God is the Loving Father of His People
1When Israel was a child [a young nation], I loved him,
And I called My son out of Egypt.
The more they [the prophets] called them [to repentance and obedience],
The more they went away from them;
They kept sacrificing to the Baals
And burning incense to the carved images.
Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk,
Taking them in My arms [nurturing the young nation];
But they did not know that I healed them.
I led them gently with cords of a man, with bonds of love [guiding them],
And I was to them as one who lifts up and eases the yoke [of the law] over their jaws;
And I bent down to them and fed them.
They will not return to the land of Egypt,
But Assyria will be their king [bringing them into captivity]
Because they refused to return to Me.
The sword will whirl against and fall on their cities,
And will demolish the bars of their gates and fortifications
And will consume them because of their counsels.
My people are bent on turning from Me;
Though the prophets call them to the One on high,
None at all exalts Him.
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like [a]Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within Me;
All My compassions are kindled together [for My nation of Israel].
I will not execute the fierceness of My anger;
I will not return to Ephraim to destroy him again.
For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst [who will not revoke My covenant],
And I will not come in wrath or enter the city [in judgment].
They will walk after the Lord [in obedience and worship],
Who will roar like a lion;
He will roar [summoning them]
And His sons will come trembling from the west.
They will come trembling and hurriedly like birds from Egypt
And like doves from the land of Assyria;
And I will settle them in their houses [in the land of their inheritance], declares the Lord.
Ephraim surrounds Me with lies
And the house of Israel with deceit;
Judah is also unruly against God,
Even against the faithful Holy One.