December 20, 2016
Can we be confident of the future? Yes, God has given us a sign.
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
The year was 735 BC. It was a difficult time with a wicked king named Ahaz. Three of the neighboring nations around Judah were attacking and the nation was suffering. Instead of trusting in the Lord, he made an alliance with Assyria. Isaiah was sent to this king to encourage him to turn to the Lord. God would even give a sign. A virgin would conceive and bear a child as a sign that God was working behind the scenes to protect his people and keep His promises to David. The king did not want a sign, but the Lord gave one anyway and the enemies of Judah were destroyed as well.
The year was 4/5 BC. It was a tough time with the Romans in charge and Herod in Jerusalem. God sent a sign that year as well. A child was born of a virgin and laid in a manger. It was a sign that God was bringing deliverance to His people. This would not be deliverance that would last for only a few years. It was a deliverance that would last and change the future of mankind. It was a sign that God would touch the lives of people healing their illness and comforting their pain. The Messiah had come. Not everyone wants Him, but God loves His people enough to change history.
The year is 2016. We have had a divisive presidential campaign. We live in an era with violence in our streets and terrorism in our cities. Many do not want the child. They want to ban manger scenes and Christmas carols from public places. Yet, God still gives the sign of the child. As we look at the manger we see that God still cares and that God is in control of the future. America may be in for some hard times, but God’s church and His people will not be destroyed.
Many look at the decline of churches across America and figure that God is dead or has forgotten us. I see the sign and I have hope. For those who bow their knee in prayer and find comfort and power in God’s word, there will be a bright future. God Himself will protect them and provide for them. He is their savior from sin and He will be their savior in the times of crisis. The virgin has conceived and born a son. His name is Immanuel – God is with us and I plan to never let Him go. He is our only hope in life and the future.