The Father selected three chapters this evening, Ezekiel 17-19 and Jeremiah 33.

 

In Ezekiel 17 the Lord uses a parable of three eagles to describe the events that followed the Lord’s judgment of His “rebellious” people. He brought King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army (here referred to as a “great eagle with large wings and long pinions” v.2) against His people and their land.   He explains the meaning of the parable:

Ezekiel17 (NKJV)

The Eagles and the Vine

11 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 12 “Say now to the rebellious house: ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ Tell them, ‘Indeed the king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and took its king and princes (“the seed of the land,” v. 5), and led them with him to Babylon. 13 And he took the king’s offspring, (Zedekiah) made a covenant with him, and put him under oath. He also took away the mighty of the land, 14 that the kingdom might be brought low and not lift itself up, but that by keeping his covenant it might stand. 15 But he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and many people. Will he prosper? Will he who does such things escape? Can he break a covenant and still be delivered

Zedekiah broke his agreement, his covenant with Nebuchadnezzar in order to make another agreement with the king of Egypt.

16 As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘surely in the place where the king dwells who made him king, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke—with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die. 17 Nor will Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company do anything in the war, when they heap up a siege mound and build a [c]wall to cut off many persons. 18 Since he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, and in fact gave[d] his hand and still did all these things, he shall not escape.’ ”

Zedekiah will not see hope of a successful alliance with Egypt realized, for Pharaoh and the Egyptian army will not do “anything in the war, when they heap up a siege mound and build a [c]wall to cut off many persons.” Instead Zedekiah dies in “in the midst of Babylon he shall die.”

19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “As I live, surely My oath which he despised, and My covenant which he broke, I will recompense on his own head. 20 I will spread My net over him, and he shall be taken in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon and try him there for the [e]treason which he committed against Me. 21 All his [f]fugitives with all his troops shall fall by the sword, and those who remain shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Lord mention “recompense” an idea that He expands on in the following chapter, but first we read of the second coming of Jesus that will take place during the “Last Days:”

Israel Exalted at Last

22 Thus says the Lord God: “I will take also one of the highest branches of the high cedar and set it out. I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it on a high and prominent mountain. 23 On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the Lord, have spoken and have done it.

19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “As I live, surely My oath which he despised, and My covenant which he broke, I will recompense on his own head. 20 I will spread My net over him, and he shall be taken in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon and try him there for the [e]treason which he committed against Me. 21 All his [f]fugitives with all his troops shall fall by the sword, and those who remain shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken.”

In chapter 18 the Lord tells His people that though the prophets are claiming His people are being held captive in Babylon and that they are being punished for all their fathers’ sins, the Lord is fair and each of us will be accountable for our own:

Ezekiel 18 (NKJV)

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

The last chapter of Ezekiel, chapter 19 is yet another parable where the “lioness” is the throne of David which is no longer represented as rulers in the land of Israel.

Ezekiel 19 (NKJV)

Israel Degraded

19 “Moreover take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say:

‘What is your mother? A lioness: She lay down among the lions; Among the young lions she nourished her cubs. She brought up one of her cubs, And he became a young lion; He learned to catch prey, And he devoured men. The nations also heard of him; He was trapped in their pit, And they brought him with chains to the land of Egypt.

This “cub” is Jehoahaz who was taken to Egypt.

‘When she saw that she waited, that her hope was lost, She took another of her cubs and made him a young lion. He roved among the lions, And became a young lion; He learned to catch prey; He devoured men. 7 [a]He knew their desolate places, And laid waste their cities; The land with its fullness was desolated By the noise of his roaring. Then the nations set against him from the provinces on every side, And spread their net over him; He was trapped in their pit. They put him in a cage with [b]chains, And brought him to the king of Babylon; They brought him in nets, That his voice should no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel.

This cub could be either Jehoiachin or Zedekiah.

10 ‘Your mother was like a vine in your [c]bloodline, Planted by the waters, Fruitful and full of branches Because of many waters. 11 She had strong branches for scepters of rulers. She towered in stature above the thick branches, And was seen in her height amid the [d]dense foliage. 12 But she was plucked up in fury, She was cast down to the ground, And the east wind dried her fruit. Her strong branches were broken and withered; The fire consumed them. 13 And now she is planted in the wilderness, In a dry and thirsty land. 14 Fire has come out from a rod of her branches And devoured her fruit, So that she has no strong branch—a scepter for ruling.’ ”

This is a lamentation, and has become a lamentation.

The last chapter, is written before Ezekiel 19. Jeremiah is afterwards, which makes this selection in conjunction with Ezekeil 19 all the more interesting. The Lord’s plan is t love His people with abandon. We restrain His blessings upon us with our hard heart when we refuse a Holy and loving Father. It was His intention that David’s family continue to reign in His land, but the Lord has revoked this, or rather we have revoked it for clearly it is not the wish of the Father to do so.

In Jeremiah 33 the Lord promises restoration of their land and their people. The rejection of His ways in favor of the ways of the flesh that were espoused by their false gods, has brought judgment upon them. They were taken to Babylon both to cleanse their land and to cleanse them. They polluted the land of “milk and honey” with alters to false gods, and all of the sinful deeds that they engaged in as a result. They disregarded the yearly Sabbath of the land that the Lord established to give their land a year to recover and replenish the soil’s nutrients that six years of sowing seed depleted. By the time they returned seventy years later- the exact number of years that they did not give it rest-they would find the soil rich with the nutrients that would yield abundant crops. He does not instruct to “boss” His people, He does so to bless. That is the motive behind all that He does”:

Jeremiah 33 (NKJV)

Excellence of the Restored Nation

33 Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying, “Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it (the[a] Lord is His name): ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and [b]mighty things, which you do not know.’

“For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah, which have been pulled down to fortify against the siege mounds and the sword: ‘They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but only to fill their places with the dead bodies of men whom I will slay in My anger and My fury, all for whose wickedness I have hidden My face from this city. Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth. And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me. Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.’

The Lord clearly establishes that the Chaldean army was the instrument of His correction. They came to judge those He judged, whether they knew it or not.

10 “Thus says the Lord: ‘Again there shall be heard in this place—of which you say, “It is desolate, without man and without beast”—in the cities of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, 11 the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say:

“Praise the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good, For His mercy endures forever”—

and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the Lord.

12 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In this place which is desolate, without man and without beast, and in all its cities, there shall again be a dwelling place of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. 13 In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the lowland, in the cities of the South, in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, the flocks shall again pass under the hands of him who counts them,’ says the Lord.

14 ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah:

15 ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called:

[c]THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

17 “For thus says the Lord: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18 nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to [d]kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’ ”

The Permanence of God’s Covenant

19 And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 20 “Thus says the Lord: ‘If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, 21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’ ”

23 Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 24 “Have you not considered what these people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families which the Lord has chosen, He has also cast them off’? Thus they have despised My people, as if they should no more be a nation before them.

25 “Thus says the Lord: ‘If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, 26 then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return, and will have mercy on them.’ ”

While it is difficult to read of the Lord’s severe judgment of His people, we must always remind ourselves of one of the irrefutable facts that we know to be true about our God: He is good, all of the time, whether it is evident at the time ore will be deemed so when all of the facts are made known.

 

Ezekiel17 (NKJV)

The Eagles and the Vine

17 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, pose a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God:

“A great eagle with large wings and long pinions, Full of feathers of various colors, Came to Lebanon And took from the cedar the highest branch. He cropped off its topmost young twig And carried it to a land of trade; He set it in a city of merchants. Then he took some of the seed of the land And planted it in a fertile field; He placed it by abundant waters And set it like a willow tree. And it grew and became a spreading vine of low stature; Its branches turned toward him, But its roots were under it. So it became a vine, Brought forth branches, And put forth shoots.

“But there was [a]another great eagle with large wings and many feathers; And behold, this vine bent its roots toward him, And stretched its branches toward him, From the garden terrace where it had been planted, That he might water it. It was planted in [b]good soil by many waters, To bring forth branches, bear fruit, And become a majestic vine.” ’

“Say, ‘Thus says the Lord God:

“Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots, Cut off its fruit, And leave it to wither? All of its spring leaves will wither, And no great power or many people Will be needed to pluck it up by its roots. 10 Behold, it is planted, Will it thrive? Will it not utterly wither when the east wind touches it? It will wither in the garden terrace where it grew.” ’ ”

11 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 12 “Say now to the rebellious house: ‘Do you not know what these things mean?’ Tell them, ‘Indeed the king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and took its king and princes, and led them with him to Babylon. 13 And he took the king’s offspring, made a covenant with him, and put him under oath. He also took away the mighty of the land, 14 that the kingdom might be brought low and not lift itself up, but that by keeping his covenant it might stand. 15 But he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and many people. Will he prosper? Will he who does such things escape? Can he break a covenant and still be delivered?

16 As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘surely in the place where the king dwells who made him king, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke—with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die. 17 Nor will Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company do anything in the war, when they heap up a siege mound and build a [c]wall to cut off many persons. 18 Since he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, and in fact gave[d] his hand and still did all these things, he shall not escape.’ ”

19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “As I live, surely My oath which he despised, and My covenant which he broke, I will recompense on his own head. 20 I will spread My net over him, and he shall be taken in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon and try him there for the [e]treason which he committed against Me. 21 All his [f]fugitives with all his troops shall fall by the sword, and those who remain shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Israel Exalted at Last

22 Thus says the Lord God: “I will take also one of the highest branches of the high cedar and set it out. I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it on a high and prominent mountain. 23 On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the Lord, have spoken and have done it.

Ezekiel 18 (NKJV)

A False Proverb Refuted

18 The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:

‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

As I live,” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.

“Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. But if a man is just And does what is lawful and right; If he has not eaten [a]on the mountains, Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife, Nor approached a woman during her impurity; If he has not oppressed anyone, But has restored to the debtor his pledge; Has robbed no one by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing; If he has not [b]exacted usury Nor taken any increase, But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity And executed true [c]judgment between man and man; If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully— He is just; He shall surely live!” Says the Lord God.

10 “If he begets a son who is a robber Or a shedder of blood, Who does any of these things 11 And does none of those duties, But has eaten [d]on the mountains Or defiled his neighbor’s wife; 12 If he has oppressed the poor and needy, Robbed by violence, Not restored the pledge, Lifted his eyes to the idols, Or committed abomination; 13 If he has exacted usury Or taken increase— Shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, He shall surely die; His blood shall be upon him.

14 If, however, he begets a son Who sees all the sins which his father has done, And considers but does not do likewise; 15 Who has not eaten [e]on the mountains, Nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife; 16 Has not oppressed anyone, Nor withheld a pledge, Nor robbed by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing; 17 Who has withdrawn his hand from [f]the poor And not received usury or increase, But has executed My judgments And walked in My statutes— He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live!

18 As for his father, Because he cruelly oppressed, Robbed his brother by violence, And did what is not good among his people, Behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

Turn and Live

19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

Ezekiel 19 (NKJV

Israel Degraded

19 “Moreover take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say:

‘What is your mother? A lioness: She lay down among the lions; Among the young lions she nourished her cubs. She brought up one of her cubs, And he became a young lion; He learned to catch prey, And he devoured men. The nations also heard of him; He was trapped in their pit, And they brought him with chains to the land of Egypt.

‘When she saw that she waited, that her hope was lost, She took another of her cubs and made him a young lion. He roved among the lions, And became a young lion; He learned to catch prey; He devoured men. 7 [a]He knew their desolate places, And laid waste their cities; The land with its fullness was desolated By the noise of his roaring. Then the nations set against him from the provinces on every side, And spread their net over him; He was trapped in their pit. They put him in a cage with [b]chains, And brought him to the king of Babylon; They brought him in nets, That his voice should no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel.

10 ‘Your mother was like a vine in your [c]bloodline, Planted by the waters, Fruitful and full of branches Because of many waters. 11 She had strong branches for scepters of rulers. She towered in stature above the thick branches, And was seen in her height amid the [d]dense foliage. 12 But she was plucked up in fury, She was cast down to the ground, And the east wind dried her fruit. Her strong branches were broken and withered; The fire consumed them. 13 And now she is planted in the wilderness, In a dry and thirsty land. 14 Fire has come out from a rod of her branches And devoured her fruit, So that she has no strong branch—a scepter for ruling.’ ”

This is a lamentation, and has become a lamentation.