In Today's Scripture Reading:
Judgment pronounced upon elders of Israel and Jerusalem; parable of the vine; promises of future blessings under New Covenant
Although the Israelites regularly offered sacrifices to God, they also worshiped the heathen idols of other nations. Consequently, the Israelites were brought under the control of Nebuchadnezzar, who took thousands of them captive. Once again, certain elders of Israel (Ezekiel 14:1) came to consult Ezekiel, as if they desired to know the will of God. But the Lord revealed their hypocrisy to Ezekiel, saying: These men have set up their idols in their heart. . . . Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations (detestable practices). . . . That the house of Israel . . . may be My people, and I may be their God (14:3,6,11).
To illustrate their one purpose as the people of God, the Lord presented a parable to Ezekiel: How is the vine tree (the grapevine which was often used by God to illustrate the Israelites) more than any tree . . . of the forest? Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin (stake) of it to hang any vessel thereon? Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel (15:2-4; also Genesis 49:22; Deuteronomy 32:32; Psalm 80:8-11; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1). Every Israelite knew that the grapevine was valued only for its fruit and was worthless for making anything useful or of lasting value.
The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel (Isaiah 5:7). Ezekiel also spoke of the vine as representing Israel, chosen of God to let the world know there was only One True God, who would bless all who honored Him by keeping His Word. But the vine had failed to produce fruit; consequently, the only alternative was for it to be uprooted and cast into the fire (Ezekiel 15:4,7). This illustrated the Israelites being uprooted from the promised land and forced to live in Babylon.
The righteous judgment of God upon those in Jerusalem had to be consistent with the great privileges they had willfully forsaken. But the principles of God's Word are still true today. No whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (Ephesians 5:5-6).
In the everlasting Covenant (Ezekiel 16:60). He is the Mediator of a better Covenant (Agreement) (Hebrews 8:6).
16:8 I spread My skirt over thee =b> symbolic of marriage (Ruth 3:9; Deuteronomy 22:30); 16:25 opened thy feet =b> played the harlot; 16:30 imperious =b> hard, shameless; 16:31 eminent place =b> mound or high place for pagan shrine; 16:43 fretted =b> provoked to anger.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts to the Glory of God • Staff: Dr. John A. Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Bob Filner (CA), Gov. Brian Schweitzer (MT), and Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY) • Country: Greece (10.5 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Greek and English • Government restrictions on witnessing to others about Christ • 87% Orthodox; 8% Old Calendar Orthodox; 2% Catholic; 1.2% Muslim; .5% Jehovah's Witness; .3% Protestant; 1% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray, in faith, for God to work a miracle (II Kings 4:33-34).
Optional Reading: Revelation 9
Memory Verse for the Week: Daniel 12:3