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Date Text Theme
Dec 2 Isaiah 9:6 “Wonderful Counselor”
“The Wise Messiah”
During election time you often hear the question “who did you vote for?” The usual answer to this includes the person’s name and the reason/s why you voted for them. But what makes a person worthy of your vote? We seem to elect people to their offices so that they will represent us well, while upholding the values that we think are important. There can be great diversity in the values we hold though, especially in the world we live in today. Yet, most people would probably agree that wisdom is one of the key attributes for a leader to possess.
The Bible makes it clear that God’s people, especially their leaders, are to follow his commands and practice justice, mercy, righteousness, and impartiality. In other words, they are to be wise in how they make decisions and live before the Lord. In addition, leaders were to surround themselves with other wise people, or “counselors,” to help guide their thoughts and decrees.
In Isaiah, the prophet looks forward to a time when the king would bring salvation, freedom, peace, and joy, while reigning in righteousness and ruling with justice (Is. 9:2-7; 32:1-2). Although this should have been how all of God’s kings reigned, they often failed miserably. That is part of the reason why the people of Israel and Judah were taken into captivity. Yet, the prophecies in Isaiah ultimately point to, and were fulfilled by, a messianic king. This king, who we come to know as Jesus in the Gospels, was the Messiah. He was born in the little town of Bethlehem almost 700 years after Isaiah's prophecy.
According to Isaiah 9, not only was Jesus the ideal, godly king, he was God! And what was one of his defining attributes? He was, and is, a wonderful counselor who does not need anyone else to advise him. The Hebrew term for “wonderful” can also be understood as “extraordinary,” while the noun “counselor” is associated with the qualities of wisdom, advice, and (good) counsel. Combined, the descriptive "wonderful counselor" is connected with royalty and divinity, and is meant to provide a glimpse into the plan that God has in store to save humanity. Meaning, the Messiah would be the ultimate King, and the one true God, who would rule, reign, and judge the world with perfect wisdom.
We thank God that Jesus truly is the wonderful counselor who came and died for us that we may be forgiven!
Longing for the Warrior-God
In the days of Isaiah, peace was becoming a difficult concept. The political tensions were growing between the surrounding empires, military invasion was becoming more and more inevitable, and God’s people, both in the northern and southern kingdoms, were living unfaithfully. Even worse, the kings of Israel and Judah were becoming increasingly corrupt, so there was little hope for the people. What they needed desperately was a sign from God, some kind of intervention that would change the course of their national trajectory.
Into those dark times, God gave his prophet visions of peace and renewal that revolved around special children being born. And the names of those children were especially important. Whether Shear-Jashub (7:3), Immanuel (7:14), or Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (8:3), the names served as signs of the hope to come. So, it is noteworthy, by the time we get to chapter 9 of Isaiah’s prophecy, that a child was promised, from the line of David (9:7), who would be known by a four-fold name: something often translated as, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6). The titles in the name were less likely to be ascribed to the child himself, and more representative of the God whom the child would serve. And all these titles were directly tied to how Yahweh, the God of Israel, would bring about peace for his people.
The name “Mighty God” demonstrates God’s strength over his enemies. It is used later in Isaiah in reference to how God will bring his people back to himself (10:21), and to his role as a triumphant warrior (42:13). In this way, the peace that God’s people are longing for is only possible if their God is strong enough to defeat their enemies, and if the ruler God raises up is utterly dependent upon him.
Both of these truths are represented for us in Jesus the Christ. In his day, the “mighty God” overthrew the false powers of corrupted governments, Satanic misguidance, and death itself, while Jesus, the King of the Jews, was completely faithful to his heavenly Father. So, this Advent season, may we long for the warrior-God who will one day stamp out all the powers that still oppress us, and may we daily follow him according to the faithfulness of Jesus.
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