What Kind Of Life Do You Want To Have?
Today let’s rest on the long-time promise of the Scriptures we’re about to read: Jesus’ birth from a young, virgin and resurrection from death are the two most amazing miracles ever in history. The prophecy of Jesus’s birth in Isaiah is fulfilled 700 years after he wrote what the Lord had told him. But what does Psalm 23 have to do with it? And it was written about 300 years before Isaiah became a prophet!
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us.’” Mt. 1:22-23
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child, and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
Psalm 23 is about the Shepherd – God. Our Shepherd. Shepherds were an important part of Jesus’ birth story, too. So, let’s look at the responsibilities of a real-life shepherd.
Shepherds, especially during Biblical times (and even still today in countries like Palestine), are devoted to their sheep. They take care of them by watching them all day, making sure they’re eating and drinking what they need, along with rest. A shepherd also takes care that none of the sheep become lost and if any wander away, the shepherd will diligently search for the lost sheep until it is found and takes it back to his flock. He also protects them in the night if wildlife tries to attack them.
Doesn’t that sound like Jesus is a shepherd too when it comes to the actions he does for us? When Jesus was in his ministry, and still today, he pays attention to his sheep/people, feeds us, makes us rest, will find us if we stray away from him, and protect us. Just like shepherds never leave their sheep alone and is always WITH THEM, the same goes for us. God is wants to be and is always WITH US.
Dallas Willard describes the words ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ to mean, “I’m in the care of someone else. I’m not the one in charge. I’ve taken my kingdom and surrendered it to the kingdom of God. I am living the with-God life.”
It’s amazing to read the prophesies like today’s Truth about the foreshadowing of a virgin giving birth to a son with the name Immanuel – God with us. The LORD told Isaiah about the virgin giving birth to Immanuel, and an angel from God’s heavens told Joseph, Mary’s soon-to-be-husband, the exact same words.
Today we have the gift of hearing and reading the Truth about those same exact words. What was written in Scripture remains true today, that the baby, Jesus, was born from virgin Mary and another name to call Jesus is Immanuel. God with us. The LORD, God, is our Shepherd…for He is with me” and you. (Ps. 23:4)
Glory to the Light of the world! Come down, come down Immanuel. Be with us. Thank you for being our Shepherd. Never leave us, please continue to protect us, search and find us when we’re lost, and fight for us. Immanuel, God with us, help us to feel your presence, not only during the holidays but every day. Amen.
Is there a time in your life when you knew and/or felt that God was with you? How did you feel?