“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6
God called the prophet Isaiah to be His spokesman in a time of great darkness. Yet, it is in this book and in the context of condemnation and impending judgment that God offers hope!
In chapters 7–12, Isaiah prophesies of deliverance to come for God’s people through a coming Messiah. This came just before the prophet warned about trials that were coming for Judah.
The prophet rebuked the Israelites, calling on them to commit their ways to the Lord first and not to earthly kings. Isaiah describes how the people turned to their pagan practice of seeking mediums who specialized in trying to contact the dead. He confronts the irony of seeking counsel from the dead to find out about the future rather than looking to the Law given by God Himself.
Isaiah boldly declares that there is deliverance for those who trust in God and walk in His ways. He tells of a bright light that is coming that will dispel the darkness—the Messiah Himself. “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). Then, in chapter nine verse six, he says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest upon his shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
Today, we will look at the first of the four names describing the Messiah: Wonderful Counselor.
Webster defines the noun “wonderful” as “a marvel or thing of wonder causing amazement.” As an adjective, “wonderful” means “exceptional, distinguished, or without equal.” Wonder is the root word, and it most often expresses great joy.
Counselor means one who advises or consults. The Messiah, unlike any earthly king, has no need for anyone to advise Him. He possesses all knowledge, always knowing and giving the right solution for any problem.
Dr. Ian Jones, in The Counsel of Heaven on Earth: Foundations for Biblical Christian Counseling, states:
“The term for counselor in Hebrew (yaats) is a more expansive term than the counseling we associate with formal psychotherapy. When connected with the term wonderful (Hebrew pali), the concept takes on an even more supernatural force. The Lord’s counsel is so perfect, so exceptional, and so matchless that no human language is capable of describing it” (p.94).
This name for Messiah is a precious name to me personally. As a Christian counselor, I have been called by God to serve others through counseling. It is a responsibility and a privilege, one that I do not take lightly.
Clients come to get help with something that distresses them. It may be a broken or conflictual relationship, some loss that is life-changing, or other things. Whatever the issue is, I know that the person is seeking real, practical help. The process often calls for change, whether in patterns, in acting on a decision to forgive or to be reconciled, or in a new perspective on a situation.
Counselees come with expectations that the counselor will be attentive, genuinely caring, knowledgeable, and will provide guidance that will result in comfort, clarity, and peace.
This is just a brief picture of the work a counselor does with a counselee. I am grateful that God uses those He calls—pastors, Christian counselors, and lay leaders in the Church—to walk alongside people who are wrestling with problems in life. God’s Word tells us that in the abundance of counselors, there is victory (Proverbs 11:14).
Consider now, our Wonderful Counselor. I confess I do not have adequate words to fully describe the work our Messiah does in the hearts and lives of His people! Like the psalmist David, we often go to God in distress. We all experience times when we do not have the answers to life’s biggest problems.
Isaiah tells us by this descriptive name that the Messiah is the essence, the embodiment of all wisdom, truth, light, and hope. He knows everything about us (Psalm 139). He loves us deeply and sacrificially. He has the words we need.
This is the Good News! The Messiah came as a babe in Bethlehem. He is God’s greatest gift and hope for all mankind. God pierced through the darkness with the light of the world! This season, may we pursue Him and, in reverent awe, give thanks to God for our Wonderful Counselor.
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Questions for Thought
- Do you know this Wonderful Counselor? If you’ve not trusted Him as your personal Savior and Lord, humbly confess your sin. Ask Him to forgive you and to help you put Him first in your life. He will then be your ever-present Counselor.
- If you have, thank God for revealing Himself to you in Christ Jesus and in the Scriptures and for faith to trust Him. What is the significance of this name for Messiah to you? How have you relied on His counsel?
Dear God, I praise You for who You are—the only true God, Creator of all. Thank You for sending Your son, Jesus Messiah, to us. Wonderful Counselor, I trust You to lead me. Thank You for promising to guide me with Your righteous right hand. I desire Your counsel above all others. When I stray, show me my wrong thoughts and actions. Help me to have a repentant heart and teachable spirit. I want to discern and do Your will. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You. Amen.
As you prepare for Christmas, seek to know Christ on a more intimate and honest level. He is the one who formed you and knows your every thought and need (Psalm 139). He doesn’t want you to rely only on your own understanding and walk in darkness or confusion. Ask Him to speak into your situation, providing answers, healing, and the power to take the right action!
Pathways Counseling Center Director
Pamela R. Greene is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor with over 20 years of experience in counseling individuals, couples, and children. Her expertise is abuse issues, depression and anxiety, premarital/marital, and play therapy. Pam also oversees DivorceCare, GriefShare, and several other support groups as the Director of Pathways Counseling Center. Her professional associations include the American Association of Christian Counselors, Christian Counselors of Texas, and the local chapter of C. A. P. S.
Pam and her late husband have three grown children who all serve in helping professions. She enjoys healthy cooking, speed walking, and traveling.