We might be tempted to view God’s presence as fickle or fleeting, perhaps tied to our actions or behaviors. And yet Scripture makes it plain that God’s presence is far more steadfast than we can fathom. From before time began, He desired to be near to us.
Perhaps we’re familiar with the prophet’s words in Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” 700 years elapsed between his proclamation and its fulfillment in Matthew 1:20-23 when an angel appeared to Joseph with the news that Mary would bring the messiah into the world. In verse 23, we see the prophecy from seven centuries before fulfilled, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel (which means, God with us).’”
The “God with us” promise encompasses far more than a 700-year timespan. God’s plan and promise to be near us stretches from before time began and into eternity.
Because God is timeless and all-knowing, He had our rescue plan written before we ever needed it. 2 Timothy 1:9 says, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”
Before time began, God’s purpose and grace was securing our access to Him.
God didn’t merely have an idea before creation. It wasn’t a hazy notion. Instead, He has a detailed outline and delivery. Grace would come to us through Jesus Christ. In John 1:14, we see the “God with us” promise fulfilled, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Before the beginning of time, “this grace was given us in Christ Jesus.” And now, “The Word became flesh…full of grace and truth.” In a humble, holy infant lying in a manger, we’re reminded God’s plans always prevail. Not only that, but from eternity past, He has pursued us.
The gospel of Matthew begins and ends with the “God with us” promise. In Chapter 1, we heard the angel’s words fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” Then, in Matthew 28:20, the final words of the gospel come from Jesus’ mouth when He tells His disciples and us, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
They shall call His name Immanuel (which means, God with us).
I Am with you always.
Far before God set the sun and moon in the sky to govern time, He was thinking about you. His purpose has always been to have a relationship with you. He had a rescue plan in place — grace, embodied in Christ — and that promise was fulfilled in a manger in Bethlehem. Not only that, but His pledge extends into eternity. Just as its Author is timeless, so is the “God with us” promise.
Precious lamb came to redeem us
Heaven’s dawn broke through the night
Just to be with us
You came to earth, yielding Your life
Carried the weight of our sin and strife
Just to be with us
God is here with us