Saturday, 23 December 2023 The Rev’d Samuel Silungwe,

Saturday, 23 December 2023
O Emmanuel (O God With Us)

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

 

Isaiah 7: 14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

Reflection

Isaiah 7:14 is one of the twenty-two astonishing Messianic prophecies in the Book of Isaiah, each one pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ as the hope to Israel, and all the nations. Since their delivery from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites went from one crisis to another. Aa a nation, she had sunk to the condition of faithless, godless, pagans. Judah had also been threatened by its neighbours. So, politically things were as bad as they were spiritually. Israel’s apostasy had to be punished and the prophets gave stern warnings of the impending judgement with a call to national repentance, but God in His profound love promised to save a small remnant. God sent a message of hope to Israel despite their persistent unbelief and blasphemous idolatry: “Therefore God Himself will give them a sign,” which authenticates the arrival of God’s anointed Saviour, the Messiah of Israel, the royal descendant of king David. The birth of the child, who shall be named “Immanuel” which means God with us, would serve as a “sign” to Ahaz and the nation. 

The word “sign” is defined as a signal, a beacon, a monument—something obvious that serves the purpose of pointing us to a deeper truth, namely that God is intervening, that God is at work, that God is on duty, accomplishing what God intends in every situation. The far reaching significance of Isaiah 7:14 is best shown to us in Isaiah 9:6-7, because there, in the context of the future promised child, we discover His true identity. In this much-loved passage, we read these of hope for Judah and for the world.

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders, and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Amen.

Prayer

Creator God, 
through the prophets you herald Your message
of hope and redemption.
Thank you that You sent Your Son to be born of the virgin,
to become the full and final atonement of our sins.
Thank You that He walked the earth as a human being,
and fully understands our humanity,
having been tempted, but yet with no sin.
Thank You God for our precious Saviour.  Amen.
 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Samuel Silungwe, Minister, The Rockingham Forest Group of URCs, Kettering

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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