Sept. 5, 2009
Read Ezekiel 17
Highlights In Today's Reading:
Two eagles, symbolic of Babylon and Egypt, and three kings. The last two kings of Israel are replaced with the Lord Himself (17:22-24; see Is. 11:1). A just God deals with sinners (18:19-24). Turn and live (18:31-32; 19:14).
Ezekiel warned the Israelites that, because of their sins, they had become unfruitful to God and would, as a worthless vine, be destroyed. Ezekiel was given another parable: The Word of the Lord came unto me, saying . . . a great eagle (Nebuchadnezzar) with great wings . . . full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon (symbolic of Jerusalem, since the Temple and many of the houses were built of the cedars of Lebanon (I Kin. 5:2-10), and took the highest branch (the king) of the cedar (tree): He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants (Ezek. 17:1-4).
The eagle's feathers represent the great number of nations Nebuchadnezzar had conquered. Removing the highest branch represents the removal of Judah's king (17:12). The top of his young twigs symbolized Jehoiachin, youthful king of Judah, and a city of merchants (Babylon) where he would be taken by Nebuchadnezzar for 37 years (II Kin. 25:27-30).
Eventually, there was a spreading vine of low stature (Zedekiah), whose branches turned toward him (Ezek. 17:6). Zedekiah had taken an oath in the Name of the Lord God of Israel to administer the Kingdom of Judah in subjection to Nebuchadnezzar (II Chr. 36:13). But Zedekiah deceitfully made a covenant with Egypt. His disregard for truth resulted in untold miseries.
No one can escape the consequences of disobedience to the Word of God. God is the God of love, but He is also the God of perfect justice. Genuine repentance, turning to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness of all sins, is a sincere desire to faithfully do His will according to His Word. The people suffered many horrible months of famine and pestilence before the city and Temple were destroyed. After Zedekiah watched the ruthless murder of his sons, the Babylonians then gouged his eyes out. Afterwards, he was dragged in chains to Babylon where he died in prison, physically and spiritually blind (Jer. 52:1-11), thus proving once again that you can be sure that God will fulfill every detail of His Word. The amazing prophecy was fulfilled: Thus saith the Lord God . . . I will bring him (King Zedekiah) to Babylon . . . yet he shall not see it, though he shall die there (Ezek. 12:10,13).
Thought for Today:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever (Is. 40:8).
As the One whose forgiveness provides life everlasting (Ezek. 18:20-22). God so loved (the people of) the world, that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
17:18 had given his hand = pledged his word; 18:8 not given forth upon usury . . . taken any increase = loaned money at no interest; 18:25 not equal = unfair.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Joyce Rutherford • Government Official: Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL) • Country: Burkina Faso (11 million) in western Africa • Major languages: French and Sudanic tribal languages • Religious freedom • 48% Muslim; 33% belief in false gods, idolatry, and heathenism; 14% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to deliver you from willful sins (Ps. 19:13).
Optional Reading: Revelation 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 11:28