1 Return, Israel, to the Lord your God, because your sins have brought you down. 2 Take words like these with you and come back to the Lord, saying to him, “Please take away all our guilt, accept what is good, and we will repay you with praise from our lips. 3 Assyria can't save us; we will not ride our warhorses; we will never again say ‘You are our gods’ to the idols we have made. For in you orphans find mercy.”
4 I will heal their unfaithfulness; I will love them freely, for I'm not angry with them any more. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel, they will blossom like lilies, they will send down roots like the cedars of Lebanon. 6 They shall send out new shoots, their splendor will be like the olive tree, their scent will be like the cedars of Lebanon. 7 Those who live under their shade shall return, they will flourish like grain, they will blossom like the vine, and they will be as famous as the wine of Lebanon.
8 Ephraim, how much more do I have to warn you about idols?* In other words, God has had enough of the subject. I have answered and now I am watching.† To see the people's response. I am like a tree that is evergreen; your fruit is found in me.
9 Who is wise to understand these things? Who has discernment in understanding them? The Lord's paths are right—the good follow them, but rebels trip and fall along the way.