O Israel, come back! Return to your God! You're down but you're not out.
Prepare your confession and come back to God. Pray to him, "Take away our sin, accept our confession. Receive as restitution our repentant prayers.
Assyria won't save us; horses won't get us where we want to go. We'll never again say 'our god' to something we've made or made up. You're our last hope. Is it not true that in you the orphan finds mercy?"
"I will heal their waywardness. I will love them lavishly. My anger is played out.
I will make a fresh start with Israel. He'll burst into bloom like a crocus in the spring. He'll put down deep oak tree roots,
he'll become a forest of oaks! He'll become splendid - like a giant sequoia, his fragrance like a grove of cedars!
Those who live near him will be blessed by him, be blessed and prosper like golden grain. Everyone will be talking about them, spreading their fame as the vintage children of God.
Ephraim is finished with gods that are no-gods. From now on I'm the one who answers and satisfies him. I am like a luxuriant fruit tree. Everything you need is to be found in me."
If you want to live well, make sure you understand all of this. If you know what's good for you, you'll learn this inside and out. God's paths get you where you want to go. Right-living people walk them easily; wrong-living people are always tripping and stumbling.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)