Israel Returns to God
1Israel, return to the Lord your God.
Your sins have caused your ruin.
2Come back to the Lord
and say these words to him:
“Take away all our sin
and kindly receive us.
Then we will give you the praise we promised you.
3Assyria cannot save us.
We will not trust in our horses.
We will not say again, ‘Our gods,’
to the things our hands have made.
You show mercy to us, who are like orphans.”
4The Lord says,
“I will forgive them for leaving me.
I will love them freely.
I am not angry with them anymore.
5I will be like the dew to Israel.
It will blossom like a lily.
Like the cedar trees in Lebanon,
its roots will be firm.
6The people will be like spreading branches.
They will be like the beautiful olive trees.
They will be like the sweet-smelling cedars in Lebanon.
7The people of Israel will again live under my protection.
They will grow like the grain.
They will bloom like a vine.
They will be as famous as the wine of Lebanon.
8Israel, have nothing to do with idols.
I, the Lord, am the one who answers your prayers.
I am the one who watches over you.
I am like a green pine tree.
Your blessings come from me.”
9A wise person will know these things.
An understanding person will take them to heart.
The Lord’s ways are right.
Good people live by following them,
but those who turn against God die because of them.