Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Tender Twig

August 31: Ezekiel 16-17

1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, propound a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel; 3 say, Thus says the Lord God: A great eagle with great wings and long pinions, rich in plumage of many colors, came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar. 4 He broke off the topmost of its young twigs and carried it to a land of trade and set it in a city of merchants. 5 Then he took of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil. He placed it beside abundant waters. He set it like a willow twig, 6 and it sprouted and became a low spreading vine, and its branches turned toward him, and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out boughs.

7 “And there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage, and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him from the bed where it was planted, that he might water it. 8 It had been planted on good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.

22 Thus says the Lord God: “I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.”
Ezekiel 171-8 & 22-24

A Tender Twig

We are given a riddle in today's reading from Ezekiel 17; I have not included the entire chapter, but you may want to take the time to read it. In this riddle a great and lofty eagle came to Lebanon and took a tender twig from the top of a cedar tree. This twig was transported a land of trade and merchants. The eagle then took another tender twig from the top of the cedar and planted it by the water where it flourished, and turned its vines toward him.

However, there was another great eagle with beautiful plumage, and this vine which was planted in its own land bent its roots and turned its vines toward this other eagle. The question is then asked, "Will this vine prosper?"

What can all of this mean? This story is just a recap of the events we have been reading; the first eagle was Nebuchadnezzar who came to Lebanon (Jerusalem) and transported most of the people to his own country of trade. He then planted a second tree in Judah (Zedekiah) and proclaimed him to be the new King of Judah. Did Zedekiah and the people remain true to Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon? No, they did not! In a short time they turned their eyes to the king of Egypt for help; was Egypt able to protect them from the Babylonians? Just as in this story, they, along with Egypt, were powerless before Nebuchadnezzar.

Now, look to the very last paragraph of Ezekiel 17 (verses 22-24). What is God's response to this riddle?

“I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar."

Who is powerful enough to stand before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Neither Nebuchadnezzar or any man from then until the end of time is able to stand before the Lord of Hosts. Even Satan and all of his angels will one day bow before our God and give glory to Him.

My favorite sentence in this entire chapter is found at the very end of verse 24:

"I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it."

There it is--from the annals of the Old Testament God proclaims His faithfulness to His people. As Christians, we are part of the fruits of a tender twig planted by Christ. The time will come when all men will acknowledge God and know who He is.

And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish.

What in our entire lives can matter more than this? Our very souls hang on that question!

He is the Lord; He has spoken, and He will do it!

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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