"When Israel was a child, I loved him as a son, and I called my son out of Egypt.
But the more I a called to him, the more he rebelled, offering sacrifices to the images of Baal and burning incense to idols.
It was I who taught Israel b how to walk, leading him along by the hand. But he doesn't know or even care that it was I who took care of him.
I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.
"But since my people refuse to return to me, they will go back to Egypt and will be forced to serve Assyria.
War will swirl through their cities; their enemies will crash through their gates and destroy them, trapping them in their own evil plans.
For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don't truly honor me.
"Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah and Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows.
No, I will not punish you as much as my burning anger tells me to. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy.
"For someday the people will follow the LORD. I will roar like a lion, and my people will return trembling from the west.
Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt. Flying like doves, they will return from Assyria. And I will bring them home again," says the LORD.
Israel surrounds me with lies and deceit, but Judah still walks with God and is faithful to the Holy One. c
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)