Ezekiel 17

On Eagle’s Wings.

“And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I said!” – Ezekiel 17:24 NLT

I’m not particularly fond of riddles. I don’t like puzzles and guessing games drive me crazy. No, I tend to like answers, not questions. I prefer clarity over confusion. So when God speaks in riddles and parables, I find myself getting a bit uncomfortable. I want answers and I don’t want to have to search too hard to find them. So when this chapter started off with a riddle, I was less than excited. But fortunately, this is one of those cases where God doesn’t leave us guessing what the riddle means. He graciously provides an explanation so there’s absolutely no confusion as to what He is trying to say.

A giant eagle swoops down and plucks off the top of a cedar tree, carrying it off to a city far away. The eagle also took a seedling and planted it by a river where it grew into a vine with deep roots and strong branches. This healthy, growing vine, while prosperous, turned its attention to another eagle, in search for water, even though it was doing just fine right where it was. It had plenty of good soil and water, but was not satisfied. So God says that He will uproot this vine, cut off its fruit and leave it to whither and die right in the soil where it had been prospering. What in the world is going on here? Well, God tells us. The first eagle represents Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. He “swooped” down with his troops, invaded Jerusalem and took Jehoiachin, king of Judah as his prisoner back to Babylon. He then set up another puppet king named Zedekiah (the seedling) on the throne of Jerusalem. Zedekiah made a covenant with Nebuchadnezzar – an oath of loyalty. As lone as he kept that oath, the nation prospered. But Zedekiah decided to rebel and turned to Egypt (the second eagle) for assistance. He broke his covenant with Nebuchadnezzar. As a result, Jerusalem was invaded again, the city was leveled, the Temple destroyed and Zedekiah was taken captive to Babylon, where he had his eyes gouged out. 

But God is not finished with the explanation. There is another “eagle” revealed, and it’s Him. He says that a day is coming when He will take another branch from the top of a cedar tree and plant it on Israel’s highest mountain. This branch is Jesus, the Messiah. We are told about this branch in the book of Jeremiah. “‘For the time is coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: “The Lord Is Our Righteousness.” In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety‘” (Jeremiah 23:5-6 NLT). There is a day coming when Jesus will return to the earth and set up His kingdom in Jerusalem, where He will reign for 1,000 years. Babylon, Egypt, the United States, Russian, China, Great Britain, and all the other nations of the earth are no match for the plan of God. Babylon was a tool in the hands of God to accomplish His divine will. He has a greater plan in place. He is out to accomplish His will in His way and on His time table. When God completes His plan all people will know that He has been in control all along, cutting down the tall tree and making the short tree grow, withering the green tree and giving new life to the dead one. God is sovereign and in complete control. That is the way He starts out this whole chapter. “Son of man, give this riddle, and tell this story to the people of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 17:2 NLT).

Father, You truly are the Sovereign Lord. You have always been in control, even back during the days of Ezekiel. And You are just as much in control today. Never let us lose sight of the fact that You are sovereign and Lord over ALL things, including kings, presidents, countries, continents, time, space, past, present and future. We can trust You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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