Wonderful Counselor (2)
A REAL TIME PROBLEM
See the Biblical Text Isaiah 8:22-9:2
Mental Disorders Affects Everyone
More than half of U.S. adults have a mental or physical condition that prevents them from working or conducting their usual duties (for example, role disability) for several days each year, and a large portion of those days can be attributed to mental disorders.
But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.
1 Samuel 16:14
King Saul, who reigned in Israel before David, displayed classic characteristics of mental disorder, including wide mood swings and fits of depression and anger. A person can develop such debilitating emotional symptoms for many reasons. In this case, Scripture indicates that “a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled” Saul.
Saul’s heart had turned from God, so God permitted affliction by a spirit of distress—possibly a demonic influence—to occur. Not all mental disorders are a result of direct demonic influence, but like any sickness or disease, the battle for our minds is a result of the fall and Satan’s presence in this world.
That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
We are spiritual beings, created by God and incomplete without Him. Also we are physical beings, and a physical disease can lead to psychological or spiritual problems, and vice versa. And then too we are psychological beings, meaning that each person has a mind, emotions, and a will. The interrelationships among these three realms in our humanity mean that specific problems may have many symptoms and causes behind them.
If believers face some form of an emotional problem, they should seek counsel from wise, qualified Christians who can treat them with a comprehensive approach. During such a time, other believers must surround the hurting brother or sister in prayer. God promises to help His people through even the most difficult times.
Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.
In this case, the man’s situation was caused by demon possession. Usually, however, mental disorder has other causes, such as genetics or hormonal imbalances.
People who are afflicted with a mental disorder need assurance of their worthiness before God, as well as Christian professional help. Jesus has the power to heal but He may not always choose to do so. God’s people must trust His wisdom through any difficult time.
IN TIMES LIKE THESE
Counsel, Counselor. Advice; adviser, especially on legal matters (such as a lawyer). In Bible times a counselor in a king’s court was like a U.S. cabinet member today. A counselor might at times have been in line to succeed the king. Ahithophel, counselor to David and Absalom, gave advice as sound as the “oracle of God” (2 Sm 16:23). The elders of Israel counseled King Rehoboam (1 Kgs 12:6), as did the friends with whom Rehoboam had grown up (1 Kgs 12:8), although his friends gave poor advice. The Bible mentions official counselors in Egypt (Is 19:11) and Babylon (Dn 3:2, 3).
A wise person seeks counsel when making plans: “Without counsel plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed” (Prv 15:22). One’s counselors may be one’s parents (Prv 1:8), older people (Ez 7:26), prophets (2 Chr 25:16), wise men (Jer 18:18), or friends (Prv 27:9 KJV). Some counselors are evil, giving deceitful advice (Prv 12:5).
According to the Bible, God also counsels. He frustrates the counsel of “the nations who oppose him” (Ps 33:10 LB), but his own counsel endures for many generations (Ps 33:11). No one may counsel the Lord (Is 40:13). His Messiah is called “Wonderful Counselor” (Is 9:6).
In the NT the Spirit counsels or comforts believers (Jn 14:16, 17). Christ sends the Holy Spirit to his people (Jn 16:7), and the Spirit, also called the Spirit of truth, bears witness to Christ (Jn 15:26). The ascended Jesus Christ is seen as a counselor in God’s heavenly court (1 Jn 2:1, advocate).