By Brenda Black
“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
Most of us have one given name at birth. Sure, friends might add a nickname as we grow and take on personality traits. We might become “Zoomer” or “Slam Dunk” to those who know us best. Of course, parents may grant us the “I'll be known by this till my death” pet name such as “Tubs” or “Critter” and use it as a term of endearment until we start dating. Then it becomes leverage to insure their teen observes curfew to the minute. Some will change or lengthen their moniker upon marriage. But, for the most part, we legally and socially claim one name.
Jesus, who endured all things and became all things in order that we might receive redemption, also related to all of mankind by being called a host of names. Though God's angel Gabriel instructed Mary and Joseph to give their Son the name Jesus, He was also called the Christ and the Messiah. Those names and many others defined the roles He fulfilled in history and described His divine qualities. This Christmas season, I think it's fitting to take a closer look at the names Isaiah prophesied of His King: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. When we get to know Him better, we'll want to worship not just the babe in the manger, but the King on the throne.
Wonderful Counselor - The name immediately strikes awe by its very nature. It is the name that best defined the Christ's arrival – miraculous, a marvel. Wonderful indicates something unusual or extraordinary. The Key Word Study Bible explains that, except for one reference in Scripture, every time this word is used it “appears in the context of God's words or deeds.” His name is truly Wonderful. His ways are amazingly Wonderful. His gifts and power and grace and judgment are Wonderful!
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.” (1 Chronicles 16:8-12)
Now some might think winning a $254 million Powerball lottery is wonderful. I suppose it sounds pretty grand, but has anyone noticed that the owners of the ticket only took about a 100 million home after taxes. Kind of kicks the marvelous out of the equation a bit. And do those who plunked down hundreds of dollars for their chance at the ticket still think it is so amazing when the wealthy walked away more wealthy and those desperate for a miraculous break more poor for their investment. No, winning a lottery is not all that wonderful in the big scheme of things. It's fleeting. It is financially complicated. It can become a snare and often leaves people worse off than those who never raked in the mega bucks, after they squander their unexpected fortune.
The Wonderful Counselor has much to say about where we place our trust. It's not in money. And that brings us to the second part of this glorious and marvelous name – Counselor. The Psalmist David explains it this way in the lyrics to his thirty-second Psalm. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.” (Psalm 32:8-10)
When you think you don't have the answers, the Wonderful Counselor rises from within and leads the way to profound truth. “...I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” How wonderful!
copyright ~The Word's Out - Brenda Black 2011