New International Reader's Version

Hosea 14

The Lord Blesses Those Who Turn Away From Sin

1Israel, return to the Lord your God.
    Your sins have destroyed you!
Tell the Lord you are turning away from your sins.
    Return to him.
Say to him,
    “Forgive us for all our sins.
Please be kind to us.
    Welcome us back to you.
    Then our lips will offer you our praise.
Assyria can’t save us.
    We won’t trust in our war horses.
Our own hands have made statues of gods.
    But we will never call them our gods again.
We are like children whose fathers have died.
    But you show us your tender love.”

Then the Lord will answer,

“My people always wander away from me.
    But I will put an end to that.
My anger has turned away from them.
    Now I will love them freely.
I will be like the dew to Israel.
    They will bloom like a lily.
They will send their roots down deep
    like a cedar tree in Lebanon.
They will spread out like new branches.
    They will be as beautiful as an olive tree.
    They will smell as sweet as the cedar trees in Lebanon.
Once again my people will live
    in the safety of my shade.
    They will grow like grain.
They will bloom like vines.
    And Israel will be as famous
    as wine from Lebanon.
Ephraim will have nothing more to do with other gods.
    I will answer the prayers of my people.
    I will take good care of them.
I will be like a healthy juniper tree to them.
    All the fruit they bear will come from me.”

If someone is wise, they will realize
    that what I’ve said is true.
If they have understanding,
    they will know what it means.
The ways of the Lord are right.
    People who are right with God live the way he wants them to.
    But those who refuse to obey him trip and fall.

The Message

Hosea 14

Come Back! Return to Your God!

11-3 O Israel, come back! Return to your God!
    You’re down but you’re not out.
Prepare your confession
    and come back to God.
Pray to him, “Take away our sin,
    accept our confession.
Receive as restitution
    our repentant prayers.
Assyria won’t save us;
    horses won’t get us where we want to go.
We’ll never again say ‘our god’
    to something we’ve made or made up.
You’re our last hope. Is it not true
    that in you the orphan finds mercy?”

4-8 “I will heal their waywardness.
    I will love them lavishly. My anger is played out.
I will make a fresh start with Israel.
    He’ll burst into bloom like a crocus in the spring.
He’ll put down deep oak tree roots,
    he’ll become a forest of oaks!
He’ll become splendid—like a giant sequoia,
    his fragrance like a grove of cedars!
Those who live near him will be blessed by him,
    be blessed and prosper like golden grain.
Everyone will be talking about them,
    spreading their fame as the vintage children of God.
Ephraim is finished with gods that are no-gods.
    From now on I’m the one who answers and satisfies him.
I am like a luxuriant fruit tree.
    Everything you need is to be found in me.”

If you want to live well,
    make sure you understand all of this.
If you know what’s good for you,
    you’ll learn this inside and out.
God’s paths get you where you want to go.
    Right-living people walk them easily;
    wrong-living people are always tripping and stumbling.