Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verses 1-24
Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verses 1 – 4
- (A pinion is the outer part of a bird’s wing including the flight feathers) The first great eagle is Nebuchadnezzar in the parable. The highest branch of the cedar is the house of David, the king, who at that particular time was Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim had died fighting Nebuchadnezzar, his son Jehoiachin had taken the throne but Nebuchadnezzar had taken him captive back to Babylon.
Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verses 5 – 6
- The spreading vine of low stature was Zedekiah (meaning “God’s justice, his original name was Mattaniah, “hope of the Lord”) who was the brother of Jehoiakim, both sons of Josiah, and the uncle to the captured king, Jehoiachin.
Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verses 7 – 8
- Zedekiah had sworn allegiance to Babylon but had instead gone to Egypt to make an alliance to come up against the Babylonian army. And so next, Ezekiel predicts the failure of the Egyptian alliance.
Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verses 9 – 10
- This is an interesting question, and really a proclamation of defeat. I wonder if things would have been different if they had turned to the Lord rather than to Egypt. Egypt in the Bible is always a picture of the world, the flesh…the sensual, the here and now…and its interesting that the question is posed first, “Will it thrive?” The word in the Hebrew is, “profit, succeed, prosper.” Will it turn any profit at all?
- It may endure…it may, “make it through,” but ultimately and the point I want to briefly make here is that I’m not interested in working for no profit! I’m not interested in spending my time and my life on a path of no success! I don’t want to “make it through,” my day, my 20s, my 30s, my 40s, my week…I want what I spend my life (time) on to be something of worth and value…and partnering with the flesh is not that path. Look at what defeats it…
- Roots that are easily pulled up…we have this rock bed at my house and its literally huge! And every couple of weeks we go out and de-weed it and some of the weeds are pretty tall…and they look like its going to be a real struggle to pull them up but I literally just put my hand on them and they come right up…they have no strength in where they are planted…the roots are weak…
- The wind especially causes it to fail…winds of change, think of it that way…the winds of the circumstance, the problems, the challenges, the situations and people that blow in and out of life like the wind and there is no strength to endure, but rather it Four times that word is used in two verses. Literally it means to dry up…dried up plants are just about the worst…but that is the result of doing things using the ways of the flesh rather than learning the kung-fu of the Spirit (ha!).
Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verses 11 – 15
- This is fascinating! The indictment that God is bringing against the king of Israel, Zedekiah, is that he broke his covenant not with God, but with Babylon. Why? Because as people of God, they and we are also charged to be people of our word.
- Jesus taught in Matthew 5:33-36, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”
- We should never have to back up what we’ve said with some sort of statement or phrase of fidelity. I promise. I swear. And so on. What that means is that our statement is not strong enough to stand on its own. Either to us or the hearer. Even though Zedekiah was rebelling against a pagan king, breaking his word to a godless ruler, God still took offense to it…why? Because it is a poor representation of Him.
- God never has, never does and never will break any of His Word in any way whatsoever. No matter what happens, no matter the circumstance, 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” And this is one of the most powerfully amazing things about Him! Because for anyone that would take the time to hear Him, receive and learn His Word, He to them is a stronghold. Never changing. Never failing. Always faithful. Powerfully trustworthy and never betraying! Psalm 91:4 says that, “His truth shall be your shield and buckler!” The strength of His faithfulness holds me together…because no matter what the deal is, I can trust Him, He will be faithful!
- And so, no matter who we are pledging to…our word is our witness because we are Christians, God’s people…and if you cannot trust us then why on earth would you trust our God…?
- And this turning to Egypt in the breaking of the covenant with Babylon is so very tragic for yet another reason. God had promised the people of Israel to make them as numerous as the sand of the sea and yet now they cry out to Egypt for support, horses…and look, many people. This is a picture of the struggle we all face as the spirit wars against the flesh.
- The flesh says, there….there’s people. Lots of them. That’s what you need and you need it now. Strength in numbers. Go get that. And we feel like it just makes sense. But the spirit says, “Wait, trust the Lord. Why go get from the world what the Lord has already promised?” I’ll tell you why…so that I can have it now! But the sick result is that you don’t get it…as sensical and practical and available as it all looks…the flesh promises you prosperity and delivers poverty.
- Now, big thought, and here’s where faith must activate, in the spirit, its almost always the exact opposite. In all sensical practicality, the spirit, the path of trusting God that DOES lead to life, looks as if it will promise you poverty but in the end will deliver to you prosperity! Think on this. Jesus traded an entire heaven that served Him for an entire world that scorned Him
- …and yet that was the path of life, salvation and righteousness. Weak faith finds no prosperity…because you have to have faith to walk into poverty trusting God will see you through. And He will by the way…ALWAYS.
Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verse 16
- Know this or if you already do, don’t forget this…we serve a God that lives. God is not above life or separate from life, He invented life! It came from Him. He is the Agent of life! It is the very breath that He breathes! All of this life is from Him…He wrote the code and presides over it in life still today!
Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verses 17 – 18
- “Gave his hand,” speaks of the hand-shake. There was a time when a person’s word and their hand-shake was enough…we are far from those times! And what God says here will indeed come to pass, (duh). Zedekiah was indeed brought to Babylon after his treachery was discovered and Nebuchadnezzar came back a third time to Jerusalem and this time it was over…Zedekiah was taken to Babylon and died there.
Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verses 19 – 21
- Which covenant was broken? The one to God or the one to Babylon? The answer is yes! Our word to our fellow man is indeed our word before God! But there’s even a deeper meaning… In all of this…we read here again why this will happen to them…so that they will know that God is the Lord. 70 times…70 times we will read that throughout this book and that is significant! In fact, it points to the whole reason that Israel will fall to Babylon. Why?
- Because it would be after 70 years of exile that the Jewish people would be allowed by God to return to Jerusalem. Which, by the way, was of course perfectly fulfilled in 537 BC when King Cyrus of Persia permitted the return of the people and the rebuilding of the city and temple. But why? Why 70? It is all linked back to the commandment of God for the people to keep the Sabbath and that didn’t only pertain to the work week but also to their years.
- Leviticus 25:1-5, “And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land.” And then in verse 18 we read, “So you shall observe My statutes and keep My judgments, and perform them; and you will dwell in the land in safety.”
- The issue is…they had not done this…in fact they found ways to technically do this…by letting each field rest one year out of the seven, but God never gave this command for the fields to observe the Sabbath year, but for the people. For 490 years, seventy sabbath years were missed…and so God essentially got them back and removed the people from the land entirely for a 70-year period.
Ezekiel Chapter 17 Verses 22 – 24
- The great eagle falls, the lesser eagle falls but God speaks of one yet to come that will be established and will not fall. And its curious that He gives us where this new One will be established, “On a high and prominent mountain.” I’d like to suggest a meaning of this and leave you with an exhortation. Matthew 4:8-11, “The devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” The rejection of serving self, the resolution and finality of settling that you serve the Lord, not just to understand or to know grace but to walk in it in communion, partnership with God, there is where Jesus was established and where each one of us are as well.