Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Often it seems like people look at the Bible and see two different versions of God, the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament, as if they were two completely different Gods who could not be one in the same. But God never changes. He is now as He was when time began. And He will be the same in the future as He is now. So if God never changes, why does He seem so different in the Old Testament from the God of love visible in the New Testament?
Jesus is God with us. Jesus is all of God in human form walking among His people. Could it be that what causes us to be unable to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with Jesus in the New is that there was such a vast distance between man and God in the Old? And does that distance caused by sin lead us to forget that God is love because we had to also see that God hates sin and has to judge it?
God walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden before the fall with the same kind of sweet fellowship we can have with Him after we are saved, but then sin severed that relationship. When sin stands between us and God, He will appear so different to us than when we are reconciled to Him and standing in Christ’s righteousness before Him. When we are far from Him, it may seem that He doesn’t love us or that He is punishing us, when perhaps He is just using certain things to get our attention and draw us to Him. We have to get to that place where we recognize our own sinfulness and our separation from God before we can be united with Him through Christ’s sacrifice. Why would we be willing to accept a Savior when we don’t even think we need one?
There is a desire deep within us, though it is not always recognized as such, to be near to God. For years the nation of Israel had fallen into pagan rituals and idol worship, trying to get up close to some deity. Down through the ages, people have been longing for a relationship with a higher being and seek to satisfy that desire in many different ways. But nothing can compare to the true and living God who came to dwell among His people in the form of Jesus Christ. And how amazing is this truth—God came to us. God is with us. He closed the gap and removed what separated us from Himself. He came to save us, and He dwells in our hearts when we know Him as our Savior.