The concept of Emmanuel, God with us, is replete in the Bible. Although the word Emmanuel (spelt Immanuel in the Old Testament) appears just three times in the entire bible, the meaning of the word, and the message, the phrase, God with us, conveys, is seen almost everywhere in scriptures. We know that God is everywhere, the psalmist said, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” Psalm 139:7-8. The word, Emmanuel, meaning ‘God with us’, means means more than the omnipresence of God, it means God’s active participation, in our affairs, to favor, deliver, and do us good, or do good through us. Below are just a few of some of the scriptures that reflect this definition:
In Genesis 17:1 the Bible says, “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” Meaning, I am with you; I am more than enough for you, stay out of trouble, or stay away from sin. In Genesis 26:3, God told Isaac, “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;”. In other words, I will be with you to bless you. God told Jacob, “…behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” Genesis 28:15.
The life of Joseph also illustrates what it means to command the presence of God. Carefully read the following verses: “And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.  And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand…But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.  And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.” Genesis 39:2-3, 21-22.
In Genesis 41:38-40 we see an example of “God with Us”, working through us; “And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is ?  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art :  Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.” He is always with us to keep and protect us from the evil one, yet it might take spiritual maturity to know that He is with us. In 2 Kings 6:16-17, God had to open the spiritual eyes of Gehazy for him to believe He was with them; “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.  And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
In Luke 1:35 the angel told Mary, “…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” In layman’s words, the strong presence of God in your life will make it possible. For with God, nothing shall be impossible.
Acts 10:38 is another example of God working through us, in this case, through Jesus Christ; “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
God doesn’t want his children to be alone. He wants us to know that he is with us. God also wants us to work together, he encourages partnership. Genesis 2:18 makes it clear that partnership was a major consideration for why God created Eve: “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” We all need partners. We all need friends, it’s dangerous to go alone. When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, he sent them in twos; “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two…”.
And, apart from the obvious benefits of companionship, partnership improves our effectiveness. The Bible says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.” Ecclesiatics 4:9. Partnership increases productivity and effectiveness. Deuteronomy 32:30 talks of one chasing a thousand, two chasing ten thousand. This is not an additional sequence of increase, but the geometrical sequence of increase. One equals one thousand, but two equals ten thousand. In other words, two are ten times better than one. We can also say, two is by far better than one. This applies to prayer as well. Our prayer lives will definitely be more effective when we pray together. Having a prayer partner is a very wise thing to do. No wonder Jesus Christ said, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:19.
However, it is pertinent to note that agreement is required between partners or among a group of people praying for particular thing or course. Having the right partner is as vital as it’s dangerous to have the wrong partner. It’s important that we have the right prayer partner, or friend. It is dangerous to have the wrong partner. Whatever is divided against itself is doomed. Listen to Jesus speaking in Matthew 12:25, “… Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:”. So, here are a couple of factors that should influence our choice of partners.
First, we must avoid becoming a friend or partner with an angry person. This is plainly stated in the Bible. Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:  Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” An angry man is doomed to fall into the snare of the devil, God wants you to be far from him so that you that don’t learn his way and get entangled yourself. Anyone given to anger is at the mercy of the devil, meaning the devil can take advantage of him at any time. Listen to this, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” If you cannot control your temper, you are like a city without walls. Meaning, the enemies can come in at any time and do whatever they want. An angry man is a man without rule over his spirit, he shall be at the mercy of his enemies. Nobody in his right mind would want to be in that state.
Another factor we must allow to influence our choice of a partner is faithfulness. Don’t partner with an unfaithful person, or people that lack integrity. Such people give excuses a lot for their failures and lack of performance. Going into partnership with such people can cause us heart can cause serious disappointments. The book of Proverbs 25:19 puts it more eloquently, “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.” Be wise, choose your partners carefully.
Let me also warn, that even at his best, man is not God. We should be careful of the amount of trust we put on people, no matter how reliable, or dependable we may think they are. The commandment of God to us is to love men, not trust. Let us reserve absolute trust for God. God is serious about this. Please read with me Jeremiah 17:5 through 8: “Thus saith the Lord ; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.  For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.  Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.  For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Therefore, it is important that we have partners, real life partners. But it is mandatory that we have Emmanuel with us. The next verses of scriptures illustrate to us the values of both levels of partners.
Here we see Elijah fleeing from Jezebel, and at a point abandoned his servant in Beersheba. Note that, shortly after he left his servant, his frustration quickly deteriorated to the point of him contemplating suicide: “And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.  But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.  And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.” It is also pertinent to point out some trappings of witchcraft influence in this passage of scripture. Jezebel was a renown witch. The conversation below, between Jehu and her son Joram shows her witchcraft was not a secret: “And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” 2 Kings 9:22. She had bewitched Elijah, and this manifested in three ways.
First, Elijah was overwhelmed by fear. This fear was not an ordinary fear, seeing that Elijah had just single-handedly brought down fire from heaven and killed the 450 prophets of Ball with the support of the the people, in the presence of Ahab, the king. This fear that drove Elijah to flee for his life is definitely the effect of witchcraft influence, on him. The Bible makes it clear that “…God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Fear is an evil spirit that is not from God. Jezebel sent it to Elijah when she told him, “…So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.” 1 Kings 19:2. Beware of people that speak words of fear and intimidation to you. Whenever you are overwhelmed by fear, be sure that you are under the influence of demonic powers.
The second trappings of witchcraft influence we find in the behavior of Elijah is seen in his abandoning of his servant. People under demonic and witchcraft influence tend to want to abandon things that are valuable or useful to them. Elijah abandoned his servant in Beersheba. The general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, once told us a story of a woman who came to him complaining that her husband had left her and their four children, and had moved in to live with another woman with four children. When he heard this, he comforted her and prayed with her. Soon after that prayer, there was a little misunderstanding between the runaway husband and his new lover, and she told him, Ori ye oda, meaning, there is something wrong with you. That statement got him really upset, and he asked her what she meant by that. Her answer was, how is that you left your wife and four children to come and live with me and someone else’s four children. On hearing her response, the runaway husband quickly picked up his items in the house and went back to his family. This man was obviously under some kind of witchcraft or demonic influence. The prayer of faith broke the spell that was on him. I pray that God will destroy every evil spell operating in your life in Jesus name.
The suicidal tendency we see in Elijah is another proof that he was under witchcraft influence. Read the following verse, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” 1 Kings 19:4 KJV. This kind of depression and suicidal tendencies can only be the a product of the works of darkness. The Bible says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10.
Jesus came to give you life, and abundant life for that matter. The attempts of the enemy to destroy your life will not stand in Jesus name. Jezebel’s attempt to destroy the life of Elijah failed because God was with him. Similarly, because God is with you, all attempts from the pit of hell against you life shall fail, in the mighty name of Jesus. Yes, I may not know what you are passing through right now, but I have come to let you know that God is with you. He will arise on your behalf.
When Elijah thought all hopes were lost, an angel woke him up to a meal, twice. The meal, it was that meal that broke the spell of witchcraft on him. He went on the strength of that meal for forty days. God also gave him another partner, in the person of Elisha, who served him and took over from him. And the most thrilling part of this story is that, apart from delivering Elijah from the hands of Jezebel, God made Elijah to anointed Jehu as king of Israel, and it was Jehu commanded the execution of Jezebel. Read 2 Kings 9:30-35. Are you a born again child of God? If yes, I want you to be rest assured that God is with you. He is with you to deliver you and show himself strong in your life.
Please take some time to read and meditate on the following verses of scriptures: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.  In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.  Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.  Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.  No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 54:10, 14-17.
You will be far from oppression, from fear and terror in the mighty name of Jesus.
Every gang up of the enemy against you shall not stand in the mighty name of Jesus.
And of course, no weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you have the right to condemn every tongue that rise up against you in judgment, in Jesus name.
Let me also add that when God is with us, we tend to enjoy success that defy human explanation. This is well illustrated in Genesis 26:2-3,12-13, “And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:  Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.  And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:  For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.” Isaac sowed in the land, in the midst of the famine, and prospered a hundred fold. The land was dry and unproductive, yet, Isaac prospered a hundred fold. This is beyond human explanation. And it was possible because God was with him. He obeyed God’s instruction not to go down to Egypt. God has not changed, and will never change. If you will obey his voice, and stay out of sin, he will be with you and give you the kind of success that will defy human explanation.
The story of Joseph also illustrates this point. Find time to read the whole of Genesis 39. In this chapter, we see Joseph going through some very tough times in his life, but because God was with him, he excelled and was very successful in all of them. He prospered and brought prosperity into the house of Portipha because God was with him. He also prospered in the prison because God was with him. Let’s read, “And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.  And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.  And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.  And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand… But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.  And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.  The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.” Genesis 39:1-4,21-23
The benefits that come with Emmanuel are limitless. For instance Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” This could be interpreted to mean, when God is with us, nothing shall be impossible. Imagine the endless range of possibilities available to us here. With God on your side, all you have to do is put your imagination to work. In Genesis 11:6 the Bible says, “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” In other words, because they they are united, they will accomplish whatever they have imagined to accomplish. If God can say this about human agreement, what do you think he would say about you agreeing with him? For God to be with you, there must be some level of agreement between both of you. Amos 3:3 say, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The possibilities are endless with anyone that agrees with God, with anyone that commands his presence.
The question then is, in what ways can we agree with God? What must I do to ensure that God is always with me? First, we must understand that God is love. The Bible says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8). Loving one another is a requirement for anyone to claim that he knows God, and you cannot be sure God is with you, if you don’t know him. In John 17:3, Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Knowing that God is love gives eternal life, and puts God on your side. In John 15:13, Jesus speaking about himself said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” God wants his children to emulate him. He wants us to love the brethren just as he had loved us. This is plainly stated in 1 John 3:16-17: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” Love is in action, not in words. If you say you love your brother, show it by action. Love must compel us to give, to forgive, and endure. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Many people claim to love God, but their actions say otherwise.
Love also means keeping God’s commandments. See what Jesus Christ said in John 14:21,23, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him… Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” In case you are not sure what his primary commandment is, read this, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34. Love is key.
Also, we must understand that liars and hypocrites cannot command the presence of God because God is truth. (John 14:6). And Revelation 22:15 makes it clear that liars have no place in the kingdom of God. “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Neither would hypocrites, according to Job 13:16 that say, “ … for an hypocrite shall not come before him.” Avoiding all forms of falsehoods is required for us to command or continue to keep his presence. God is truth, it therefore makes perfect sense that honesty, sincerity and integrity be the watchwords of anyone who desires to command his presence.
Another character of God we must emulate in order to command his presence is His mercy. God is merciful. Ephesians 2:4 says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,”. The presence of God is not compatible with a mean and merciless spirit. Therefore, we do ourselves huge favor when we are kind and merciful to people. Proverbs 11:17 succinctly puts it this way, “The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.” And in case anyone is still doubting the wisdom in being merciful, read Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Let me also add that a cruel spirit will not only repel the presence of God, it will attract His wroth. See what Jesus said about the unmerciful servant: “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” Matthew 18:32-35.
Let me conclude by saying that one other very significant thing we must do in order to attract and keep the presence of God is evangelism, or soul winning. God is absolutely committed to being with anyone engaged in evangelism and soul winning. Mark 16:20 says, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Evangelism and soul winning are in my opinion, the most practical ways we can command God’s presence. God is always present to confirm his word with miracles, signs and wonders, when we go about preaching and teaching people about him.
It is important to know also that, God is committed to blessing soul winners. The Bible says, “…How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15. Soul winning opens our heavens as well; our prayer lives are far more effective when we are soul winners. See what Jesus said in John 15:16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” In other words, if you want your prayers to be answered without delays, apply soul winning.
When you make yourself available for soul winning, you are making yourself available to God to reconcile the world through you. See what apostle Paul wrote to the brethren at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 5:19-20, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Imagine being an ambassador of heaven, not the United States, and you will get a glimpse of the blessedness of a soul winner.
And, let me also add that, the benefits of being a soul winner does not end here on earth, they transcend our existence on earth. Please read this, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3. Soul winning is the ultimate act of wisdom, it is the one thing that guarantees your glory in eternity, which is the primary purpose of Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus said, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” The purpose of Emmanuel, God with us, shall be accomplished in your life in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen!