calm, and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of what your enemy has planned. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: it will not take place, it will not happen" (verses 4 & 7).
God was telling the people of Judah to trust Him and stand firm in their faith.
Isaiah must have sensed Ahaz's doubt and unbelief because he doubled down, "ask the Lord Your God for a sign," he encouraged.
Yet Ahaz hesitated, "I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test."
But God gave him a sign anyway, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).
Right in the middle of the harassment and the agenda to ruin God's people, in the middle of reactions of doubt and unbelief was a sign.
God was sending a Savior.
We can look at our life, and it feels like circumstances are closing in on us. But the answer Isaiah gave Ahaz is the answer God wants to give us today.
The good news is our doubts do not sway God. Here we find Ahaz in unbelief and doubt, and God met him right in it. God knows our thoughts before we even think them. Jesus invites us to cast our cares on him. When we see facts that fly in the face of God's promises, it can cause doubt to rise. Yet, God was willing to strengthen Ahaz's faith with a sign, and he is ready to do that for us too. God will confirm His word to our hearts.
If you've followed me for a while, you know I'm a Bible nerd, and I look at the "first mention." The principle of "first mention" says that to understand the meaning of something in the Bible, you start with the first place it is mentioned.
It is here, in Isaiah 7:14, where the name Immanuel is first mentioned, so this means the circumstances have significance to the meaning of the name.
In context, the name Immanuel, which means God With Us, is used to convince Ahaz that God could, and would, rescue him from his enemies.
The names of God show us his attributes. So here, when God introduces us to Jesus by calling him Immanuel, the meaning is significant for us too. We are not alone; wherever we find ourselves, God is With Us.
Maybe like me, you're sensing heaviness, maybe like Ahaz, your situation has you surrounded, or maybe you are looking for how to hold on to hope that God will show up.
Let me encourage you: stand firm in your faith. God's promises are true.
God said the enemy's plans would not happen, so they won't.
Do not be afraid of what you see, and do not doubt what God said. Instead, let faith and hope arise in you because the sights and sounds of Christmas remind us that God Is With Us.
Blessings to You,
P.S. If this message resonated with you, let me know.
P.P. S. If you'd like to leverage coaching to support you in holding on to hope this season, let me know. Email me, message me over social media, or schedule a time to chat, and let's see if working with me is a good fit for you.
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