“The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means “God is with us”). By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey.” Isaiah 7.14-15
Inserted in a stream of prophecy concerning the coming destruction of the nation of Israel, this little Messianic promise is read much like a back-handed compliment. Israel’s King Ahaz has been disobeying the Lord, and when confronted with his disbelief, he fakes piety by refusing to “test the Lord like that” (v. 12). Bible commentator Matthew Henry writes this concerning the passage:
“The unbelief of man shall not make the promise of God no effect; the Lord himself shall give a sign. Despite your great distress and danger, of you the Messiah is to be born, and you cannot be destroyed while that blessing is in you. It shall be brought to pass in a glorious manner.”
Fully cognizant of the deep heart-rebellion that cannot be hidden, the all-seeing, all-knowing God remains faithful to his promise to Abraham: the whole world will be blessed through the fruit of the Jewish line (Gen 22:18). This idea of Hesed always brings my heart to its knees; God is faithful, no matter the outside circumstances that seem impossible, and regardless of my wandering-heart choices of pure rebellion. One of my favorite verses has been circulating in my mind recently:
“If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.” 2 Timothy 2.13
When I am once again brought face-to-face with the overwhelming grace of God’s unfailing faithfulness to me, my soul cannot help but echo the conclusion Matthew Henry proclaims:
“The strongest consolations in time of trouble are derived from Christ, our relation to him, our interest in him, our expectations of him and from him.”
“God with me” means his constant faithfulness in my life, and the ever-flowing promise of his continuous presence, bringing life, hope, identity and grace.