‘They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them.’ (Isaiah 26v14).
In the last post, we considered how the term ‘spirit’ is often used interchangeably by humans to mean a variety of things. In v9, I find it interesting that the ‘soul yearns…in the night’ and yet ‘in the morning, the ‘spirit longs for (God).’ I’m not quite certain what the difference is here though given this is written hundreds of years before Pentecost, we must presume that the term ‘spirit’ is used in a way that is some way akin to the ‘heart’ with all its emotional resonance of yearning and longing.
Likewise, the reference to how the spirits of the dead do not rise seems more akin with the idea of the essence’ or ‘life’ in the person. Yes, the dead are no longer able to participate in the way they once were but is it fair to consider God as the author of a punishment that brought them ruin – a travesty which also threatens to wipe away all memory of them? Might it possibly be that this is the prophet’s interpretation of what he believes will happen to those who are disobedient? That said, the prophet would also know the truth that sooner or later, we all die. But God’s love, compassion and forgiveness, extends to everyone. To grasp this is to begin to understand God’s spirit in context and what this really means to long for and yearn after Him.