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The Ninth Day of Advent – December 11

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Fourth century B. C. philosopher and social troll, Diogenes of Sinope, instructed that upon his death he be buried “face down”. When asked for an explanation, Diogenes replied: “Soon the world will be turned upside down and then I shall be right side up.”

Do you ever feel that the world has been turned upside down? Read the news! Look around! It does feel at times that up is down and down is up; right is wrong and wrong is right. God’s prophet Isaiah grieved his upside-down world in which people “call evil good and good evil”, and “put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20). It must have felt to him an Orwellian world of doublespeak as he scolds those “who are wise in their own eyes…who acquit the guilty for a bribe” (Isaiah 5:21, 23). It is the culture that the psalmist mourns: “They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. They set their mouths against heaven, and their tongues range over the earth” (Psalm 73:8-9). But Isaiah sternly warns the nation that people “will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness” (Isaiah 8:22).

As God tears down that He may heal, and strikes down that He may bind up (Hosea 6:1), so the Lord soon turns Isaiah’s vision to the light of Messiah: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). Isaiah is so heartened by the coming light of Messiah that he actually speaks of the light in the past tense, saying that the people “have seen a great light.” In God’s timetable for the ages, it is as good as done. God promised and it is accomplished!

But how? How does God bring light to a darkened world? It all has to do with a child born for us, whom He names “Wonderful Counselor.” The Hebrew word yo‛etz, translated “Counselor”, has the idea of one who has wisdom to plan, execute policy, and rule effectively (e.g., Isaiah 3:3; 14:24; 19:12; 23:9). Jesus Christ, “Wonderful Counselor”, knows well how to plan and carry forth God’s saving purposes for a fallen and dark world. He who “created all things” and “sustains all things by His powerful word”, will not forsake His creation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:3). He will faithfully wrap up God’s “plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10). Imagine: He who numbers the stars and assigns each a name (Psalm 147:4), will complete His saving purpose for our broken lives.

There is a story about famed English journalist and Christian apologist G. K. Chesterton in the year 1908. The London Times asked him and other notable writers to submit an article answering the question, “What is wrong with the world?” Chesterton replied, sending them the brief answer: “Dear sir, regarding your article, ‘What is wrong with the world?’ I am. Yours truly, G. K. Chesterton.”

God’s putting right the world begins with you and me saying, like Chesterton: “I am.” But we believe that Jesus, through His death and resurrection, has put us right with God (2 Corinthians 5:17-19; Ephesians 2:13-14). God carries out His redemptive mission through us until Christ returns in glory. God will complete what He began in the manger. Jesus is, after all, “Wonderful Counselor,” who perfectly accomplishes in us what He has begun (Philippians 1:6).


O God, our Creator and our Redeemer, You have done for us in Jesus what we could not do for ourselves. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot keep ourselves. We are what is wrong with the world. We delight in knowing You as Savior and Keeper. Even when we ignored You, resisted You, and rebelled, You came seeking. Open wide our hearts to Your love and forgiveness. So brighten our lives with the light of Jesus that we shine for You. With humble thanks we pray. Amen and amen.

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