Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | January 31, 2015

January 31, 2015 “The Greater Truth”

“God spoke again to Ahaz. This time he said, “Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!” But Ahaz said, “I’d never do that. I’d never make demands like that on God!” So Isaiah told him, “Then listen to this, government of David! It’s bad enough that you make people tired with your pious, timid hypocrisies, but now you’re making God tired. So the Master is going to give you a sign anyway. Watch for this: A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant. She’ll bear a son and name him Immanuel (God-With-Us).” (Isaiah 7: 10-14)

 

 Good Morning Beloved of God!

I am sure that a month or so ago, while we were still in the midst of the Christmas season, I mentioned the fact that I have an extensive and ever-growing collection of Nativity scenes. Most of them are safely stored away until the next Christmas season rolls around, but there is one I obtained this past summer that was carved from a single piece of olive wood from Jerusalem that I keep on display in my office throughout the year. Up front, I’d like you to understand that it isn’t there for nostalgic reasons, nor do I keep it there because of its aesthetic qualities. I keep it there as a visual reminder of this passage from Isaiah, later proclaimed to Mary by the angel Gabriel…”A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant. She’ll bear a son and name him Immanuel (God-With-Us).” For me, this small nativity, regarded by most as merely a decorative, albeit rather rustic piece of workmanship by some unknown craftsman, declares the bold reality “God is with us!”

Without exception, the focal point of each nativity in my collection is the child in the manger. But I like something I recently read that was spoken by American Pastor and broadcaster John MacArthur. In one of his broadcasts around the holidays, he remarked,

“If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!”   

There is no doubt that a virgin birth is astonishing…unprecedented, in fact, and for some, (pun alert!!!), hard to conceive. More amazing, and the fact that makes all the difference in the world, is that this child truly was, and is, “God with us.” I confess that even as a pastor, I don’t spend an inordinate portion of my day thinking about God and his presence, though I never doubt it. Like many, my attention is more focused on the particular responsibilities of the day, or on what we’ll have for dinner, or in tending to the needs of the dog, or where did I leave my cell phone this time! Then, occasionally, I see that nativity on my bookshelf and I remember the words of the prophet and the angel…“Immanuel…God with us.” There is no greater reality so filled with wonder than that. The omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth is with us…is with ME! The Promise is fulfilled, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Let’s pray!

Ever-present Lord; You are the Great “I AM”, always with me as You promised You would be. May that truth never be far from my thoughts as I engage in the activities of this new day before me, for ‘this is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.’. Amen!

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