Starts with God calling for Israel to return to Him, an appeal for their repentance to receive His response that was promised in verses 4-8.
“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall!” (v1)Psalm 130:7-8 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
“Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously that we may offer the fruit of our lips.’” (v2)
God doesn’t want sacrifices of goats and doves. He wants true genuine repentance and words of love and the asking forgiveness.
The people realize that it is not Assyria or any people that can save them. No man made idols or statues can be their Rescuer or Redeemer.
“in you the fatherless find compassion.” (v3)Psalm 68:5 “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.” (NKJV)
Thank you Lord, for being a Father to orphans and a Protector of the weak. You give compassion to those who need it most in this life.
“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” (v4)
God loves them freely. Not because He has to to or because they deserve it, but because He is good. The burning anger of destruction God had earlier in the book is contrasted here.
I can picture a disobedient child that has been acting out all day, but when he sincerely apologizes to his father that night, all the anger and punishment that the father had to give to his child is melted away with them love between them.
“I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow.” (v5)
Dew comes in the coolness of night and brings with it the refreshingness of a new morning.
Love and faith in God will cause beauty and growth, blossoming like a lily and the growing of roots.
“His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.” (v6)
The Lebanon Cedar tree that is only found in Lebanon, Israel, northwest Jordan, western Syria, and south central Turkey. The word “Cedar” is mentioned 75 times in the Bible. It is burned at The Mount of Olives to celebrate the New Year and used to build King Solomon and King David’s palaces.
“Men will dwell again in his shade. He will flourish like the grain. He will blossom like a vine, and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon.” (v7)
The shade is His protection.Judges 9:15 “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’”
“O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?” (v8)Psalm 106:20 “They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass.”
“I am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me.” (v8)Genesis 41:52 “The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew word for “twice fruitful”Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.”
“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The way of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” (v9)
The reader is given a choice: walk or stumble, obey or rebel.Psalm 18:21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. Thank you Lord for Your Word and Your unending love. You choose to love unconditionally and we have been given a choice. We can choose to walk with you and be wise and understand or rebel and stumble through this life in the dark. Thank You for being the Light to our path.