Tuesday 21 February 2017

Bible Book:

Ezekiel 15:1-8 Tuesday 21 February 2017

Psalm: Psalm 111


Ezekiel received and shared his prophecies in many different andsometimes elaborate ways (eg Ezekiel 4). Here he is given a word from Godthat comes first, then in a set of questions and an allegory andfinally a word of judgement against Jerusalem.

The image God uses in the opening questions and later allegoryis that of a vine. This was an important image and was usedthroughout the Old Testament as an image for Israel (Jeremiah 2:21, Zechariah 8:12) and Jesus uses it in the NewTestament in one of his 'I am' sayings (John15:5). In today's passage God is questioning the vine'susefulness (verse 3) and asking Ezekiel some questions that God infact will answer.

Is the vine useful if it is not producing fruit? No is theanswer, other than to be used as firewood and once it has beenburnt it is even more worthless. Those that heard these words mayhave hoped that this vine being spoken of was an image of Babylonor some other enemy, but not so. The vine is Jerusalem and God hasdeclared it useless and thrown it to the fire. Again, those inexile in Babylon may have hoped that was the end of the judgement,but God continues. Those who have escaped the fire, which is mostlikely those taken into exile, will still suffer punishment. Theymay have avoided the initial fire but another will come tothem.

These are hard words for the exiles to hear; far from home in aforeign land they may have asked how much worse could things get.Here Ezekiel's message offers no hope and the words of comfort thepeople craved are not found in this moment.

To Ponder

  • How do you think the people reacted to hearing this word ofjudgement? How would you react?
  • Ezekiel had to share these harsh words with the people. Howeasy do you find it to share difficult things with others?
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