“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Isaiah’s criticism of Israel was that she was a poor witness for the glory of the Lord. She was rebellious, disobedient and idolatrous. Nevertheless, the Lord used her and worked through her so that He was able to proclaim and demonstrate His greatness. He performed mighty acts for His chosen ones as Isaiah describes in terms that remind us of the exodus from Egypt. But He was going to sweep away the old and make a new creation, a new people, one that would truly proclaim His name.
Like ancient Israel, we believers are far from perfect. We are often rebellious, self-centered and unjust but the Lord loves us and still chooses to call us His chosen ones. The Lord has redeemed us for His own sake, for His own glory. We benefit from His acts and favor and this too magnifies that glory for it shows how loving and kind He is. He makes us new creations in Christ Jesus. He forgives us our sins and forgets them. None of the gods of the world are this kind nor are human beings who seldom forget any sin. People and false gods hold so much to these wrongs that they require those who wrong them to work to atone for themselves. The Lord knows that this is impossible and forgives all those who turn to Him for mercy. No other religion can make such a claim. And so, if God forgives us so, how can we withhold forgiveness from those who have wronged us?