This is the first post in a four-part Advent series. Check back next week for the second post.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9:6, emphasis added
Following a prophecy of war, destruction, darkness, and gloom for the people of Israel, Isaiah gives a prophecy of hope. The Israelites would suffer much distress, but not forever.
“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. … The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” -Isaiah 9:1-2
A light was coming, and it would come in the form of a child. Believers know this child was Jesus—the Messiah, the Savior of the world—and the first title Isaiah gave Him was “Wonderful Counselor.”
This title set the tone for how the Savior—who would carry the government on His shoulders—would lead and deliver His people: with wisdom.
The Wise and Wonderful Counselor
“This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.” -Isaiah 28:29, ESV
This child was to be wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom. Jesus displayed this during His ministry as he amazed the masses with His teachings.
“Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked.” -Matthew 13:54
The Israelites in Isaiah’s time could only imagine the kind of wonderful counsel this Savior would give. When Jesus finally came, it was clear that His wisdom was immeasurable, beyond what any normal human could fathom. He spoke with an authority the people had never heard before (Mark 1:22, 27).
And when the Pharisees and others tested Him or tried to trick Him, Jesus’ words silenced them. No one could surpass His wisdom.
“Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor” -Isaiah 40:13
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’” -Romans 11:33-34
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” -Psalm 32:8
The Lord’s counsel is not only wonderful because of His infinite wisdom; it is wonderful because this omniscient God is loving enough to counsel His children. He does not have to share His wisdom with us, and yet He chooses to guide and instruct us so that we may have an abundant life in Him.
The Israelites, who had fallen into sin again and again, were promised a Counselor who would guide them and show them the right path. But the Counselor is not exclusive to the nation of Israel. He has been given to all who choose to follow Him.
The promised child of Isaiah 9 governs with wisdom and lovingly counsels the ones who seek Him. This Advent season, rejoice in the tender counsel of the child born to us.
“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.” -Psalm 73:24