Isaiah 63:1 Who is this that comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he that is glorious in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, announcing vindication, mighty to save."
2 Why is thy apparel red, and thy garments like his that treads in the wine press?
3 "I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption has come. 5 I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me victory, and my wrath upheld me. 6 I trod down the peoples in my anger, I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth." (RSV)
When Christians speak of redemption, they like to think of the glory of being saved. How is it here that the Lord speaks of the day of vengeance in context with the year of His redemption? Remember that redemption has to do with paying a debt. Those who rejected having our Savior pay their redemption with the blood of the lamb will be left to have redemption exacted at their own torments in the day of vengeance.
Jeremiah 2:31 And you, O generation, heed the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of thick darkness? Why then do my people say, 'We are free, we will come no more to thee'? 32 Can a maiden forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
33 "How well you direct your course to seek lovers! So that even to wicked women you have taught your ways. 34 Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of guiltless poor; you did not find them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things 35 you say, 'I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.' Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, 'I have not sinned.' 36 How lightly you gad about, changing your way! You shall be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria. 37 From it too you will come away with your hands upon your head, for the LORD has rejected those in whom you trust, and you will not prosper by them.
3:1 "If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man's wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? You have played the harlot with many lovers; and would you return to me? says the LORD. (RSV)
The Lord sees His relationship with His people as that of a husband with a wife. When the people that He chose and lifted up turned to other gods, He viewed them as a wayward wife. The law as handed down by Moses allowed for divorce, but if a divorced one married another, they were not to return to one they had previously divorced. Though the people the Lord had chosen had turned to other gods, they tried to act as though they could have other gods and still hold on to Yahweh (metaphorically, their first husband they had left to chase after other gods).
Jeremiah 13:12 "You shall speak to them this word: 'Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, "Every jar shall be filled with wine."' And they will say to you, 'Do we not indeed know that every jar will be filled with wine?'
13 Then you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will fill with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land: the kings who sit on David's throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 14 And I will dash them one against another, fathers and sons together, says the LORD. I will not pity or spare or have compassion, that I should not destroy them.'" 15 Hear and give ear; be not proud, for the LORD has spoken. (RSV)
If the Lord could display this anger against the people He chose to be the servants to His law, then how much more to those who aren’t even His people? Yet He didn’t refuse to extend His mercy to others, just as He did to Abraham. Consider Job, Naaman, and the Ninevites when He sent Jonah to preach to them. The Lord chose Israel and gave them the law, but His mercy was there for any who believed and turned to Him.
Jeremiah 14:20 We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against thee. 21 Do not spurn us, for thy name's sake; do not dishonor thy glorious throne; remember and do not break thy covenant with us. 22 Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Art thou not he, O LORD our God? We set our hope on thee, for thou doest all these things. (RSV)
The Lord takes no delight in wickedness, but He turns His ear to those who humbly come before Him to confess their wickedness. Earlier the Lord had decreed judgment saying that the people had said ‘I have not sinned’ (Jeremiah 2: 35 above). Anyone who thinks they have not been guilty of wickedness should not feel any need for a Savior, for the purpose of our Savior coming was because of our wickedness. If I say that I am not wicked, then isn’t that much the same as saying that I don’t need to be saved? If I have no wickedness, then what should I be saved from?