Emmanuel is a term we usually associate with Christmas. However, I was listening to the sermon this morning. It was on lament. And the minister said that, no matter how much we wail at God, God never leaves us. God is always with us. “God with us” is the literal meaning of Emmanuel.
I have spent the past couple of weeks with the women in the Hebrew Bible, crying with them, wailing with them, trying to fathom the unimaginable things they lived through, hearing their laments. What comes through loud and clear is that no matter how bad things get, God is always Emmanuel … with us. When the Bible gets tough, when our lives get tough, it’s easy to throw up our hands and raise the white flag. But it’s important to be reminded that God doesn’t cause our pain, but is Emmanuel … God with us … through it all.
In preparation for the class I taught today, I made a list of verses about our Emmanuel God, pulled from various books of prophesy. I’m sharing them with you, so that they may be a source of strength and to help us remember our Emmanuel God. Maybe you could spend some time with them this week, in your Lenten meditations, either in contemplation, or as inspiration for journaling.
- Is 2:4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
- Is 12:12 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.
- Is 40:8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
- Is 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
- Is 40:31 But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
- Is 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Is 43:25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
- Is 49:15 Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
- Is 58:6 Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
- Jer 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
- Jer 6:16 This is what the LORD says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
- Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- Jer 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jer 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
- Jer 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
- Ez 36:6 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
- Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
- Micah 6:8 He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
- Zeph 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
- Mal 3:6 I the LORD do not change.
- Mal 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
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