Pharaoh had two very troubling dreams. They were so concerning to him he sought the counsel of all his magicians and wise men but no one could interpret his dreams. Pharaoh’s chief butler and his baker had been in prison with Joseph (son of Jacob), and Joseph interpreted each of their dreams. When Pharaoh became distraught and desperate to know the meaning of his dreams, his butler told him about Joseph. Pharaoh called for Joseph from prison and after listening to him recite his dreams, Joseph explained the meaning of his dreams. Because of his wisdom, Pharaoh named Joseph second in command over all of Egypt. The only one with greater power and authority in Egypt was Pharaoh himself. Joseph was successful because he walked in the Counsel of the Lord. See Genesis Chapter 41.
King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and all the magicians, astrologers, the Chaldeans and soothsayers in his kingdom were not able to interpret his dream. He appealed to Daniel (Belteshazzar) to tell him the meaning of his dream. He spoke to Daniel, “declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.” Nebuchadnezzar saw something in Daniel like Pharaoh saw in Joseph. It was obvious the spirit of the Lord was with Joseph and Daniel to give them wise Counsel. See Daniel Chapter 4.
The Holy Spirit series is teaching the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, disciples of Jesus Christ. In Part I, I highlighted the Holy Spirit who Intercedes through us. Part II emphasized the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth who will lead us into all truth. Part III further explains the Holy Spirit’s role as our Counselor.
Counselor defined by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is as follows: to advise; to deliberate or resolve; consult, (give take) counsel, determine, devise, guide, purpose. This is the role of Jesus as shown in Isaiah 9:6-7 and it is now the role of the Holy Spirit according to John 16:7-11.
Isaiah prophesied about a counselor who was to come. He is Jesus the Messiah for whom Israel was waiting. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace…” See Isaiah 9:6-7.
Jesus prepared his disciples for his death and resurrection by encouraging that they would be better off if He went away so that the Holy Spirit could come. “But I tell you the truth it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor-Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. And when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness and about judgment; about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message]; about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see me; about judgment [the certainty of it], because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned.” John 16:7-11.
It is the Holy Spirit who speaks to our minds and hearts teaching us about Jesus and giving us revelation as we worship Him, pray, read and study the Word of God. James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all generously and without reproach; and it will be given to him.” James 1:5. He goes on to say we must ask in faith, believing that God will give us the wisdom we need. Wisdom and counsel go hand in hand.
It is amazing that the Holy Spirit has been given to believers so that we never have to lack in wisdom, understanding, knowledge or revelation of who Jesus is and how we are to live. We need a counselor not only for understanding the written word, we need to know what to do in our everyday lives. He helps us discern which job offer to accept, and whether to move or to stay where we are. We need to know what to do when problems arise and we need discernment to see the spiritual battles we face. These are just a few examples of the counsel the Holy Spirit gives us.
The Apostle Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem where the Jewish Sanhedrin would arrest him and put him on trial. The Holy Spirit also spoke to Agabus, a prophet from Judea who came to see Paul and warn him about the dangers in going to Jerusalem. See Acts Chapter 21. Paul realized the Lord was leading him despite knowing that he would be arrested and imprisoned once he reached Jerusalem. His goal was to be able to share the Gospel with Caesar in Rome. Those around Paul at the time were trying to persuade him not to go. “Then Paul replied, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart [like this]? For I am ready not only to be bound and imprisoned, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ And since he would not be dissuaded, we stopped pleading and fell silent, saying, “The Lord’s will be done!” Acts 21:13-14.
While the church grieved his being imprisoned in Rome, Paul was writing his letters to the churches and recording all the rich Biblical teaching from which we now benefit. He willingly gave up his freedom in order to preach to the Jewish hierarchy, kings and even Caesar, giving them a chance to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “And now, compelled by the Spirit and obligated by my convictions, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly [and emphatically] affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me.” Acts 20:22-23. Paul graciously left us with Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. His willingness to “suffer” for the Kingdom of God has reaped a great harvest of faith in the Lord and righteous living in the church today.
The written Word of God is wonderful, insightful and full of revelation about the Lord and His Kingdom, but we need more than the written word alone to stand. We must have an intentional abiding relationship with the Lord through the Holy Spirit and allow Him to Counsel us through our daily lives and help us discover the purpose for which God created us. He is the One who reminds us of past victories to encourage us in our present battles. When darkness surrounds us and we feel abandoned and almost hopeless, He is the one who causes us to recall a hymn, song or scripture that lifts us up so that we can see His light and feel His presence holding us up and carrying us through. The Counselor is the one who quickens us and calls us to join the fight, the spiritual battle and gives us the strategies for full victory for ourselves and others. He is the One who gives us dreams and visions, renews our strength and instills hope in our hearts.
In The Holy Spirit Part II which taught about the Spirit of Truth, I explained that Paul, who was not a first-hand witness to Jesus’ ministry, was thoroughly instructed about the Gospel through the counsel of the Holy Spirit. I find it amazing that He wrote the majority of the New Testament although the 12 original disciples wrote very little comparatively. Their books were the testimony about what Jesus did and who He was/is. Paul’s writings have taught believers for centuries how Christians should live and conduct themselves according to Jesus’ example. This combination of approach in the New Testament is paramount to a believer’s understanding of God and His Kingdom.
Peter was made aware of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s deceit in the sale of their land and the amount they intended to give to the church by the Counsel of the Holy Spirit. They promised the entire sale price to go to the church but secretly, both agreed to hold back some of the money and therefore lied to Peter. It was the Counsel of the Holy Spirit that made Peter aware of their false testimony and deceit. “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and [secretly] keep back for yourself some of the proceeds [from the sale] of the land? As long as it remained [unsold], did it not remain your own [to do with as you pleased]? And after it was sold, was the money not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this act [of hypocrisy and deceit] in your heart? You have not [simply] lied to people, but to God.” Acts 5:3-4.
When the Israelites were in the wilderness heading to the Promised Land, they had sinned many times against the Lord by worshipping the false gods of Egypt and rejecting God’s personal invitation to abide in His presence. Because of their evil deeds, they lacked the counsel necessary to walk in obedience to God. Moses lamented in Deuteronomy 32:28-29, “For they are a nation devoid of counsel, and there is no understanding in them. O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they could discern their future and ultimate fate!” Because they rejected the Counsel of the Lord, they ultimately rejected their Messiah. As a result, the Lord put a veil of blindness over their eyes until He once again draws them back to Himself.
“He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, to keep themselves from seeing with their eyes and understanding with their heart and being converted otherwise, I [their God] would heal them.” Isaiah 12:40.
We desperately need the Holy Spirit’s Counsel. We cannot reject His invitation to commune with us like the Israelites did or we will be found opposing the Lord as they were. He is our eyes and our ears into heaven. He is the one who gives us glimpses into God’s Glory. He conveys our heart’s cry to the Lord and He shows us the Heart of God for His people. He Intercedes through us when we do not know what to pray (Part I) and He leads us into all Truth (Part II). Jesus said it was better for Him to go so that He could send us the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Counsel of the Holy Spirit, we will not fail, we will be more than conquerors!