So they put away the strange gods from among them, and became the Lord's servants; and his soul was angry because of the sorrows of Israel.
It was no sent one or angel, but he himself who was their saviour: in his love and in his pity he took up their cause, and he took them in his arms, caring for them all through the years.
But when their cry came to his ears, he had pity on their trouble:
And the Lord had sorrow because he had made man on the earth, and grief was in his heart.
For the Lord will be judge of his people, he will have pity for his servants; when he sees that their power is gone, there is no one, shut up or free.
Then, he said, put away the strange gods among you, turning your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.
If my people, on whom my name is named, make themselves low and come to me in prayer, searching for me and turning from their evil ways; then I will give ear from heaven, overlooking their sin, and will give life again to their land.
And Asa, hearing these words of Azariah, the son of Oded the prophet, took heart and put away all the disgusting things out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the towns which he had taken from the hill-country of Ephraim; and he made new again the altar of the Lord in front of the covered way of the Lord's house.
He took away the strange gods and the image out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars he had put up on the hill of the Lord's house and in Jerusalem, and put them out of the town.
Whenever I say anything about uprooting a nation or a kingdom, and smashing it and sending destruction on it;
Is Ephraim my dear son? is he the child of my delight? for whenever I say things against him, I still keep him in my memory: so my heart is troubled for him; I will certainly have mercy on him, says the Lord.
For this cause I will be your judge, O children of Israel, judging every man by his ways, says the Lord. Come back and be turned from all your sins; so that they may not be the cause of your falling into evil.
How may I give you up, O Ephraim? how may I be your saviour, O Israel? how may I make you like Admah? how may I do to you as I did to Zeboim? My heart is turned in me, it is soft with pity.
O Israel, come back to the Lord your God; for your evil-doing has been the cause of your fall.
As for Ephraim, what has he to do with false gods any longer? I have given an answer and I will keep watch over him; I am like a branching fir-tree, from me comes your fruit.
And he got up and went to his father. But while he was still far away, his father saw him and was moved with pity for him and went quickly and took him in his arms and gave him a kiss.
And be kind to one another, full of pity, having forgiveness for one another, even as God in Christ had forgiveness for you.
So that I was angry with this generation, and I said, Their hearts are in error at all times, and they have no knowledge of my ways;
For we have not a high priest who is not able to be touched by the feelings of our feeble flesh; but we have one who has been tested in all points as we ourselves are tested, but without sin.