Is. 49:13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the LORD has comforted his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted.
Is. 49:14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.”
Is. 49:15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Is. 49:16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are continually before me.
When I was little, I was given a picture of a wooden carving of a child in a big hand and v. 16 was printed next to it. It was a different translation, and it said “I carved you in the palm of my hands.”
When I got older, I had some free Bible from somewhere and I looked that verse up. I saw the difference between “engraved you on” and “carved you in” as a reason to think the Bible was “full of contradictions” and problems with translations, so I used that to convince myself that it wasn’t true.
Not true at all.
Earlier in this section, Isaiah is telling everyone to sing for joy, to worship God, to shout out His praises for the great things He has done. Then Israel goes all Eeyore and woe is me to Isaiah: “The Lord has forgotten me.” They don’t think they deserve forgiveness or help from God, and they don’t see Him working in their current circumstances to help.
There are too many times that we view God through our circumstances, or through the lens we want, instead of the real lens.
Instead of reading the words for what they said, when I was younger, I read them to find a way to hate them. Now I look at that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and I love it! Whether God carved me out like a piece of art in His hand, or whether He has my name written on His hand with some eternal Sharpie doesn’t matter! Both of those point to His great care and love for me!
Do we feel like God has forsaken us or left us? Start rejoicing. Of course you don’t feel forgiven if you don’t accept it, because God freely gives it — He doesn’t force it.
Rejoicing and praise has a snowball effect on our Christian maturity and the way we view the world. We begin to view our circumstances through God instead of viewing God through our circumstances. The more we practice praising God, the better we get at it, and the more we want to practice.
The Lord has not forgotten you. You and your “walls” (which represent your security and safety and confidence) are always on His mind, like you are written and carved in His hands.