August 3, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
The prophet Isaiah once spoke of a child who would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Christians celebrate the truth that Jesus was this child. Jesus makes God known to us in many different ways. Through Jesus we can receive God’s counsel and benefit from God’s might. We can know the love that our Abba, Father has for us. And we can experience the peace that comes through Christ alone.
I can’t read this passage from Isaiah without hearing echoes of the glorious chorus from Handel’s Messiah: “For unto us a child is born . . . .” I envision a booming choir and a sanctuary decked out for Christmas. What a wonderful picture!
Yet, it’s doubtful that Isaiah envisioned such a scene when he proclaimed the hopeful words of this passage. (Well, okay, it’s not just doubtful, but impossible.) The original context of this passage was quite different from our Christmas celebrations. Most of Isaiah 9 expands upon the theme of God’s judgment of Israel for her unfaithfulness. The first few verses of the chapter, however, offer a hopeful vision of the future. Someday a descendant of David will rule over Israel, bringing lasting peace and justice to earth.
This Davidic king is given names that associate him strongly with God. No wonder the early Christians saw in this passage a clear prophecy of Christ! The future ruler will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Though we could spend plenty of time unpacking the historical and theological meaning of each of these titles, I’d rather approach this passage today in a more personal way. I wonder how I need to know Christ today. I also wonder how you need to know him. Do you need him to be a wonderful and wise counselor, one who can guide you in your work, your family, and every other context of life? Or do you need Christ to be mighty, a source of strength and healing in your life? Perhaps you need him to be like a faithful father, whose love for you is forever firm. Or do you need Christ to give peace to your troubled heart, or to your family, or to your workplace? The good news is that Jesus Christ is what you and I need, and so much more.
My spiritual director – a wise Christian with whom I talk and pray each month – often intercedes for me with the words of Isaiah 9:6. Thus, when I read this passage from Isaiah today, I hear not only Handel’s Messiah echoing in my memory, but also Duane’s prayer that I know the Lord as my “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” As I conclude this devotion, I am praying for you and all others who read it, that you might experience God in a way that meets you right at the point of your need. May Christ be present in your life today as your “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Which of the titles for the “son” touches your heart today: Wonderful Counselor? Mighty God? Everlasting Father? Prince of Peace?
Why does this particular title resonate with you?
In which of these titles would you like to know God today?
Choose one of the titles from Isaiah 9:6. Reflect on this title today. Meditate upon it. Pray to the Lord using this title. Know God today in this way.
Gracious Lord Jesus, I praise you today as my Wonderful Counselor. Through your Word and Spirit, you guide my steps, helping me to live rightly. Be my Wonderful Counselor today!
I praise you because you are Mighty God, El Shaddai. You are Immanuel, God with us. Through you I can do all things. Be my Mighty God today!
I praise you because in you I experience the Everlasting Father. You reveal the very heart of God, the love of God that will never let me go. Be my Everlasting Father today, I pray!
I praise you because you are the Prince of Peace. Because of your sacrifice on the cross, I can experience peace with God and peace with others. Be my Prince of Peace today!
All praise be to you, Lord Jesus …Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Peace and Prosperity (Isaiah 9ff.)
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.