God laments the stubbornness of his chosen beloved, the children of Israel. I too am stubborn.
1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 But the more they were called, the more they went away from me.[a]
Though he loves them, they are unfaithful.
They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.
No, they don’t want his love, and their stubbornness rules.
5 “Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them
because they refuse to repent?
In fact, he’s had enough. Wrath sweeps him.
6 A sword will flash in their cities; it will devour their false prophets and put an end to their plans.
7 My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them.
But he hesitates, remembering his love for his children.
8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah?
How can I make you like Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.
9 I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man— the Holy One among you. I will not come against their cities.
In fact he has another plan to call them back to himself.
10 They will follow the LORD; he will roar like a lion. When he roars,
his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come from Egypt, trembling like sparrows,
from Assyria, fluttering like doves.
I will settle them in their homes,” declares the LORD.
And I, the rebellious child, can be comforted that the Lion of Judah roars to call me to come home. Trembling like a sparrow, I return to him.
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