Good Morning!

In the midst of a busy season, isn’t it nice to pause, reflect and center your thoughts on the reason for the season?  I hope you will continue to join me this week in our study of Immanuel: A 5 Lesson Advent Bible Study.  If you would like to start from the beginning of this series, you can find the first lesson, here.

Immanuel: Lesson #3
Pause and Pray:
Mighty God, I thank you for the power of the cross, for the saving blood that provided salvation and redemption for me.  Open the eyes of my heart today.  Help me to learn and grow as I study about this aspect of who You are.  Help me see you as the warrior of my circumstances that is able to save me from all that troubles me.  Thank you Lord in Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Read Isaiah 9:6,7
Have you ever felt defeated, beaten down by your circumstances, or oppressed?  Are you in need of a hero, a champion, a warrior?  We have a Mighty God, who is able to meet our every need, our every circumstance, and who is able to enter our very dark places and bring them into the light.

The Hebrew word,“gibbor” and its variants, is often used of a man who is powerful, valiant, mighty, and strong: A warrior. *  In this passage from Isaiah, our Immanuel is El Gibbor — the God of Strength.

Read Judges 6:11-16
After Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, they served the Lord faithfully.  However, after he and the other elders died, “another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.”   The people were easily influenced and quickly began following the beliefs of the other people around them.  Their turning away from the Lord led to a time of suffering, distress and great defeat at the hand of their enemies so the Lord raised up judges from among them to save them out of their troubles.  These judges served the people in administering justice and order.  {see Judges 2:6-23 for more details}

Gideon was a young man living during this chaotic time of Israel’s history.  On an ordinary day, an unusual visitor comes to call bearing an extraordinary message for Gideon.

“The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12

Gideon, however, had a different opinion of himself; “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest…and I am the least in my family.” {6:15}  Isn’t it interesting how the Lord’s view is so different from Gideon’s own?  Have you ever had a similar experience when God called you to do something and you felt totally unqualified or unprepared to serve in the way He wanted?  Have you ever felt unworthy or unimportant?  I know that I have.

The Lord uses this reluctant ‘warrior’ in ways that Gideon never would have envisioned or imagined that day when he was threshing wheat in hiding to keep it from the Midianites.  Yet, despite Gideon’s belief about himself, he becomes that mighty warrior that the Lord knew he could be and he serves as a judge of Israel establishing peace for 40 years. {see Judges 8:28}  Immanuel sees the promise of potential.  He has the preview of our possibility.  The Lord sees the mighty warrior within each of us.

He doesn’t see the imperfections that we see in ourselves.  He only sees the clay that He can mold.  He sees the valiant courage of our hearts that beat to serve Him if only we will let go and believe.  The Lord sees past our hesitations, our fears, our worries, our hang ups, our anxieties, our downfalls, and our failures. Those issues that appear to stick and cling to us like sticky residue have no staying power with Him.  They don’t hold, they lose their grip, and they don’t stick.

Read 2 Corinthians 10:1-7
We are only viewing our circumstance from the “surface of things”.   We are equipped because of our mighty-to-save-God, our God of strength, who will take our feeble Gideon-like attitudes and turn us into warriors.  We can “demolish strongholds” because the power we have is divine in origin.

Immanuel is Able.

Paul compared the power of God available for us who believe as “like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms”. {see Ephesians 1:18-20}
We have a power like the one He used to resurrect Jesus available to us as believers?!   Incredible!
Do you have something, someone, or a situation in your life that needs to be resurrected?  Do you have dead dreams, hopes and desires that only God could raise?  Our Mighty God has the power to do it.  We need only to believe and access it.

Read Ephesians 6:10-18
The Hebrew word, mighty is comparable with the Greek word, able in the New Testament.  Two words and their derivatives are often used for translation. The first, “dunatos”, has the basic meaning of being able, capable, powerful with a power that is inherent.  The word is also closely related to “dunamis”, the word for miraculous power.*  Contrasted to “dunatos”, the second word,“ischus”, stresses the factuality of the ability and this word is the word choice used in the above portion of scripture.

What does that mean?  We can know with certainty that we have power at our disposal to be victorious in any and every circumstance. We serve a Mighty God who has provided tools to equip us for the battles, trials, temptations, persecutions and oppression that we face.  To use them, we must act, step out and outfit ourselves with the divine armor of God.  Our God is mighty to save but we must believe and act accordingly.  Have faith in your Mighty God, Child of the King.

God is able. He is mighty “to make all grace abound to you.” He has the inherent power to do it “in all things at all times {and YOU will have} all that you need, you will abound in every good work”   2 Corinthians 9:8

Read Zephaniah 3:14-17
Around 40 years after Isaiah’s ministry ended, the Lord sent Zephaniah to serve as a prophet under the rulership of King Josiah of Judah.  King Josiah was a God fearing man who sought to bring reform to the people and to turn their hearts back to the Lord. They had endured under kings with their own agendas and Josiah labored to restore them and bring them out from under their suffering and oppression.  Zephaniah’s mission for the people was one of encouragement and hope.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.”  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Read Psalm 98:1-3
The right hand is the hand of power, honor, and authority.  In the Middle Eastern cultures, the left hand is considered unclean and is reserved for bodily hygiene.  The right hand is used for eating, shaking hands, and other functions.***

When the Lord has shown His might, His power in our lives, when He has saved us in our time of distress, when “his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for {us}”, our response is a new song; a rebirth and fresh beginning with the Lord who is able.  We are saved, redeemed, delivered, and revived.  The Lord sings over us and we can not help but sing (or make a joyful noise) back to Him.

Our Mighty God, Our Wonder will save by His powerful right hand.

Read Matthew 26:64; Colossians 3:1-4
Jesus, our Lord, “is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” {Hebrews 7:25}  Our Lord seated in the position of power is mighty to save!  Our Immanuel can vanquish and attain a decisive victory in our lives by His powerful right hand.  He already has.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35-39

Will you be brave mighty warrior and act?



* Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words  W.E. Vine
**The Complete Word Study New Testament  Zodhiates

December 19, 2013


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