“…and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor…”
December 13, 2012 § 4 Comments
We all want advice—but we are often afraid of seeking it. Studies show that, though more Americans than ever are seeking professional counseling of one kind or another, most seek help only as a last resort; ironically, most of the very same people do not want anyone else to know they are seeking counsel! Whenever I ask why those who come to me for counseling haven’t come sooner, the answer ultimately comes down to “I didn’t want to ask for help.” Most people refuse to seek counsel or advice for one main reason: pride. And that is sin.
This prevailing stubborn pride is what leads us often to seek advice from the wrong sources, usually from those who tell us what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear. When Isaiah prophesied about the child who would be called “Wonderful Counselor,” he was preaching to a nation that was seeking counsel from mediums and necromancers—those who claimed to speak to the dead.
Isaiah was incredulous: “…should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19) He was equally passionate about the only source of true counsel, the Lord and his Word: “…To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn” (8:20).
It was into this spiritual night that the prophet spoke these words: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…” (Isaiah 9:2). That darkness would be dispelled by the glorious light of the “son given”—who would be called Wonderful Counselor (9:6). He is “wonderful,” or “marvelous,” because he is beyond human limitation (the same word describes the pre-incarnate Christ in Judges 13:18); as a counselor he is “one who always knows what to do.”
How apt a description of Jesus! As God he is beyond human limitation: “…all things we were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16, 17) As our counselor he always knows what to do, not only because he is the embodiment of divine wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30), but also because he experienced all the frailties and difficulties of human life. We do not have a counselor, then, “who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15, 16).
We need not be ashamed of our need! Instead we must run to the only one who can supply our true need for forgiveness, righteousness, wisdom and power for life: Jesus Christ. What greater expression of the love of God to sinners could there be than to have such a Wonderful Counselor?