People change and time moves us all along so a mistaken identity or a forgotten acquaintance here or there is forgivable. Some of us know a much harder feeling: when a loved one, someone closer to us than anyone else, forgets our name or doesn’t recognize us.

Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
    For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
    but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its master,
    the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
    my people do not understand.”

Woe to the sinful nation,
    a people whose guilt is great,
a brood of evildoers,
    children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord;
    they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
    and turned their backs on him.

Isaiah 1:2-4

A disobedient child is bad enough, but God says that his children don’t even recognize his voice or his face like even a beast can. What a deep and stomach-turning betrayal that must have been! To be the Father of a people who don’t remember you.

But this chapter is a call to repentance! “Though your sins be as scarlet they will be white as snow,” God was going to wash the blood of their iniquity fully away. Even in their negligence, if they heard the voice of God and returned to him, the Father they had forgotten, forgiveness was to be found.

If we have seen the Father by meeting Jesus (John 14:9) how much more severe is our betrayal when we refuse him who calls us? Turn to God and find comfort.

Ethan Kirl