New life for Israel's people
1 Return to the Lord your God, Israel's people.
Your sin has destroyed you.
2 Think about the things that you will say.
And return to the Lord.
Say to him, ‘Forgive all our sins.
Accept the good things that we are doing.
We will praise you with our lips.
3 Assyria cannot save us.
Our war horses cannot keep us away from trouble.
We will never again say to idols that they are our God.
Our hands had made those idols.
But you are someone who shows great love.
You show great love to children who have no parents.’
4 The Lord says, ‘They went away from me, but I will forgive them for that.
14:4God promises things to Israel's people. They will not have to be afraid of God. He will stop being angry. Isaiah 54:6-8 gives us another idea that is like this. Israel is like a wife who is returning to her husband. Israel's people cannot buy God's love. God can be angry, but instead he will bring Israel's people many more blessings. These blessings will include water and plants.
I will love them very much.
I am not angry with them now.
5 I will be like the rain in the morning to Israel's people.
They will become like flowers.
They will be like the tall trees in Lebanon.
These trees will be very strong in the ground.
6 They will become alive with new branches.
They will be beautiful like olive trees.
They will have a smell like the tall trees in Lebanon.
7 Israel's people will live again in the shade that I give to them.
14:7The olive tree was a good place for shade (Hosea 14:6). It was also good for fruit. Lebanon was a good place for the smell of trees. Ezekiel uses the idea of a small tree to mean a new start for Israel (Ezekiel 17:22). God will bless Israel's people by the land. He will keep them safe too. It will be God's shade that they will live in. Sometimes the Book of Psalms uses the same idea of shade (Psalm 17:8; 91:1).
They will grow well like grain.
They will grow well like a vine.
They will be famous like the wine from Lebanon.
8 Ephraim's people, I do not want to see any more idols.
I will answer the people's prayers. I will show an interest in them.
I am like a tree that is always green.
Your fruit comes from me.’
9 A wise person understands these things.
A wise person learns about these things.
The things that the Lord does are correct.
Good people will live because of these things.
But sinners will be like someone who falls down because of these things.
14:9The way that God does things is right. A silly person would not listen. There will be trouble for people who do not obey. But a wise person will obey the Lord (Psalm 18:22). He will choose to do the right things.