Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 2 months ago

A King After God's Own Heart (Ez 17)


Ezekiel 17

And let's turn our attention to Ezekiel, chapter seventeen. So to prepare you a little bit to hear what we'reabout to hear, what I'm about to read, I will start with whatis Ekiel says in verse two. Son Of man propound a riddle and speaka parable to the house of Israel. So this tells us right away thatwhat we're about to hear is going to be obscured a little bit. Right. This is what riddles do. They obscure. They have the meaning.It's contained in the riddle, the thing that is said, but it's hidden, right. It's it's unclear in a way. A parables a little bitdifferent a parable. Sometimes Jesus uses them to confound, but here the emphasisis not so much on the the hiddenness of it perhaps, but on theuse of imagery and other natural things to teach something, to tell something.All that to say, as we listen here, you're going to want toreally listen in a way that allows you to hear the whole thing before youtry to make sense of everything. It's this dance we always do when reading, both paying attention to the parts and the whole. You kind of haveto do it all at once, but I just want to encourage you toto to listen and not get to bog down right away, or else you'regoing to find yourself confused for a while. The Lord does explain the meaning ofthese things and I will do my best to expound them and explain themas well, but do what you can to hear and to remember what youhear, and it'll be helpful as we as we go on. So let'shear Ezek. You'll seventeen now. The word of the Lord came to me, son of man, propound a riddle and speak a parable to the houseof Israel. Say. Thus says the Lord God, a Great Eagle withgreat wings and long Pinions, rich and plumage of many colors, came toLebanon and took the top of the Cedar. He broke off the topmost of itsyoung twigs and carried it to a land of trade and set it ina city of merchants. Then he took the seed of the land and plantedit in fertile soil. He placed it beside abundant waters. He said itlike a willow twig, and it's sprouted and became a low spreading vine andits branches turned toward him and its roots remained where it stood. So itbecame a vine and produced branches and put out boughs. And there was anotherGreat Eagle, Eagle with great wings and much plumage. And behold, thisvine bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him from thebed where it was planted that he might water it. It had been plantedon good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruitand become a noble line. Say, thus says the Lord God. Willit thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruitso that it withers, so that all its fresh sprouting leaves whither? Itwill not take a strong arm or many people to pull it from its roots. Behold, it is planted. Will it thrive? Will it not utterlyWhit or whither when the east wind strikes it, whither away on the bedwhere it is sprouted? Then the word of the Lord came to me.Say Now to the rebellious house, do... not know what these things mean? Tell them. Behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and tookher king and her princes and brought them to him, to Babylon, andhe took one of the Royal Offspring and made a covenant with him, puttinghim under oath the chief men of the land he had taken away, thatthe kingdom might be humble and not lift itself up and keep his covenant,that it might stand. But he rebelled against him by sending his ambassadors toEgypt that they might give him horses and a large army. Will he thrive? Can One escape who does such things? Can he break the Covenant and yetescape? As I live, declares the Lord God. Surely, inthe place where the king dwells, who made him king, whose oath hedespised and whose covenant with him he broke in Babylon, he shall die.Pharaoh, with his mighty army and great company will not help him in war, when mounds are cast up and siege walls are built to cut off manylives. He despised the oath in breaking the Covenant, and behold, hegave his hand and did all these things. He shall not escape. Therefore,thus says the Lord God. As I live, surely it is myoath that he despised and my covenant that he broke, I will return itupon his head. I will spread my net over him and he shall betaken in my snare and I will bring him to Babylon and enter into judgmentwith him there for the treachery he is committed against me, and all thepick of his troops shall fall by the sword and the survivors shall be scatteredto every wind, and you shall know that I am the Lord. Ihave spoken thus as the Lord God, I myself will take a sprig fromthe lofty top of the Cedar and will set it out. I will breakoff from the topmost of its young twigs, a tender one, and I myselfwill plant it on a high and lofty mountain, on the mountain heightof Israel. Will I plant it that I it may bear branches and producefruit and become a noble Cedar, and under it will dwell every kind ofbird. In the shade of its branches, birds of every sort will nest,and all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord. I bring the low I bring low the high tree, and I makehigh the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry treeflourish. I I'm the Lord, I have spoken and I will do it. Amen. So here we have a parable, a riddle story that teachesa lesson, predicts a future and also gives us great hope. The surprisingending, this great way in which God promises to take all this rebellion andcovenant breaking and disobedience and take from this tree and turn it into this magnificentmountain, high tree over all the earth, is a promise and ultimately beloved.It teaches us about Jesu is us. It teaches us about his kingdom.Here we begin to understand more of the promises that God makes for usin Christ and it should cause us to give praise to him and honor tohim, to fear him and to trust and hope in our king. Toexplain the parable, let me remind you of the I can't think of adifferent word than characters, but I'll say characters. From the moment we havetwo eagles, right too, Eagles, a cedar and a vine. TheFirst Eagle that is spoken of beginning in Verse Three Represents Babylon. The FirstEagle represents Babylon and it is described as...

...very great, great wings a longpinions, rich in plumage of many colors. The Eagle is often a single asymbol of kingship, of nobility, of power and strength. Even inour own country on the Eagle is used in this way. And here theEagle represents Babylon, this great, powerful, beautiful, strong kingdom. And whatdoes it do? It comes and it takes the top off of aCedar, these Great Cedars that Lebanon was known. Perhaps you remember this phrasefrom the Scriptures. The Great Cedars, of the great trees of Lebanon comesand it takes the top off and it plants it in its own place.And this represents Babylon coming and taking the top off of Jerusalem. I'm notit's physical top, but it's a social top. The king whose name isJoya Chen Ezekiel, and before them Daniel and his friends. We read inFirst Kings, the end of our sorry second kings, that not only wasJooyahchen Chake and taken, but also, as mother I'm high officials, palaceofficials, craftsmen of every kind. Tenzero, the number tenzero is given of differentpeople, mighty men of Valor, the whole top of society, theleaders, the officials, the wealth, the important people, all of itjust taken to Babylon, planted in this city of merchants, and they're theywere supposed to be. Now, jarge, I'm Jeremiah. We read in theScriptures, had advised Johoyachen, I'm to submit to this situation, tosubmit to Babylon. He did not obey, and that's why he and these peoplewere taken away. Next we see the Eagle doing a second action.He we read to inverse in verse. Let's see verse five. He takesthe seed of the landing, he plants it in fertile soil and he plantsthis vine. So what happens in the history of God's people is after aking, Johoyachen, for his disobedience and is breaking of covenant with Babylon.Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, takes Johoyochen and the top off Israel.It takes the to Babylon, but he doesn't destroy the city yet. Heplaces instead on Zee Kiah. Zedekiah is Johoyachen's uncle, related and he isthere to rule in Jerusalem, but under the King of Babylon. Now zedekiahaccording to this parable and the history of all of these things, was givenevery chance for success. He is this vine, placed by Nebuchadnezzar, byabundant waters. Right this Great Eagle, this great power, plants this vine. And what happens? The vine bent its roots and toward the Eagle,shoots forth it's branches toward him, the bed where it was planted and itwas watered, it had been planted in good soil, by abundant waters,and that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.God, even in his punishment over is in Israel, is providing a chancefor the people to live, the people to survive. So what Ad Zeekaiahdo? Did he turn away from the sins of his father's did he turnaway from trusting in false powers, trusting in idols murdering innocent people? Well, no, he didn't. Instead, what he does is he breaks covenantwith Babylon and goes to Egypt and says,...

Egypt, will you help me outnow? This is, of course, full of irony, because it's fromEgypt that the people were first rescued. It was from Egypt that God saiddon't return there don't trust this nation. And yet Zedekiah not only does hebreak covenant with the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, to whom he owed obedience, and he then goes to Egypt. And we see this described here asthis Second Eagle, another Great Eagle, we read in verse seven, withGreat Wings and much plumage. But we notice the description isn't quite as grand, it isn't quite as great as that First Eagle. It's like the FirstEagle, but not as Nice. Well, this is predictive of what is aboutto happen. We have the great power of this First Eagle, thisone that plants the vine, the one that establishes it, and then thevine goes. Hmm, what about that Eagle and what happens? Well,as it looks at this other Eagle, as as Zeta Chiah and and Jerusalembegin to look to Egypt, for help, what? How? What happens?Well, the description is in verse nine. Will it thrive? Willhe, that is the first Great Eagle, not pull up its roots and cutoff its fruit so that it withers, so that it's fresh spouting leaves whither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull itfrom its roots. Behold it is planted. Will it thrive? Will it notutterly whither when the East Wind, another reference there to Babbel on,strikes? It whither away on the bed where it's sprouted? As Egypt,or, I'm sorry, as Jerusalem, sort of as a vine looks towardsthis eagle, towards this great power, it's like she's pulling herself from thewaters where SPICI's planted. Her her roots get exposed, she becomes tender andvulnerable and exposed. In all these things, the word of the Lord as itcomes to the people of Israel. It's warning them, saying, doyou not see what is about to happen? All of this, all of yourplanning, all of your kniving, all of your covenant breaking, isabout to fall apart. We can begin to see the end before it comes. And odd promises. He says he will cause these things to happen.No one will escape. Notice what he says in Verse Fifteen. But herebelled against him, that is, is that a chai rebelled against a nebuchadnezzarby sending his ambassadors to Egypt that might they might give him horses in alarge army. Will he thrive? Can One escape who does such things?Can he break the Covenant and yet escape? Remember, when people take on covenantsthey make promise. These are what they are, their solemn promises.They say, I will do this thing and if I don't do it,may all these bad things happen to me. Can you make a promise like thatand escape? God says, surely, surely not. Well, as weknow from reading the history of these things, and second kings and anotherplaces, we read that this is exactly what happened. EGYPT DID NOT RISEUP A mighty power to rescue Jerusalem from Babylon. No, Babylon came inand put down this rebellion. Nebuchadnezzar took Zet ACHAIA and brought him to Babylon. Is that he also murdered all of his sons in front of him andthen gouged out his eye. US. That's what Nebuchadnezzar did to Zeekiah forbreaking the covenant. A question we have... ask here is why does Godcare about the Israelite Kings, these kings and Jerusalem, these sons of David, breaking covenant with Nebuchadnezzar. Right, why does God carry a care abouta covenant breaking with this Great King of Babylon? Babylon is not God's holycity, it's not his holy empire. Why is he so eager to seethem keep the oath to Babylon? Well, it's not because of his great lovefor Babylon, although eventually we will see that Babylon will benefit from thesethings, but it's his love for Jerusalem, for his promises to David. Andwhat we find is here we come to that that yet deeper meaning herein this parable, a deeper meaning which points us not just to their covenantbreaking with Nebuchadnezzar, but you know what I'm going to say, they're covenantbreaking with God. That's ultimately what this is about, and he shows thisto them. He says, not only are you breaking this covenant with them, but it's you're breaking it with me. You have disobeyed these things. Youhave you have disobeyed my rules, my laws. You have gone afterfalse gods, as we looked at in the last chapter. You've spilt himin this and blood, all of these terrible things. And so now,as the Babyloni as the Babylonians do this work of judgment on your city,as they build up mounds, as they build up seige works, as theycome and they take first the top off the people and then the whole thing, a card away, the things of the temple, the furniture, thegold pillars and all these things of the Lord, and take everything to Babylon. Know that it is my doing, says the Lord. This is notjust reaping the benefits of your own bad politics, but it's more than that. This is reaping the consequences of your own bad politics. This is theLord at work, the Lord Judging and prosecuting his covenant with them. Theyare covenant breakers from top to bottom, bottom to top, and Jahwe wantsthem to realize this. He wants them and us to understand that he isbehind it all. Just as they broke covenant with Nebuchadnezzar and would be judged, just as this king on first Jehoiachen and then Zeta Kai a broke covenantwith Babylon and would be judged. So, to excuse me, they would bejudged by God. Well, what do we learn from these things?Well, one thing is that we learn is that these sins of these kingsand of Jerusalem. We're significant. We've seen this impressed on our hearts andmany ways it's are not minor things. These were great sins done over andover and over. We ought never to look at the judgment that Jerusalem faceand say, was that a little bit too much? If Anything, Godwas merciful and spared them even within the midst of so much great destruction.Another thing I think we need to pay attention to and realize when we seethe judgment of God in these kinds of situations and we recognize the sins whichled to this kind of judgment, is to take note of the sins andconsider our own. One of the things that the Lord is teaching us inthese stories and in this history and all...

...these things is the consequence of sin. How often do we take sin kind of lightly? We think of itas no big deal. These passages impressed on us that it is a bigdeal. It is important. We can't play around, we can't mess aroundwith sin. When we look at God's judgment, we see sin and itshould humble us. And this includes even the Cross of Christ, especially theCross of Christ, where the judgments and the wrath of God was poured downupon the sun. Why? Jesus didn't do anything wrong. Jesus never sinned. Jesus wasn't some sort of covenant breaking King, snatching the people of Israeland carting them off to Egypt or trying to make alliances with other nations oranything like that. Jesus didn't die as a murderer or as a thief foras a false king. Jesus was perfectly righteous. Jesus died to take judgmentfor sin for us. Jesus took on judgment for us because of our sinsand the things that we have done. When we look at the cross,when we look at God's judgment there, we have to shut her a littlebit and see the power of the law, the consequences of sin. But thecross also reveals to us the hope of the Gospel in a way thatthe judgment here of Israel does not. The judgment on Jesus, the judgmentsand the cross, we see that it wasn't just Jesus paying a Jesus wasn'tpaying for his own sins, as I said, but he was paying forours, and this is good news for us, that Jesus was a sacrificeof sins, means that we have hope of living another day, and notjust another day, but an eternal day and eternal life. We have ahope in Christ, in the judgments of God on him, that we canbe forgiven of our covenant breaking, that we can be forgiven of our sins. Where the wrath of Babylon comes down on the people, where the wrathof God comes down on Jerusalem, the wrath of God came down on Jesusonce and for all, so that all who would be under him would knowthat justice, as he said and is Ecyel Lat in the last chapter,in his Ecil Sixteen, Justice would be satisfied, it would be over andwe would have peace with God. When we look to Jesus as the trueKing of his people, as the Covenant Keeper, we can have real hopefor the future, and that hope for the future, knowing that our sinsare forgiven, knowing that we can now live in him, is predicted forus right here in is echyl seventeen. This is why I said at thebeginning all these things eventually they point us to Christ and they remind us ofwhat we have in him and what do we have in him? Well,we have the completion of our judgment and we have this. I'll read fromverse twenty two. He says, I myself will take a sprig from thelofty top of the Cedar and will set it out. So this Cedar,this top that had been carted off to Babylon, this this remnant of peoplethat had been preserved from this judgment, God would take something humble, aa little sprig from the lofty top of the seater, will set it out. He says, I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs, a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high andlofty mountain. So God takes this,...

...this sprig of a tree, ofthis little thing, and he transplants it on a very high mountain. Andin theological terms, this is the highest mountain, the most important one,the most grander one, the mountain height of Israel. We could say safelythat this is Mount Zion, the city of God, and he places thisthis tree, this royal, noble one, this one of Israel, the sonof David, this little sprig, and he places it on top ofa mountain. He lifts it up from a very low place. And whathappens next under it? Under this one tree will dwell every kind of birdin the shade of its branches, every branches, birds of every sort willnest, and all the trees of the field, all those trees down belowother kings and empires and people, they will know that I am the Lord. So this imagery of the Eagle and the tree and the vine, allthese things Um our our and our images of judgment. But God says thathe himself, not in Ebuchados or not Babylon, but he himself, will, out of this judgment, create something new and something that was better thaneven before. This is not a mighty tree, it's not a lowly vinelike Zeedechiah was. This is a high tree on the highest mountain, agreat tree in which will provide shade and rest, and all the trees ofthe field will know that he is the Lord, in Jesus Christ, inthe Work of God, in all of these things we receive this surprising grace, an unexpected end in which, despite all of the things that Israel isdone to deserve God's wrath, despite all the things that you and I havedone to deserve his wrath and be under the punishment, righteous judgment for oursins. God promises that in Christ he is going to create something new,something wonderful, which provides provision and rest for all. When we think ofJesus, this, of course, supplies so well of him who is bornv Lowly stature, the son of David, and yet and yet, and bornin Bethlehem, but yet so low, often despised, often rejected, oftenunimportant, often I'm not believed in. But ultimately he is the king ofthe world. So let's not break covenant with God, but instead putour faith in him, who has established a new covenant and who is promisedthat he will not judge us according to our own righteousness or our sins,but according to Christ's righteousness and his perfect life. When we put our faithin him, we can know that we are secure and no longer under judgment.

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