God’s Love for Israel
1“When Israel was a child, I loved him.
And I called my son out of Egypt.
2But the more I called to the people of Israel,
the further they went from me.
They offered sacrifices to the Baals.
They burned incense to the idols.
3But it was I who taught Israel to walk.
I took them by the arms.
But they did not understand
that I had healed them.
4I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
I lifted the yoke from their neck.
I bent down and fed them.
5“The Israelites will become captives again, as they were in Egypt.
The king of Assyria will become their king.
This is because they refuse to turn to God.
6War will sweep through their cities.
It will destroy them,
because of their wicked plans.
7My people have made up their minds
to turn away from me.
The prophets call them to turn to me.
But none of them honors me at all.
8“Israel, I don’t want to give you up.
I don’t want to go away and leave you.
I don’t want to make you like Admah.
I don’t want to treat you like Zeboiim.# Two other cities destroyed when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
My heart beats for you.
My love for you stirs up my pity.
9I won’t punish you in my anger.
I won’t destroy Israel again.
I am God and not man.
I am the Holy One, and I am among you.
I will not come against you in anger.
10I will call for my people like
a lion calling for its young.
My children will come and follow me.
They will hurry to me from the west.
11They will come swiftly
like birds from a captivity like Egypt was,
and like doves from Assyria.
I will settle them again in their homes,”
says the Lord.
The Lord Is Against Israel
12Israel has surrounded me with lies.
The people of Israel have made their secret plans.
And Judah turns against God,
the faithful Holy One.