“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign,” 2 Kings 22:1
I just love how God has timed this all, so that on the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus we’re reading about a child king. And Josiah wasn’t just any king; he was a GOOD king that restored the worship of the LORD among the people of Israel.
In Isaiah 11:5-6 we read of the prophecy of the coming Messiah. “Righteousness shall be the belt of His waist, and His faithfulness the belt of His loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them;”
At this time of year we celebrate the coming of our Messiah. We rejoice in the TRUTH that He didn’t stay on high in His throne room, but that He removed His crown of gold and exchanged it for a crown of thorns. He took off His robe of righteousness and replaced it with a robe of ridicule. And He did that all for YOU. He took everything that was wrong in this world and began the process of setting it all right again, just like Josiah.
In the 1st chapter of the gospel of Matthew we find Joseph having some serious doubts about marrying Mary. He’s just found out that she’s pregnant and he knows this child isn’t his. That night he has a dream where an angel of the Lord appeared to him saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:21-23)
My friends, this is the key to all of Christianity. It lies in that one simple name, Immanuel.
Immanuel = you are not alone.
Immanuel = I love you enough to strip away the entirety of my majesty and become fully human.
Immanuel = you mean more to me than anything else in all of My creation.
Immanuel = YOU mean more than life to Me!
Immanuel = God is WITH us through it ALL.
Immanuel = through every storm, every dip, every curve ball life throws at you, I’m HERE to help you.
Immanuel = YOU are not alone! Ever.
In Mark’s story of Jesus calming the sea (4:35-41) we find Jesus and the Disciples getting into the boat and crossing over to the opposite shore after a long day of ministry. So it’s not surprising when Jesus falls asleep. What is surprising to His friends is that He stays asleep amid the tossing waves and roaring winds. They interpret His non-reaction as Him not caring about them. (v. 38) And after He calms the storm He turns to them and says “Why are you so afraid? Have you no faith?” When I heard these words today with fresh perspective I realized more clearly how Jesus must have been feeling when He spoke those words, “I am with you, there is no cause for fear. Don’t you realize that the boat won’t sink with Me in it?”
They had the One who created the sea in the boat with them, the One who parts the sea, walks on water and stands on clouds, they had NOTHING to fear. And neither do we.
We too have that very same One within us at all times, in our boat promising never to forsake us. Fear not, O favored one, the LORD is WITH you always!
Psalm 56:3 (HCSB) “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 (HCSB) “Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”
2 Kings 6:16 (HCSB) “Elisha said, ‘Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.'”
2 Chronicles 20:17 (HCSB) You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for Yahweh is with you.”
Psalm 23:4 (HCSB) “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me.”
Psalm 34:7 (HCSB) “The Angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.”
John 14:27 (HCSB) “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”
Isaiah 12:2 (HCSB) “Indeed, God is my salvation; I will trust Him and not be afraid, for Yah, the LORD, is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 41:10 (HCSB) “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you
with My righteous right hand.” (emphasis mine)
Isaiah 41:13 (HCSB) “For I, Yahweh your God, hold your right hand and say to you; Do not fear, I will help you.”