Today's Word of Encouragement
DESIRING AND SEEKING
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early (Isaiah 26:9).
In Isaiah 24, the prophet sees the coming judgment of God upon the heavens and earth. In chapter 25 he sings a song of praise to the Lord for His judgments in bringing His enemies to ruin and His people to permanent restoration. In chapter 26 Isaiah sings a song of praise for God’s full and complete salvation. In that song of praise the prophet reveals the attitude and spirit he has had all throughout his ministry, but especially in light of the coming judgment of God.
With my soul I have desired you in the night. The ‘soul’ (nephesh) refers to the person himself – all that a person is in mind, body, spirit. To ‘desire’ (ahvah) is to long for, wait patiently for, or lust after. The ‘night’ (layil) can refer to night-time (a s opposed to day-time), or it can refer to a time of darkness (i.e. peril, sorrow, affliction). The prophet sings a song of praise to the Lord with his whole being. His entire focus is on the Lord whom he longs to see again, that is, to have full fellowship with again. This song of praise is offered ‘in the night’, which I believe refers not only during the night (as Jesus would often pray all night), but also during the time of his ministry, which was the pronouncement of God’s judgment upon the nations, including Israel.
By my spirit within me I will seek You early. The ‘spirit’ (ruach) means breath, wind, or regarding man, his mind and thoughts. To ‘seek’ (shachar) is to dig deep for something buried, to look for earnestly. ‘Early’ (again shachar) expresses the intensity in which the prophet desires to be in fellowship with God.
Tying all of this together, Isaiah praises God for the salvation and restoration He has promised Israel in their time of judgment. He desires, which his heart, mind, and spirit, that the fellowship of the Lord will be restored to him and to the nation, and he prays for that earnestly and continually (night and early – all the time).
While I do not believe Covid-19 to be a specific judgment from God like the exile of the Jews in Babylon, the pandemic has ‘exiled’ us to our homes and away from the church and other social gathering places. I believe the pandemic will pass, in time, but it will leave some drastic changes in its wake, both personally and corporately. Some of those changes will be good, some will not. But what Nancy and I are doing is following the example of Isaiah in praying for our family, our church, our friends, and our nation, and giving praise to God for His daily provision and protection, knowing that our redemption from this health crisis is drawing near.