Return to the Lord!
1 Israel's people, return to the Lord your God!
Your sins have caused you to fall down.
2 Return to the Lord and pray to him! Say to him,
‘Please forgive all our sins.
Be kind to us as we come to you.
We will praise you with our mouths, as our sacrifice to you.
3 Assyria cannot save us.
The horses that we ride into war will not keep us safe.
We will never again say to the idols that we have made, “You are our gods.”
You are kind to children who have no family.
So please be kind to us.’
4 The Lord says,
‘My people turned away from me, but I will forgive them.
I will love them very much.
I will not be angry with them any more.
5 I will bless Israel's people, like rain that falls on dry ground.
They will grow like beautiful flowers.
They will have strong roots, like the great trees in Lebanon.
6 They will grow like a tree that makes new branches.
They will be beautiful like olive trees.
They will have a sweet smell, like the forests in Lebanon.
7 I will give my people shade to live in safely.
They will plant crops that give them plenty of food.
They will be successful, like a vine that gives many grapes.
They will be famous, like the wine from Lebanon.
14:7The trees and the plants are a picture of the way that God will bless his people. God will keep them safe and he will provide the things that they need.
8 People of Ephraim, do not let me see your idols any more!
I will answer your prayers. I will take care of you.
I am like a strong green tree.
All the good things that you have come from me.’
9 If you are wise, you should understand these things.
If you understand, think carefully about them.
The Lord teaches you to live in ways that are right.
Righteous people live in those good ways.
But people who turn against the Lord fall down and lose their way.
14:9God teaches us to live in good ways that please him. If we are wise, we will let him teach us to do things that are right.