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 nations he had conquered. Removing the highest branch symbolized Jehoiachin, king of Judah; a city of merchants was Babylon where he would be taken captive.
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). Zedekiah was warned but chose unwisely to disobey God's instruction.
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, 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 promise) to the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul (obligate himself) with a bond; he shall not break his word (Numbers 30:2).
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 (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).
As the One whose forgiveness provides life everlasting (Ezekiel 18:20-22). For He (God) has made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21; John 3:16).
17:18 had given his hand = pledged his word; 18:8 given forth upon . . . taken any increase = loaned money at interest; 18:25 equal = fair.
Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL) and Rep. Ric Keller (FL) · Country: Portugal (10 million) in western Europe · Major language: Portuguese · Limited religious freedom · 90% Roman Catholic; .75% Protestant
Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to enable you to endure temptation (James 1:12).
Optional Reading: Revelation 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 12:19