Advent Study: Wonderful Counselor
For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
So here we go! Let's dig into our first name! Wonderful Counselor.
After reading the verse in my bible, looking through the different translations on biblehub.com and skimming the cross-references, I looked up the definitions via the Lexicon on biblehub.com and then on Google.
Wonderful פֶּ֠לֶא (pe·le) Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6382: A miracle
Google: Inspiring, delight, pleasure, extremely good, marvelous.
Counselor יוֹעֵץ֙ (yō·w·’êṣ) Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3289: To advise, to deliberate, resolve
Google: A person training to give guidance on problems.
The Google definition of a counselor is what I go to first. It makes me think how often we look to others, especially someone who is trained, to give guidance on a specific topic or area of struggle.
Looking to others for wisdom and advice is something God has called each of us into through community and discipleship. It’s something he demonstrated in his life with the disciples who were always turning to him for help with specific challenges or needs.
I have been in desperate places in need of counsel and help. When those around me failed, I became desperate to look outside the body of believers I was walking with at the time, to a licensed Christian counselor. I was so desperate, I just need someone, anyone, to give guidance on how to make it through what I was going through.
While I never did find a Christian counselor to help, I look back on that season with pain today because I was in a desperate place and felt like those who I needed most weren’t there for me. However, God revealed hope in the name of Jesus as a Wonderful Counselor that has helped to restore my heart.
God reminded me I have a Wonderful Counselor who will never fail me and who will always be there for me.
Looking at Strong’s definition of the word wonderful, I see it uses only one word, miracle.
When I look at Jesus, I see just that. A miracle. Jesus was Born of a virgin and cleansed the world of its sin.
Jesus came to this word as a miracle with a mission. A mission to reunite us with Him so He could reside in us -- the miracle of miracles.
So what was His mission?
To live a life obedient to the command of God because he knew it would lead to eternal life. Don’t take my word for it, here are Jesus’ words in the book of John.
For I have not spoken on my own, but the Father himself who sent me has given me a command to say everything I have said. I know that his command is eternal life. So the things that I speak, I speak just as the Father has told me.
John 12:49-50 CSB
As one who only speaks the words of His father, I think it’s safe to say Jesus’ training in knowing the right words to say is as good as it can ever get.
When we look at the words of Jesus in the Bible, we can have confidence in knowing the whose Jesus chose were the perfect ones.
The words of God are all Jesus uses when navigating his life on earth and are the only words he'd use to speak into our lives today.
I think we can easily wish Jesus was alive today. We'd like to have an hour of his time each week to help us navigate our problems knowing he'd tell us the perfect way to go.
Yet, if we look at the words of Jesus, he tells us this isn't what is best for us.
Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you.
John 16:7 CSB
So while Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor we are in an even better position with the Counselor we do have today. Who is this counselor Jesus speaks of in this verse? Again, going to the words of Jesus.
The counselor, the Holy Spirit, whose the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
John 14:26 CSB
As we learned in the prior verse, everything Jesus told them was the words of God.
So for us, we hold in our hands the words of God in the form of the Bible, and we carry his words in our soul through the work of The Holy Spirit.
After reading the book, The Forgotten God by Francis Chan, I had a new found respect for The Holy Spirit. It honestly changed my life opening my eyes, and illuminating my heart to how I was living a life dull to the person and work of The Holy Spirit in my life.
The Holy Spirit will be one of the guiding topics in my posts to come in the new year so stay tuned for that. But to keep focused on the focus for this post, I’m led to the following words of Jesus further on in the book of John.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.
John 16:13 CSB
So we know Jesus only says the words of the Father, now we know the Holy Spirit also speaks what He hears as well, words that guide us into all truth and reveal what is to come.
So when I think about the Spirit guiding me into all truth, it’s not His words but God’s words. Which means the language of The Holy Spirit are the words of the Bible, and I think of this verse in 2 Timothy:
All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16 CSB
When I think of what I need from a counselor, it's that I want to be equipped for whatever I'm facing.
However, it’s when I’ve reached the end of myself and have reached a desperate time that I’m ready to reach out for help.
This verse also helps me see that what I have before me may not look good, but when living a life on mission for Jesus, even in the hard and ugly places it's still good work.
God desires us to walk out each step with a counselor to be fully equipped. Not just turning to him when we’ve reached the end of ourselves.
God calls us to live each day at the end of ourselves, dependent on The Holy Spirit. I find this best described in the following verse:
So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Romans 8:12-13 CSB
This verse then led me to the following verse in Romans:
For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.
Romans 15:4 CSB
I once heard it explained, man can live without food for forty days, water for three days and eight minutes without air, but a man can only survive one second without hope.
As we realize God has created us to depend on hope and to live each moment connected to The Counselor, we shouldn't be surprised people are turning to counselors for their hope.
It’s unfortunate that we don't have access to more counselors who find their hope in Jesus, to point us to the Wonderful Counselor, to help us navigate hard places.
However, in this season I’ve learned, it wasn’t professional counseling I was looking for, but discipleship to help me navigate hard places. And even without the help of someone specific, I do still have hope and have access to an even better counselor!
The world we live in is desperate for the message of hope because it is God we created us so that we can’t survive without it. He is also a perfect Father who provides the way to hope no matter the situation or circumstances.
So as our society wrestles through the impact of what it looks like to look for hope when God isn’t the provider, we can all think of ways this leads to devastation. There are so many terrifying headlines with the names of people we cherish who are gone too soon because they lost hope or are victims of someone who lost hope.
So if the words of God are intended to give us hope, and hope is what keeps each of us alive, what is hope?
Hope ἐλπίδα (elpida) Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 1680: Hope, expectation, trust, confidence. From a primary elpo; expectation or confidence.
Google: a feeling or expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
God came to earth, humbling himself, setting aside his identity to give us ours. He paid the ultimate price so that He can reside in us to always bring us to a place of hope through his words and wisdom that reside in us.
The Wonderful Counselor leads us into hope so that we can live out every good and perfect thing he has planned for our life.
So the question I have for you…
How’s your hope?
In this season, are you working hard to hold onto hope?
It's easy for this season to become hopeless for a multitude of reasons. Turning what should be full of joy into something that’s painfully hard.
If these days are hard and you’re desperate for hope and someone to help you make it through this season, turn to Jesus who is your Wonderful Counselor and to an even better Counselor, The Holy Spirit.
Jesus provides the way for you to have confidence and trust in this place. He can take whatever you’re facing and return hope, and restore joy because both of those are not found in circumstance but in Jesus.
I’d love for you to share how the name of Jesus as the Wonderful Counselor impacts your life and how your hope is in this season.
Click here to study the next name of Jesus — Mighty God.
Please note, suicide is a serious topic that goes far deeper than the simplicity of this post.
If you need to talk to someone right away, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
I believe chemical imbalances and true hopelessness is a serious topic that many are facing. The content of this post is in no way intended to make light of this nor intended to provide counsel for those navigating this dark and difficult place.
I do believe God is a great healer and has power over all mental illness. Healing may not come at this moment, but God desires us all to submit our brokenness to Him and look to Him to lead the way. Please reach out to someone who can help you in your present darkness and know that Jesus is ever present and willing to lead the way.