"You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people."
There are many times in my life when I have slid down into a besetting sin: lust, anger, pride, bitterness; and I sin willfully, though with an ever growing sense of dread.
God sees my sin and He hates my sin and He kindly sends me trials to drive me away from my sin. So there comes a kind of turning point where the dread becomes conviction and I know I must seek forgiveness, but with that comes a new fear: will He forgive? AGAIN?
I so very sympathize with Isaiah's cry in verse 5: "Lord, I have been in my sin a long long time. How can you save me? How am I deserving of this forgiveness again, in this same area that I sinned last time? How have I not exhausted your grace? Will I face your wrath this time?" And the fear keeps me from God more surely than my sin did. But Isaiah continues, explaining in grave detail all the deep sins that Israel has committed and then in verse 8 cries for mercy: "Lord, you rescued us once, and you are ever sovereign in your works. We are your works. Please don't be angry, have mercy on your people" and verse 12 "Will you stay so terribly silent? Wont you have mercy on us?"
And then there is an awful silence as Israel waits for God's judgement.