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! (Isaiah 9:6–7 NLT)
In one of the early Bugs Bunny cartoons, Elmer Fudd is unsuccessfully hunting the eponymous rabbit when Bugs breaks the fourth wall to speak to the viewer. While motioning toward Fudd, he says one word: “Nimrod.” Bugs is sarcastically comparing Elmer Fudd to the renowned hunter from Genesis 10, but instead most young viewers only grasped that Bugs was making fun of Fudd, so very quickly the word nimrod moved from meaning “hunter” to “idiot” in American English.
This kind of sudden or slow change in a word’s meaning is known as semantic drift. Nearly every word in the English dictionary has shifted in meaning over the centuries—sometimes slightly and other times very wildly. One form of semantic drift is semantic bleaching, the weakening of a word’s meaning over time. Wonderful is one of the words that has undergone this type of shift. This word that once referred to something that inspired a true sense of awe is now used to express something that
is extremely good. The Hebrew word in Isaiah 9:6 translated into English as wonderful also carries this sense of deep awe. Jesus is a counselor—a source of wisdom—who not only inspires wonder in all who know Him but who is also the source of many wonderful and miraculous deeds.
This Jesus described in Isaiah 9 is the same Jesus who talked with the religious teachers in the temple when He was 12, causing them to be “amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:47). He is also the same Jesus we have access to today when we pray and seek God’s guidance in our lives; He is still our Wonderful Counselor.
Dedicate time today to sitting in the presence of Jesus—to “look full in His wonderful face”—before seeking His counsel in the areas of your life that trouble you or where you are struggling for direction or wisdom.