I am reading through Isaiah right now - and something hit me today that kind of blew my mind. The second part of chapter forty-three says a few things I hadn’t heard before.Verse 19 sets the stage:
Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth! Do you not perceive it?!
That verse does a lot for me. Can you imagine what it might sound like to hear someone say those words with a fire in his voice? Big things are on the horizon in the next lines. The question at the end of the verse also begs another question: Are we expected to perceive what God is doing? Can we? When God does a new thing, does the Earth shift? Are Gods thoughts and physical actions somehow supernaturally perceptible?
If we are not perceiving the new things God is doing, perhaps we aren’t paying attention.
Then God starts to say some interesting things, and I’m not immediately sure where he’s going with it.
The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches - for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert to give drink to my chosen people.
And then this, in verse 22:
Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob! You have been weary of me, O Israel! You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings or honored me with your sacrifices!
Typically in the Old Testament, when God starts ranting like this, he’s about to say that he’s going to decimate some entire population - wipe them clean from off the Earth. But this time, like he said in verse nineteen, he’s doing a new thing. Changing it up. Right when everyone is bracing themselves for the fiery burning fists of Almighty God, he cracks his knuckles and says he’s got a better idea. If I was standing there, I would have been thinking
Do you feel the foundations of the Earth shifting now?
He continues in verse 24:
You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins, you have wearied me with your iniquities.
At that point, I would have been running for my life. I would not have been one of the guys waiting around to find out what was going to happen next.
And then, right when everyone is expecting the hammer to drop, he says this in verse 25, which stopped me dead in my tracks while reading this morning:
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
You can just decide not to remember my sins?
Wait. What does that even mean - you’re blotting out my sins for your own sake?
I have no idea what’s happening here.
The same God that was infamous for wiping out entire countries of people just says “You know what, screw it. I’m sick of anger. Sick of blood. It’s time for something new. “
Rather than killing us all again, God chooses selective ignorance.
He doesn’t want to go through it all again. He’s ready for his people to be good, but he knows we will keep failing time and time again. So instead of trying to make us be good, he just decides to blot out the bad.
Ever blotted something out in a book? You can’t read it anymore. It’s like it was never there. Might as well forget about it. So he does.
Keep in mind - he said he’s doing this for his own sake. Not ours - his. He doesn’t forgive us so that he can love us - he already loves us. He does’t have a problem with loving us. He forgives us so that he can get through a day without thinking about how terrible we all are. He forgives us so he can sleep at night without the guilt of knowing he created an entire race of miserable, horrible people.
He forgives us to take the burden off his shoulders, not ours.
You see, our sins used to be burdensome to God, but now they are just a burden on us. Our sins are now ours to remember, not Gods.
The language of sin-confession to God is like gibberish to him. He hears us, but it doesn’t make any sense. He has no memory of it.
We don’t get to dump our guilt off on him.
He’s been burdened by our sins long enough - now its time for us to be burdened by them. We have to deal with them. We have to make things right. We have to confess to and forgive one another down here. God doesn’t correct our sins anymore because he’s blotted them out. He’s chosen not to remember them.
If we get in a tight spot down here because of our sins it’s our own damn fault. God doesn’t hurl lightning bolts on sinful heads anymore. God doesn’t kill people or cause droughts or spread plagues - we do.
It’s time we dealt with things in our own lives - for our own sake. God doesn’t even know about your sin, but you do. It’s in there, swimming around in your head like poison.
Spit it out.
Drop your burdensome sins on the ground like a brick. Shoot them off into space like a rocket. Free your mind from the awful stings of deceit and lust and anger.
Oh, they are so dreadfully burdensome, are they not?
I used to find some solace in being able to drop off my backpack full of sins at the feet of God everyday - knowing full well I’d be cram-packing a new one the next day to drop off the same way. But God doesn’t want our sins. That backpack is invisible to him.
He wants our attention. He wants our companionship. He wants our affections.
He’s grown weary of sin. He grew weary of it a long time ago - and we should too.
Let’s change what we do. Let’s throw off those raggedy old chains and turn our faces towards the one who stayed up nights racked with fret and weariness over our foolishness while we slept peacefully trusting in his unrelenting protection over us.
We’ve done wrong by God.
God is the good mother that cries for her children while they were out rampaging to their own detriment - and that kind of crying is exhausting. He got to the point where he said he was done with it. He has forgiven and he has totally forgotten.
But oh, how he longs for his daughters to come home at the end of that long night and fall trembling into his arms, resting there for all eternity.