Ezekiel 17

Ezekiel 17 has the prophet receiving a riddle or parable for God’s people.  This is about a great eagle and a twig being planted in good soil beside abundant waters.  “So it became a vine and produced branches and put out boughs”.  So far so good, right?  But in the appearance of good growth, God asks this question.  “Thus says the Lord God: Will it thrive”?  That is a very good question.  God’s desire for us as Christ Followers is not survival.  He desires us to thrive.  He wants us to experience the abundant life that Jesus promised.

The issue from the parable is that these growing vines can easily be killed.  The roots are not deep and established.  We experience this with our crops in years where moisture is plentiful and the roots don’t have to go down deep to find the needed water.  Those years, which it would seem on the surface should be good ones, often disappoint because the roots are not strong enough to handle any adversity, and they don’t spread far and deep enough to get adequate nutrients from the soil.  We only grow when we are stretched beyond our comfort.  Roots only truly grow during adverse conditions.

The moral of the story is that God’s people won’t thrive, and most won’t even survive, because they “despised the oath in breaking the covenant”.  They chose to take things into their own hands and do them their own way leaving behind God’s plan and direction.  They ran to Egypt for help rather than leaning on God.  They now face disaster as “all the pick of his troops shall fall by the sword, and the survivors shall be scattered to every wind, and you shall know that I am the Lord”.  When we insist on doing things our way, we will get our results, not God’s, and that is not usually very good.

The reality is that God alone is in control.  He alone determines the outcome of life.  He ends the chapter with this truth: “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”.  There really isn’t much else that needs to be said.  God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is the author of life, and history.  He will do all that He has said.  We just need to walk in obedience to His direction for our lives and experience the goodness of His hand!

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