July 31, 2016
READ: Matthew 1:21-25
Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us” (v.23).
The chorus from the Grammy award-winning song From a Distance gives the impression that God keeps His eye on us from a long way off.
God does watch over us. For example, when He reminded Jacob of His promise to bless all the families of the earth through his family, God also promised to watch over them wherever they went (Genesis 28:14-15). To know that God is watching over us is a comforting thought. But He’s not watching from a distant place.
God is also with us. The Creator of heaven and earth is not peering over the edge of heaven—watching over us from a galaxy far, far away. The message of the Bible is this: God desires to dwell with us. That’s why the baby Jesus was to be named Immanuel. “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’ ”(Matthew 1:23).
Right from the beginning, God intended to dwell with His image-bearers. And even though we as human beings have repeatedly made it difficult for Him to do so, God, in His grace, always intervenes and draws us to Himself. This cycle is repeated in story after story found in the Scriptures.
Part of the good news of Jesus is that God can dwell with those who love Him by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6). And this time it’s for keeps. He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Because Jesus came to dwell among us and sacrifice His life for us, He also made it possible for us to be saved from our sins (Matthew 1:21).
May we celebrate and be comforted by the truth that the loving, saving God of heaven and earth is dwelling with us today. Yes, God is truly with us!
365-day plan: Luke 10:1-24
Read Matthew 28:20 and consider what Jesus told His disciples before ascending to heaven.
What does it mean to you that the Bible so often reveals God’s desire to dwell with us? Why was it so important for Jesus to come as a man to earth?