TO CHEW ON: "'And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I the Lord have spoken and have done it.'" Ezekiel 17:24
Our short reading today is obviously a parable or metaphor. What or who is it about?
All the commentaries I read agree that this tree story is a picture of little Israel, exalted above other nations. It is also messianic or prophetic of Jesus.
There is a sense in which this prophecy has already been partially fulfilled in history. For example, Howard M. Ervin, the writer of my Bible's notes on Ezekiel says: "All the trees are foreign nations. The high tree is Jehoiachin, the low tree a scion of David (and Jehoiachin)" New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1070. Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Commentary says: "… Some by the high and green tree understand Zedekiah, who was brought low; and by the 'low' and 'dry tree' Jeconiah who was raised by the king of Babylon - Jeremiah 52:11."
However, we can't help but pick up Messianic references. My Bible's study notes again: "'I will take' (vs. 22) signifies the divine intervention of God to establish a descendant of David on the throne."
As we understand the cedar to represent the house of David (Pulpit Commentary), we read this line: "I the Lord, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree…" and recall words from Hannah's prayer: "The Lord … brings low and lifts up," 1 Samuel 2:7. It reminds us too of Mary's words from the Magnificat: "He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly" - Luke 1:52.
And Jesus referred to the green and dry wood as He was led to the cross: "'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me. … For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?'" Luke 23:29,31.
The prophecy still to be fulfilled is of a day when Israel will be exalted under the leadership of that cedar branch (Messiah—Jesus) as if planted "on a high and prominent mountain."
As we continue to watch world affairs, let's do it with double-vision. Let's keep our sights on what's happening around us and at the same time stay alert to what God, through His prophets, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, has said will happen, those things "I the Lord have spoken and have done it." Let's not be caught napping (Matthew 25:1-13).
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be an astute watcher of world events as I seek to understand them in the light of prophecy. Amen.
New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.