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Bible Pathways - Sept. 5, 2006

Ezekiel 17

In Today's Scripture 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) colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick (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, and 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 saith 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) unto 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 thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for He hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).

Christ Revealed:

As the One whose forgiveness provides life everlasting (Ezekiel 18:20-22). For God so loved (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 =b> pledged his word; 18:8 given forth upon usury . . . taken any increase =b> loaned money at interest; 18:25 equal =b> fair.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Joyce Rutherford's birthday ยท Staff: Letha Hash Government Officials: Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL), Rep. Ric Keller (FL), and Gov. Brian Schweitzer (MT) Country: Kenya (29 million) in eastern Africa Major languages: English and Swahili Religious freedom 46% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% belief in mystical powers; 6% Muslim; 3% Eastern Orthodox Prayer Suggestion: Remember that nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14).

Optional Reading: Revelation 10

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 103:10

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