1 Israel, you fell and sinned against God. So come back to the Lord your God. 2 Think about the things you will say. And come back to the Lord. Say to him, “Take away our sin. Accept our good ˻words˼. We offer you the praise from our lips. 3 “Assyria will not save us. We will not ride on ˻war˼ horses. We will never again say, 'Our God’ to something we made with our hands. Why? Because you are the One who shows mercy to orphans.” 4 The Lord says, “I will forgive them for leaving me. I will love them freely, because I have stopped being angry. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel. Israel will blossom like the lily. He will grow like the cedar trees of Lebanon. 6 His branches will grow, and he will be like a beautiful olive tree. He will be like the sweet smell from the cedar trees of Lebanon. 7 The people of Israel will again live under my protection. They will grow like grain. They will bloom like a vine. They will be like the wine of Lebanon.” 8 “Ephraim, I will have nothing more to do with idols. I am the One who answers your prayers. I am the One who watches over you. I am like a fir tree that is always green. Your fruit comes from me.” 9 A wise person understands these things. A smart person should learn these things. The Lord’s ways are right. Good people will live by them. Sinners will die by them.