Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's in a Name? Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6–7 (NLT-SE)
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
Saturday, I watched the Republican debates. I have to tell you, the situation in the current political landscape looks dismal. You listen to conservative media and you would think that Obama is the Anti-Christ. You listen to liberal media and you think that conservatives are uncaring extreme capitalist. Each party works hard to demonize the other.
When you watch the debates, it’s amazing to me how each candidate presents himself/herself as the perfect candidate, able to answer any question that is thrown at them. We are creating an expectation that no one person can live up to.

We don’t just want a president that can fix the financial mess we are in, bring peace around the world, bring justice to all, cares for the poor and doesn’t carry around character baggage. We want our future president to be an expert on foreign affairs, domestic policies, military prowess and economic solutions.
Wow – that’s why I am not running for president.
More than 2,500 years ago, the prophet Isaiah told of One who would be the hope of mankind, the long awaited Messiah who would establish an eternal kingdom based on justice and righteousness.
A child would soon be born and named “Immanuel” (meaning “God is with us”) because he would serve as living proof of God’s ability to deliver Judah from her enemies. In chapter nine, there are four titles given to this Immanuel: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

The Wonderful Counselor
The English definition of a counselor implies a therapist, someone you can talk to and pour out your trouble. Wisdom is assumed when the term counselor is used. Our definition also implies that this person would be someone to give advice like a lawyer, or stand with you in court – someone who can bring reconciliation.
Go back to Isaiah 9:2 and you will see that the people who were walking in darkness were promised a great light, which is good news for people who are finding the Christmas season a depressing time of the year. According to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience the highest incidence of depression, but looking to Jesus brings a new, fresh view on life.
The Hebrew thought of “counselor” is one who seeks God on another’s behalf to bring about a resolve. Our context would include someone who is a military genius – Someone who can form and execute a strategy. Because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, we need someone who can go before us in battle.
Jesus was not just given the title of “Counselor”, but “Wonderful Counselor.” In scripture this regularly means ‘supernatural’. If His name is “Wonderful,” then there will be nothing dull about His reign! 

The Mighty God
This literally means the "Mighty Almighty," or "The Conquering God," or "The Strong One." If you are going to have a king, you want someone who can execute his wisdom. As the Mighty God, He has the power to execute His wise plans.
Jesus is someone who can break the yoke of oppression. Verse three says that He will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. He will break the oppressor’s rod, just as He did when you destroyed the army of Midian.”
Jesus is someone with authority to make a difference and the backbone to follow through. He is not intimidated or manipulated.
Are you looking for a strength resume?
He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
He is the Alpha and Omega - the Beginning and the End.
He is One who put the sun, moon, and stars in place.
He is the Strong Tower
He is a Deliverer
He is a Rock and a Fortress
He is the Way Maker
He is the Healer
He is the Provider
He is Lord over Everything
We could go on and on. Scripture is full of God’s attributes and characteristics, but I think you get the point. In Him we live and breathe and have our being. Can you think of a more secure place than with God, the creator?
To whom will we compare Him?  Is there anyone like Him?  As Babbie Mason sings on one of her albums, “He’s a great big God, give Him great big praise!”

The Everlasting Father
If we are going to have a King that is full of wisdom and full of strength, we will want it to be lasting. Think of how the nation of Israel shifted in policy and religious expression. They would serve God, then they would offer sacrifices on the altars of Baal. Think of how America has shifted over the years through tolerance and moral decay. We think that character doesn’t matter, but character changes everything. Chemistry may get you the platform, but character will keep you.
The Messiah described in Isaiah nine would be everlasting.
“Father” signifies the paternal benevolence of the perfect Ruler over a people whom he loves as his children. Think of the honorable father figure. He is provider. He sets the boundaries and protects them. He is just in his decision in matter pertaining to the kids. People who are living in shaky times want someone they can depend on – a father-figure, if you will. “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.”

The Prince of Peace
The Messiah’s final title, “Prince of Peace,” indicates that the primary benefit of His military successes and benevolent rule will be peace and prosperity for His people. People all over the world today lack a sense of peace. They look for the solution to this problem in money, relationships and power, but lasting peace can only come through a child, the child Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
In Hebrew, a prince the head of something, much like a captain over a Navy ship. The vessel is under his command. The prince is the person who is responsible for securing and maintaining something - in this case peace. The phrase Peace, or “Shalom” means health, security, tranquility or welfare. Used as a greeting to ask about a persons well being, good condition, success, comfort; peace.  Shalom is clearly depicted as a satisfied condition, an unconcerned state of peacefulness. It is a harmonious state of soul and mind, both externally and internally. It is more than the absence of strife. It expresses completeness, harmony, and fulfillment.
Ephesians 2:14, 15 says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace.”
The first order of His peace is to bring us to a relationship with God. The second order if for us to experience peace while on earth. Only He can do this, He is the prince, only He has the authority. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What Title Does Jesus Have in Your Life?
Are you confused, lonely or need wisdom? He is the Wonderful Counselor.
Are you in need of strength? He is the Mighty God.
Are you in need of security? He is the Everlasting Father.
Are you in need of peace? He is the Prince of Peace
Whatever you need, Jesus provides it for us.

I’m proud to vote in the next election, but my hope is not placed in our political system, it is found in The Messiah, Jesus Christ.

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