His Name Shall Be Called (#1 in a 4-part series)
Forrest Gump died and went to heaven. Of course, he’s met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter himself.
St. Peter says, "Well Forrest, before I let you in, you’ll need to pass an entrance exam...”
Forrest responds "Nobody ever told me about any exam. Sure hope the test ain't too hard; life was a big enough test as it was."
St. Peter goes on, "Yes, I know Forrest, but the test I have for you is only three questions...”
1. What days of the week begin with the letter T? Forrest said, “Shucks, that one's easy. That'd be Today and Tomorrow." The Saint's eyes open wide and he exclaims, "Forrest! That's not what I was thinking, but... you do have a point though, and I guess I didn't specify, so I give you credit for that answer.
2. How many seconds are there in a year? "Now that one's harder," says Forrest, "But I guess the only answer can be twelve." Astounded St. Peter says,"Twelve!? Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?" Forest says "Shucks, there's gotta be twelve: January second, February second, March second..."
3. What is God's first name? Forrest replied, "Andy." "OK, OK," said a frustrated St.Peter, "I guess I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you came up with the name Andy as the first name of God?" "That was the easiest one of all," Forrest replied “I learned it singing hymns in church...”ANDY WALKS WITH ME, ANDY TALKS WITH ME, ANDY TELLS ME I AM HIS OWN"
“...his name shall be called wonderful counselor. Mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace.”
During the Sundays of Advent, we’ll be taking a look at Isaiah’s prophecy... and the “names” he offers for the coming Messiah. Of course, Isaiah’s “names” are not really “names” at all... they’re attributes.
In the Bible... especially in the O.T., names made a statement - they mean something. They’re basically “self-contained sentences of purpose.”
God is promising a child, a son who will rule, the government shall be upon his shoulder and one of his defining attributes will be Wonderful Counselor.
Students in school have access to a counselor... a person who’s trained, and available to talk, and encourage, and provide resources. A professional who will help guide you along your developmental years.
In college, counselors/or advisors help guide you along your chosen career path... they help you make decisions about classes and serve as a mediator at times, between the college and the student.
Think about it... When you & I walk through difficulties, and challenges in our lives, even just day to day concerns... we often need to talk things out, don’t we? We seek advice... information... guidance... counsel.
We look to others (family, friends, trusted co-workers) when we need help or advice... when we need wisdom on what to do, or where to go, how to act.
In so many different ways... we need and seek a counselor.
And that need for counsel always involves a degree of humility, because to admit that we need help... is a challenge at times. It goes against just about everything we’re taught as American, with our self-made, “I-can-do-it-myself” sensibilities.
Of course, in seeking counsel, in seeking the advice and help of others... we’re acknowledging... that at times... we’re prone to do things that are not wise. We are prone to act in ways that we later regret. And so we want to make wise, good decisions.
Of course, sometimes that counsel is not always very good.
I’ve been given counsel before, that I listened to and acted upon - only to find out it wasn’t very good advice. Now that’s not to blame it on the counselor, but the reality is even the best counsel in this world is still not perfect.
Other times... many times... we don’t really want counsel at all... we just want affirmation that what we want to say (or do) is correct. We’ve already settled on what we plan to do - we just want it “rubber stamped.” We seek out an “echo” chamber... voices that sound like ours... people who think like us. No challenge. No questions. Just agreement.
Jesus is not that voice.
Isaiah is promising a wonderful, honest, truthful, perfect, reliable counselor. This is who Jesus is. He is the one who helps us, as we humble ourselves before him.
Jesus is God in the flesh, counseling, leading, guiding, directing our lives, influencing our decisions according to that which is good and right and holy.
And if we’re honest: Jesus is exactly what we need. We need a Counselor who will test us... and push us... and inspire us... to be better than we could ever hope to be on our own! A wonderful counselor who places upon our lives... a the high calling that comes “hand in glove” with being a child of God.
If Jesus’ Words never challenge you - I wonder if it’s Jesus you’re listening to?
While professional counselors can be an important part of our support system during difficult times in our life, the word Isaiah uses for “counselor” means much more. In this context, the word counselor would be better translated as “strategist,” more like someone with the capacity for planning a military strategy than a therapist.
Jesus is a strategist that is more extraordinary than we can comprehend or understand because he sees the big picture that I cannot.
All those times in my life when I don’t know where to turn, when I am confused, troubled or looking for answers... thanks to the Wonderful Counselor - I never walk alone.
As I seek his wisdom, the answer may come as that still small voice in my spirit, in the wise words of a friend, in the discovery of the perfect scripture or maybe in the strength to endure a situation in which the answer is still unknown to me. With that wisdom, comes the incomprehensible realization that I am never alone.
And so Jesus, God in the flesh is the wonderful counselor who comes to show us that his ways are better than our ways. His thoughts are better than our thoughts. His wisdom is far higher, better, more beneficial, more beautiful than our wisdom.
So we look to Jesus, as our Wonderful Counselor... trusting that He will lead us in the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We follow his guidance... His Word... as we listen to His Spirit... over and above all the voices, and opinions of this world... knowing that His way, is holy, right, and good. It’s the best way.