1“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt.2But the more I called to him, the farther he moved from me, offering sacrifices to the images of Baal and burning incense to idols.3I myself taught Israel 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.4I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.5“But since my people refuse to return to me, they will return to Egypt and will be forced to serve Assyria.6War will swirl through their cities; their enemies will crash through their gates. They will destroy them, trapping them in their own evil plans.7For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me.8“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows.9No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. 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.10For someday the people will follow me. I, the LORD, will roar like a lion. And when I roar, my people will return trembling from the west.11Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt. Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria. And I will bring them home again,” says the LORD .
1 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down.2Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD . Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises.3Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses. Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’ No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.”4The LORD says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever.5I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon.6Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.7My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.8“O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.”9Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.