for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
Israel, I will not forget you.
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.”
God called upon Israel, the descendants of Jacob, to remember the great things He had done for them. In remembering, they were also called to repentance.
We in the New Testament Church are the new Israel of God:
“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7. “For they are not all Israel which are of Israel; neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children… but the children of promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:6-8.
The children of promise are those who put their faith in Jesus. “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” Galatians 3:29.
Whether they are Jewish or Gentile, God regards only those who have renewed hearts as true Israelites. “For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter’ whose praise is not from men but from God.” Romans 2:28,29.”For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3.
So what God says to Israel applies also to us, the New Testament Church.
First, God calls us to remember that He is our Creator, and we are the servants of God. We are not masters over God, or over His Word. We are His servants and we spend our lives seeking how we might serve the God who made us.
Second, God says we should remember Him, because He will not forget us. “I will not forget you.” What a blessing to have that promise! It is a sad thing when you have been forgotten by a friend or family member. When a family member forgets your birthday, or anniversary, or other milestone in life, it is sad and disappointing. But God will never forget you. He will never forget the highlights of your life. God remembers how many hairs you have on your head! Luke 12:7.
Third, while God will never forget you, he does forget your sins. “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.” God wipes away your sins because Jesus paid for them all on the cross. There remains no additional price to pay for forgiveness. Jesus paid it all. There remains no additional suffering to offer because of continued sin. Jesus has suffered all for all sins and for all sinners. Remember that, O Israel!
Finally, when we remember God’s indescribable goodness toward sinners, we are drawn to return to Him. When we have wandered away from God, from His Word, from His Church, we can return to Him in repentance, not fearing that we are returning to the presence of an angry, vengeful God, but to the God who who loved us so much He sacrificed His own Son to Redeem us. “Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Have you forgotten God? Have you forgotten the good things He has done for you? Have you forgotten His Church? God stretches out his arms toward you and invites you, “Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”