September 5

Read Ezekiel 17 -- 19

In Today's Reading:

Parable of the eagles; judgment upon bad conduct; blessings for good conduct; sorrow over the leaders of Israel

Ezekiel was given another parable: A great eagle (Nebuchadnezzar) with great wings . . . full of feathers, which had divers (many) colors, came to Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: He cropped off the top of its young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffic (traders); he set it in a city of merchants (Ezekiel 17:1-4).

This parable illustrates the vast extent of Nebuchadnezzar's dominion. The eagle's feathers represent the great number of conquered nations. Removing the top represented the removal of Judah's king (17:12). The highest branch symbolized Jehoiachin, the youthful king of Judah, and a city of merchants indicated where he would be taken by Nebuchadnezzar, to Babylon. Eventually, out of the people came a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him (Nebuchadnezzar) (17:6).

There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers (Egypt): and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him (17:7). The Lord God told Ezekiel to tell the people: Thus says the Lord God; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof . . . that it wither? (17:9). The purpose of this important prophecy was to warn King Zedekiah not to betray his oath of submission to Nebuchadnezzar by forming an alliance with Egypt. The vow made to Nebuchadnezzar and sworn to in God's Name was binding (Numbers 30:2, II Chronicles 36:13).

However, in the ninth year of his reign, King Zedekiah made a military treaty with Egypt. As a consequence, Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and the people suffered many months of famine and pestilence before the city and Temple were utterly destroyed.

Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Judah could have been averted if Zedekiah had honorably kept his vow. We too are obligated to keep promises made in the Name of God, even when they are made with the unsaved (Psalm 15:4.) There are always consequences when we break our promises, whether it be a marriage vow or a business transaction. If a man vow a vow (make a pledge) to the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul (obligate himself) with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth (Numbers 30:2).

For example, the vow made by Joshua to the Gibeonites was still valid some 400 years later when Saul broke it by slaying the Gibeonites. Consequently, Saul's actions brought a three-year famine upon Israel (Joshua 9:15; II Samuel 21:1). Zedekiah was warned, but chose unwisely to disobey God's instruction. When you vow a vow to God, defer not to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools: pay that which you have vowed. . . . Allow not your mouth to cause your flesh to sin (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).

Christ Revealed:

As the One Whose forgiveness provides life everlasting (Ezekiel 18:20-22). For God so loved the world (the people of the world), that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life ( John 3:16).

Word Study:

17:18 had given his hand = pledged his word; 18:8 given forth upon . . . taken any increase = loaned money at interest; 18:25 equal = just, fair.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Barbara Bivens · Pray for Bible Pathway Faith Promise Supporters · the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by the Mantychs · Government Officials: Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL) and Rep. Ric Keller (FL) · Country: Samoa (190,000) in the South Pacific · Major languages: Samoan and English · Religious freedom · 68% Protestant; 21% Roman Catholic; 9% cults; 2% Baha'i · Prayer Suggestion: Praise God for the power of His Word (Hebrews 4:12).

Optional Reading: Revelation 10

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28