Spirit of Immanuel: the One who is with us.

Immanuel. Yeshua, God with us.

It’s wild that this name represents the eternal desire of God. Of course Jesus’ very name would reflect the heart of the Father, & the purpose of the Spirit, as the very image of the invisible God (Is. 7:14, Matt. 1:22-23, Col. 1:15).

From the very beginning of God’s interactions with mankind, He has revealed His intentions toward humanity. He created the heavens and the earth, a sacred place for not only man to dwell but for God to dwell with man (Gen. 1). Even the order of creation in the first week of the known universe was intentional. It is no coincidence that God created humanity on the sixth day, and rested on the seventh (Gen. 1:26-31, 2:1-3). Man’s first full day on the earth was resting with God. It set a radical precedence not merely for the ordering of our work week and the necessity of a rest day, although this is important. God’s design reveals God’s desires, and if He spent the first day with the first man and woman on the earth by resting- dwelling with them- it communicates our purpose. Not just to tend the garden, though that’s amazing. Not just to be married and have a family, thought that’s beautiful and powerful. Not just to do things for God, though He delights in doing things with us and love compels us to take action.

Our purpose is to dwell with Him. In His house. All the days of our lives. (David knew this well- Is it any wonder he was called a man after God’s own heart? He knew the Lord’s desires.) We were made to look upon His face, see His glory, and gaze upon His beauty (Psalm 27:4). The Lord revealed to Moses that His glory is His goodness (Exodus 33:18-19), and David knew that He would “look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).

God rested on the seventh day not as a reward for working so hard or to set the precedence that we can only rest if we work hard enough. God rested on the seventh day because He created a place to rest in. He rested because He created someone He could dwell with. He delights in our mere existance with Him; He is so pleased with His children (Zeph. 3:17, Ps. 18:19, Matt. 3:17). There’s a wild reality that the God who is everywhere wants to rest somewhere. He wants to dwell somewhere and tabernacle in & among humanity (Jn 1:1, Jn 17:20-24, 2 Sam. 7:1-16).

When humanity had to leave the original tabernacle of the Garden of Eden, because their choice to sin cut them off from God, the Lord guided His people throughout history on how to host His manifest presence (Gen. 3). He taught them how to build Him a place on the earth and dwell with Him (Ex. 25-31). But it wasn’t enough. There was still separation. The blood of goats couldn’t do anything but temporarily purify the flesh and allow Him to remain in our midst; they didn’t actually take away sin (Heb. 9:12-14, 10:4). There was no oneness. We couldn’t gaze on His face without dying; we couldn’t even touch items that held His presence without dying (Ex. 33:20-23, Ex. 19:12-13, 1 Chron. 13:5-14, 2 Sam. 5:5-15).

Although there’s a chance Yeshua was already hanging out on the earth (in the geographical area of Jerusalem too- crazy), He didn’t put on flesh, reveal Himself by name, spill His blood in death for our salvation, and rise again for our oneness with God until about 2,000 years ago (Gen. 14:17-24, Heb. 7:1-28, Luke 2). This is God incarnate who came and dwelt among humanity.

But! This Man had to leave (Jn 20: Luke 24:50-51, Acts 1:9-11). Immanuel, who made the way for God to truly dwell with us and in us again, is now seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father and preparing a place for us (Mark 16:19, John 16:28, John 14:2). He had to go, but He asked the Father to give us another One- One just like Him (Jn 16:16, 26). One who would dwell with us and be in us- forever (John 14:15-17). Jesus was so passionate about this gift and desired this for us so much that He said that it would be better that He does go so that we can have the Spirit (Jn 16:7)!

Luke recorded the fulfillment of this in the book of Acts chapter 2 when he wrote that Jesus was “exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). This is a promise for all generations (Acts 2:38-39). The presence of the Holy Spirit is how God dwells in and with humanity once again on the earth (1 Cor. 3:16, 2 Cor. 6:16, 2 Tim. 1:14, Rom. 8:11) . The gift of the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of the Father’s desire to dwell with humanity and it’s why Jesus was so excited about us having Him.

When Yeshua first appeared to the disciples again, after His resurrection and before His ascension, the first thing He said was, “Peace be with you” (Jn 20:19). He showed them His scars, proved to them that He was living flesh again (Jn 20:20). He spoke again, declaring peace over them again (Jn 20:21). And then He made a very profound statement; He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:22).

Receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit who is so closely linked to peace; the One who bears peace as a fruit of His essense as the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Immanuel (Gal. 5:22-23, Rom. 8:9, 1 Cor. 2:14-16). “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you,” Yeshua said (John 14:18, 27). And He gave us the Holy Spirit. This Spirit brings a peace that guards our hearts and minds, reveals the kingdom of God, and brings hope (Philippians 4:7, Romans 14:17, Romans 15:13). Peace is a promise Yeshua keeps, and He does that through the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 54:10).

As we enter this week of remembering the One who is always with us and brings peace, may we take time to intentionally reflect on what may prove to be some challenging questions: Do I really believe that God’s eternal desire for humanity is to dwell in and with us? Is there anything hindering me from believing that my purpose and identity is rooted in what I can do for God rather than just being in Him? Is there anything hindering me from living in intimate friendship with the Holy Spirit?

Letting the reality of God’s eternal desire and our true purpose sink into your heart is a practical path to experiencing the peace of God. When we are released from the lies of performance and the emptiness of vain works, we can more naturally and readily experience peace. (Note that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, as a dove, & the Father said that Jesus was His “beloved son in whom I’m well pleased” before Yeshua ever did any miracles or started His ministry (Jn 1:29-34, Matt. 3:13-17).)

In remembering the One who is with us always, may we be marked by His faithfulness, peace, and deep desire to dwell with us- to the point of allowing our souls to be moved into cultivating this peace and taking moments to wait on Him this week.

Happy Advent, friends. Let’s welcome the peace of His presence together.

if you have an extra moment:

read: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 & John 14:15-28 to remind yourself of God’s desire to dwell with us and to make us His family, along with Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit helping fulfill this desire now.

part 1 of these “advent thoughts,” if you haven’t already 🙂

listen: “Holy Spirit (We Love You)” by Upperroom and “Michael Miller’s message on God’s Desire for a Homefor more clarity on these themes (they also have some brilliant messages on the Holy Spirit if you desire more depth on that too).

pray: Thank you, Father, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I know that You’re trustworthy and You only give good gifts- and the Holy Spirit is a good gift. I know that you’re not a stranger Holy Spirit, but I need you to remind me of the times when you showed up for me. Show me where we’ve met before. I want to know you more. I honor you. I welcome your presence and your peace in my life. In Yeshua’s name.

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