1 John tells us that we love, because He first loved us. Isaiah 65 tells us the same thing. Everything we have from Him started with Him.
Look at the language of this text. He permitted Himself to be sought by those who did not ask for Him. He permitted Himself to be found by those who did not seek Him. I am reminded of Romans 3 - "There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks for God."
The old hymn rings true that says: "I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew he moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me; it was not I that found, O Savior true; no, I was found of Thee." Josiah Conder echos the same thoughts in his hymn:
"'Tis not that I did choose Thee, for, Lord, that could not be; this heart would still refuse Thee, hadst Thou not chosen me. Thou from the sin that stained me hast cleansed and set me free; of old Thou hast ordained me, that I should live to Thee.
'Twas sovereign mercy called me and taught my op'ning mind; the world had else enthralled me, to heav'nly glories blind. My heart owns none before Thee,for Thy rich grace I thirst; this knowing, if I love Thee, Thou must have loved me first."
Let that thought sink in. God permitted Himself to be sought and found by those who did NOT ask for Him and by those who did NOT seek Him. Mercy is marvelous. Sovereign mercy is more than marvelous - it is beyond the ability to express! We have been "courted by divine grace. God Himself, by His prophets, by His Son, by His apostles, by His Spirit, stretched forth his hands to [us]. He spread them out as one reasoning and expostulating with [us]." (Matthew Henry)
Sovereign, pursuing, omnipotent grace. Can we even begin to take it in?!?!
Isaiah continues: I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way that is not good, following their own thoughts, a people who continually provoke Me to My face."
Oh, God is not like us. In our rebellion He is the prodigal's father. In our provocation He is providentially pursuing. Don't harden your hearts beloved! See in these verses the glory of the gospel. "For while we were still helpless at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.... But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.... while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son." (Romans 5)
Do you not see the compassion of the cross in this passage from Isaiah. "I have spread out my hands all day long to a rebellious people." God HAS spread out His hands all day long to a rebellious people. Is that not exactly what Christ did for us on Calvary - spread out His hands all day long to a rebellious people?! His hands were streched out and nailed to Calvary's cross for you and for me! He stretched out His hands to receive you, rebellious one. Flee to Him in faith and repentance. Take hold of that which Christ Jesus has taken hold of for you. Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.