"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste. Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?" (Isaiah 64:8-12)
The words rekindle the light of hope. God is the true father of both Jew and Gentile. He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Provider and the Redeemer. Sin has broken the father-son relationship between God and man, and God has enabled the renewal of that relationship through faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Isaiah acknowledges the supremacy of God by referring to Him as the Potter. The clay can resist the hands of the Potter and suffer the consequences, but God is the Potter none the less. He can use the weakness and impurities of the clay, and He can reform the vessel or create a new one as He sees fit (Jeremiah 18:3-10).
The request to not regard iniquity forever is in direct keeping with the heart of God. The Lord does not delight in remembering men's sins but in forgiving them. If such were not the case, God would not have appointed the sacrifice of His Son "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world (I Peter 1:20)."
With another glimpse into the future, Isaiah sees the temple of Jerusalem burned to the ground and the city devastated by the armies of the Babylonians. The land has been ravaged by war. Cities are overthrown and crops and fields destroyed. What is worse, the spiritual desolation of Israel is reflected in the physical destruction. Perhaps somewhat confused, Isaiah asks why God does not come to the aid of His people. As the Lord's covenant people, will God permit Israel to undergo such punishment at the hands of the heathen? Why does He not spiritually revive the nation and forever deliver her from the oppression of the enemy? In the following chapter, the Holy Spirit gives some clues as to why God, on the surface, seems to have abandoned His people.