Tuesday, January 21, 2014


TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 8:11-9:7

TO CHEW ON: "...And His name shall be called...Counselor" Isaiah 9:6

When we set out on a trip we make sure that we take along a means of finding our way to our destination. Hubby and I still use an old-fashioned map, though for many that has been replaced with a GPS, where an ever-patient invisible voice is the counselor. Whatever means we use, it's essential and comforting to have more counsel about the road ahead than just our own instincts or memory.

As we embark on the journey through 2014, it's similarly comforting to know that one of the names of our Lord Jesus is Counselor. A look at a few Bible references that speak of counsel help shed some light on the heavenly guidance He gives us.

What is the counsel we need?
It is knowledge of the end from the beginning and what pleases God in all that (Isaiah 46:10). It is the stuff of purity, truth and insight (Revelation 3:18). It is advice and insight about lasting, eternal things (Psalm 33:11).

Where do we find it?
Though Proverbs talks about getting input from more than one human counselor (Proverbs 24:6), and Jeremiah implies that prophets can be counselors (though these were false ones - Jeremiah 23:22), God is always acknowledged as the One with the best, reliable counsel: "The Lord of hosts...is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance" (Isaiah 28:29).

In today's focus verse, a "Child" and "Son" is named Counselor. There is a similar reference to a counselor coming from the "Stem of Jesse" in Isaiah 11:2. We believe Isaiah's prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus, who distinguished Himself with wisdom even as a young boy (Luke 2:52).

How do we access this counsel?
If Jesus is our counselor, we can get His counsel by finding out how He lived and what He taught in the Bible. The Gospels are a good place to start. Though they weren't written by Jesus, they are eyewitness accounts of His life and teachings. For a condensed and challenging summary of things He taught, read His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7 / Luke 6:20-49). Of course not only Jesus' reported words and life, but the entire Bible is our guide and life-map (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

This life-map is illuminated to us further by the Spirit of Jesus (the Holy Spirit). Jesus promised that He would bring with Him guidance into truth (John 16:13). We see how the Holy Spirit operated in the New Testament, controlling the movements of disciples like Peter (Acts 10:19,20), directing in the selection of leaders (Acts 13:2), and helping early disciples choose places to bring the Gospel (Acts 16:6)

When we saturate ourselves in Jesus' counsel, God can use other ways of guiding us too. The Psalm-writer speaks of God's counsel coming through his heart instructing him in the night (Psalm 16:7) and of God guiding him with His eye (Psalm 32:8). Do you notice the intimacy of relationship implied? God comes to the counsel-seeker in the quiet hours of the night. He recognizes God's "body language" catching His signals in something as subtle as a shift of eye focus.

Finally, how wonderful to know that God's counsel will keep us on the road that leads to our desired destination: "You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory" Psalm 73:24. 

As we travel through the days of 2014, let's make good use of God's counsel in the Bible and nourish our relationship with the Counselor. As my Bible footnote to Isaiah 9:6 says about "Counsellor":

"Counselor is the name that expresses His ability as a political guide and leader. He is the living Word, the infallible Source of guidance, the inexhaustible Wisdom, the Truth and the Way" - Nathaniel M. Van Cleave,  New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 885 (emphasis mine).

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for being my Counselor. Through this year, help me to hear and adjust my life to Your counsel. Amen.

MORE: "Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer" - by Keith and Kristyn Getty

(From the album "In Christ Alone: New Hymns of Worship and Praise.")

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotes are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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