"Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.
For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?"
This is really interesting... in the initial verse it seems like God is telling us that he isn't going to send down a lightning bolt from heaven to tell us that we have screwed up, and to punish us... we get sufficiently punished by the consequences of our disobedience. I think this works for me at least... I know that when I do something that isn't right, I look at myself and realize how much I don't want to be a person who does things like that... I don't want to be lazy and cruel and selfish... or whatever it is that particular day... and knowing who I am when I act that way is a big deterrent. Also... I realize how much help I need to change... and until I get on my knees and ask God to help me, and overcome the mistake that I made... I don't have access to that help.
Then, the next verse seems to me to be talking about consistency. We try to make things cool between ourselves and God... promise him that we'll do good... but as soon as that guilt-of-the-moment is gone... we're back out there... wandering under every green tree. :) When God rescues us from the pain of realizing who we are becoming when we screw up... then we need to *change* and become someone better... or we are back to the first verse that told us that we'll be punished by the very mistakes we keep making.
Then the last verse is interesting too... talking about who we are truly... we have the capacity and everything we need to be pure and clean and good... and more than that... amazing and abundant... we have the ability to change the world... to make not only our lives, but other people's lives better. So, since that is what God planted, don't believe it when you look at yourself and see a weed that needs to be pulled. We are punished by our mistakes, but it doesn't change our natures... we are good and true and have the capacity for divinity. If we can remember that, maybe we can break the cycle.