Return to the Lord
1 Israel, you fell and sinned against God. So come back to the LORD your God. 2 Think about what you will say, and come back to the LORD. Say to him,
“Take away our sin,
and accept these words as our sacrifice.
We offer you the praise from our lips.*
3 Assyria will not save us.
We will not ride on war horses.
We will never again say, ‘Our God’
to something we made with our hands.
This is because you are the one who
shows mercy to orphans.”
The Lord Will Forgive Israel
4 The Lord says,
“I will forgive them for leaving me.
I will show them my love without limits,
because I have stopped being angry.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel.
Israel will blossom like the lily.
He will grow like the cedar trees of Lebanon.
6 His branches will grow,
and he will be like a beautiful olive tree.
He will be like the sweet smell
from the cedar trees of Lebanon.
7 The people of Israel will again live under my protection.
They will grow like grain.
They will bloom like a vine.
They will be like the wine of Lebanon.
The Lord Warns Israel About Idols
8 “Ephraim, I will have nothing more to do with idols.
I am the one who answers your prayers and watches over you.†
I am like a fir tree that is always green.
Your fruit comes from me.”
9 A wise person understands these things,
and a smart person should learn them.
The LORD’S ways are right.
Good people will live by them.
Sinners will die by them.‡