A popular way businesses try to drum up sales in the slow summer months is to hold a "Christmas in July" sale. Many nonprofits have jumped on this bandwagon, using "Christmas in July" as an opportunity to ask for donations.
While I am not trying to sell you something, nor am I asking for your money (we just did that through the Building Lives campaign), I am also going to jump on the "Christmas in July" bandwagon here on the Riverwood blog. For the month of July, we are going to look at the four titles given to the Messiah in the famous verse of Isaiah 9:6 so often used at Advent. So even though it isn't December, take a moment to re-read these famous words...
"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6, ESV)
In the coming weeks, we will see how Jesus is the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. But before we get to those mind-boggling titles given to a baby, we need to look at the first title - Wonderful Counselor.
When a person visits a counselor/therapist, he or she is usually there for some insight that will explain the past, correct behaviors in the present, and/or give hope for the future. The understanding is the counselor might have enough experience and/or knowledge to give advice or ask the right questions that will change the life of the counseled.
This is why kings and presidents have advisors. It is why professional athletes have coaches. It is why some people seek out mentors. And it's why self-help books continue to sell well year-in-year-out. No one has all the knowledge they need for every situation. They need insight from someone or something that has more wisdom than them that will aid in life.
When God said through the pen of Isaiah that this "son" who would be "given" would be the "Wonderful Counselor," the Hebrew word He used for counselor can also be translated as "strategist, adviser, planner." In other words, this Child would grow to have such insight into life that he would be wiser than Solomon and become the most gifted strategist the world had ever seen. Isaiah restates this idea in chapter 28, verse 29 as being "wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom."
So if you lack wisdom, unsure of what to do, "let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5) In other words, turn to the Wonderful Counselor, the Extraordinary Strategist, and let Him guide you in the way you should go.
But keep in mind, this doesn't mean you should ignore trusted mentors, teachers, friends, parents, and such in order to listen only to Jesus. Rather, ask Jesus the Wonderful Counselor to give you wisdom, but be ready to gain that wisdom through whatever God may choose to use to give you insight. He might simply give you an inner sense of what to do. Or He might speak to you through the Scriptures, a sermon, a song, a book, a friend, a parent, or through an earthly counselor.
The point is to let Jesus and the Triune God be your first and foremost trusted counselor. For He is Wonderful!
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