1 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for your sins have brought you down.
2 Bring your petitions, and return to the LORD. Say to him, "Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise.
3 Assyria cannot save us, nor can our strength in battle. Never again will we call the idols we have made `our gods.' No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy."
4 The LORD says, "Then I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever!
5 I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. It will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon.
6 Its branches will spread out like those of beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedar forests of Lebanon.
7 My people will return again to the safety of their land. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.
8 "O Israel,* stay away from idols! I am the one who looks after you and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green, giving my fruit to you all through the year."1
9 Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way.
Read Joel 1