1Israel, return to the Lord your God;
for you have fallen because of your sin.
2Take words with you, and return to the Lord.
Tell him, “Forgive all our sins,
and accept that which is good:
so we offer our lips like bulls.
3Assyria can’t save us.
We won’t ride on horses;
neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘Our gods!’
for in you the fatherless finds mercy.”
4“I will heal their waywardness.
I will love them freely;
for my anger is turned away from him.
5I will be like the dew to Israel.
He will blossom like the lily,
and send down his roots like Lebanon.
6His branches will spread,
and his beauty will be like the olive tree,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
7Men will dwell in his shade.
They will revive like the grain,
and blossom like the vine.
Their fragrance will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8Ephraim, what have I to do any more with idols?
I answer, and will take care of him.
I am like a green cypress tree;
from me your fruit is found.”
9Who is wise, that he may understand these things?
Who is prudent, that he may know them?
For the ways of the Lord are right,
and the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.