Dianne Barker here with a few thoughts about the presence of God with us. Long ago the prophet Isaiah wrote, “…The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14), which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). What difference does his presence make in an ordinary life?

The Old Testament is filled with stories of ordinary men who received assignments way too big for them. But God was with them…and that made a difference. Let’s consider a few.

Isaac: “I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws” (Genesis 26:3-5).

Jacob: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (Genesis 28:15).

Joseph:  “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered…” (Genesis 39:2); “the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden” (Genesis 39:21); “The Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (Genesis 39:23).

Moses: “I will be with you…Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 3:12, 4:12).

Joshua: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:5, 9).

Gideon: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12).

Samuel: “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew…and all Israel…recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord” (1 Sam. 3:19-20).

David: “And the Lord is with him” (1 Samuel 16:18).

Solomon. “Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great” (2 Chronicles 1:1).

God with us. I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of that truth and humbled, remembering how assurance of his presence has made a difference in my life.

“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” (Isaiah 41:10).

“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Do not be afraid, for I am with you… (Isaiah 43:1-5a).

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46:7, 11).

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4).

“The Lord is with you,” Gabriel assured the young virgin, Mary, chosen to bear the child who would change the world (Luke 1:28).

Jesus. God clothed in flesh. Living among ordinary people. With them. Divinity doing human stuff—eating, sleeping, spending time with friends—mingled with miracles.

After his death and resurrection, before returning to the Father, He gave the disciples instructions to continue his mission. “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

God with us—empowering ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Why should we be terrified or discouraged?

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

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