TO CHEW ON: "Say, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Will it thrive?
Will he not pull pull up its roots
Cut off its fruit
And leave it to wither?
All of its leaves will wither,
And no great power or many people
Will be needed to pluck it up by its roots…" ' " Ezekiel 17:10
What a contrast this vine is to the productive one we read about two days ago (John 15:1-8).
In this riddle / parable (the interpretation of which is just beyond today's reading) the vine refers to Zedekiah with whom King Nebuchadnezzar replaces the legitimate King of Judah, Jehoiachin (who he carries away into exile - Ezekiel 17:4).
Supported by Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, Zedekiah becomes a healthy vine, though humble ("…vine of low stature" - Ezekiel 17:6).
Then another king comes along "…another great eagle with large feathers…"—Egypt (Ezekiel 17:15). So the vine shifts its allegiance bowing to the new power, perhaps hoping to placate any Egyptian attempts to overrun and overpower Judah. But it doesn't work out so well. The new power plunders the vine, then neglects it so that when the "east wind" (interpreted as Nebuchadnezzar and his army) comes along it "utterly withers."
The prophetic meaning of this parable aside, it is also a picture to me of what a difference one's vine-source makes.
Here Zedekiah (the vine) looks to Babylon and then Egypt to sustain his power. His kingdom does well as long as Babylon is benevolent. But Egypt is another story. When he tries to curry favor with the new power, disaster.
I ask, from where does the vine we're attached to, I'm attached to, get its life? Am I, at the most basic level, depending on God, attached to Jesus, so that when circumstances change in my life, the sap of my supply keeps flowing anyway?
Or am I looking to other things to sustain me—things like my health, my savings, the political peace of my country, the well-being of my family? If the "east wind" blew in my life, when it blows, will I still be vigorous and fruit-bearing, or withered and easily uprooted?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please help me to be securely attached to You, so that no circumstance will interrupt Your flow of life in me. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.