Do you need a counselor? An advisor? Life coach? What if you could be confident that such a counselor would give you perfect counsel and tell you what the exact, right decision actually is? Life is about choices. We make hundreds of them each and every day. Some of us will make life-altering decisions in 2017. While all choices are important, some of them are life-directional, like: a spouse, a college, a church, a vocation, a potential divorce, etc. Our society, more than others preceding it, seems to have a love for receiving counsel from all available sources.
Over 2700 years ago, the prophet Isaiah predicted that the child brought forth by the virgin, Immanuel,(Isaiah 7:14) would be known by four names(couplets). The first name that would be descriptive of Immanuel’s nature would be “Wonderful Counselor.”
The English words “counselor” and “advisor” are both good words that translate the original word. Ya’ats meant counsel, strategy and advisement.
The word “wonderful” however doesn’t carry the original flavor as well. We can refer to a wonderful God and a wonderful meal and not really distinguish the difference between the two. The word wonderful in the original is pele(not the soccer star!) which means “astonishment, awe and amazement.” The word is used of the amazing creative and redemptive acts God, alone, performs.(Exodus 15:11;Psalm 77:14). So, this combination name, Wonderful Counselor, means that Immanuel will give amazing, jaw dropping, counsel. Perfect counsel. There will never be one policy or judgment He gives in which there is a better way. Unlike earthly leaders like our President-Elect, He will not need to assemble a cabinet with advisors. This Baby with four names will be a Wonderful Counselor.
That is exactly what happened seven-hundred and forty(or, so) years later! As a twelve year old boy, Immanuel(Jesus), was in the temple discussing the Scriptures with the theologians. During His earthly ministry people were befuddled by his wonderful counsel. “And they were astonished at his teaching for his word possessed authority.”
How do we personally know Immanuel as our Wonderful Counselor?
Submit to your Wonderful Counselor as the only Perfect Counselor: We need to formally resign as the chairman of the board of our human hearts! And, we need to verbalize to the Lord something close to the words of Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
We should acknowledge that we no longer have immediate access to our Wonderful Counselor; we have Someone better! Obviously, we still approach the throne of grace through Immanuel, and we can ask Him personally for wisdom, counsel and advisement anytime that we need it(James 1:5). However, we don’t have the ability to company with Jesus physically any longer like His disciples. But, Jesus said the Holy Spirit in us would actually be better than Jesus with us. One of the major ministries of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, is to remind us of the words of Christ, through our minds and hearts and through the inspiration of the Scriptures.
Wonderful counsel is most often found in plurality. In the family of God, the church, we have access to spiritual leaders(elders), and other Spirit-indwelt believers that know the Word and know us. We should take full advantage of these moments when we are not sure of the mind of the Lord, to seek our Wonderful Counselor through His Body, the Church. Warning: don’t just select counselors that you already know beforehand will agree with and affirm you. Try to select at least one counselor that you suspect might hold a contrary opinion to your own. (check these verses out: Proverbs 11:14; 13:10)
Wonderful counsel requires a workout. Have you ever been guilty of being lazy in decision-making? What I mean is that we are sometimes really quick to say “I prayed about it” and that is supposed to essentially end the discussion regarding our decision. It is good to pray about things! Very good! But, prayer gives us an opportunity to talk to God. Studying, meditating and seeking counsel from the Scriptures and other believers, gives us the privilege of actually hearing from the Wonderful Counselor, not just talking to Him. If I had about $5 for every time I have heard something like, “after much prayer, I have decided to _______________” I think I would be pretty wealthy. Think through the Scriptures when you are making decisions. This builds spiritual muscles. Have some of your trusted counselors help you think through the Bible searching for precepts or principles that might speak to your decision. This approach takes effort and work. But it leads to apprehending the flawless advice of our Wonderful Counselor!
Show Us Christ
Your Word is living light
Upon our darkened eyes
Guards us through temptations
Makes the simple wise
Your Word is food for famished ones
Freedom for the slave
Riches for the needy soul
Come speak to us today
Where else can we go, Lord
Where else can we go
You have the words of eternal life
-Sovereign Grace Music
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