Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 9 months ago

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

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Ezekiel 17

And let's turn our attention to Ezekiel, chapter seventeen. So to prepare you a little bit to hear what we're about to hear, what I'm about to read, I will start with what is Ekiel says in verse two. Son Of man propound a riddle and speak a parable to the house of Israel. So this tells us right away that what 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 bit different a parable. Sometimes Jesus uses them to confound, but here the emphasis is not so much on the the hiddenness of it perhaps, but on the use 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 to really listen in a way that allows you to hear the whole thing before you try 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 have to do it all at once, but I just want to encourage you to to to listen and not get to bog down right away, or else you're going to find yourself confused for a while. The Lord does explain the meaning of these things and I will do my best to expound them and explain them as well, but do what you can to hear and to remember what you hear, and it'll be helpful as we as we go on. So let's hear 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 house of Israel. Say. Thus says the Lord God, a Great Eagle with great wings and long Pinions, rich and plumage of many colors, came to Lebanon and took the top of the Cedar. He broke off the topmost of its young twigs and carried it to a land of trade and set it in a city of merchants. Then he took the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil. He placed it beside abundant waters. He said it like a willow twig, and it's sprouted and became a low spreading vine and its branches turned toward him and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out boughs. And there was another Great Eagle, Eagle with great wings and much plumage. And behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him from the bed where it was planted that he might water it. It had been planted on good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble line. Say, thus says the Lord God. Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit so that it withers, so that all its fresh sprouting leaves whither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it from its roots. Behold, it is planted. Will it thrive? Will it not utterly Whit or whither when the east wind strikes it, whither away on the bed where it is sprouted? Then the word of the Lord came to me. Say Now to the rebellious house, do...

...you not know what these things mean? Tell them. Behold, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and took her king and her princes and brought them to him, to Babylon, and he took one of the Royal Offspring and made a covenant with him, putting him under oath the chief men of the land he had taken away, that the 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 to Egypt 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 yet escape? As I live, declares the Lord God. Surely, in the place where the king dwells, who made him king, whose oath he despised 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 many lives. He despised the oath in breaking the Covenant, and behold, he gave his hand and did all these things. He shall not escape. Therefore, thus says the Lord God. As I live, surely it is my oath that he despised and my covenant that he broke, I will return it upon his head. I will spread my net over him and he shall be taken in my snare and I will bring him to Babylon and enter into judgment with him there for the treachery he is committed against me, and all the pick of his troops shall fall by the sword and the survivors shall be scattered to every wind, and you shall know that I am the Lord. I have spoken thus as the Lord God, I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the Cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs, a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain, on the mountain height of Israel. Will I plant it that I it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble Cedar, and under it will dwell every kind of bird. 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 make high the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I I'm the Lord, I have spoken and I will do it. Amen. So here we have a parable, a riddle story that teaches a lesson, predicts a future and also gives us great hope. The surprising ending, this great way in which God promises to take all this rebellion and covenant breaking and disobedience and take from this tree and turn it into this magnificent mountain, 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 us in Christ and it should cause us to give praise to him and honor to him, to fear him and to trust and hope in our king. To explain the parable, let me remind you of the I can't think of a different word than characters, but I'll say characters. From the moment we have two eagles, right too, Eagles, a cedar and a vine. The First Eagle that is spoken of beginning in Verse Three Represents Babylon. The First Eagle represents Babylon and it is described as...

...very great, great wings a long pinions, rich in plumage of many colors. The Eagle is often a single a symbol of kingship, of nobility, of power and strength. Even in our own country on the Eagle is used in this way. And here the Eagle represents Babylon, this great, powerful, beautiful, strong kingdom. And what does it do? It comes and it takes the top off of a Cedar, these Great Cedars that Lebanon was known. Perhaps you remember this phrase from the Scriptures. The Great Cedars, of the great trees of Lebanon comes and 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 not it's physical top, but it's a social top. The king whose name is Joya Chen Ezekiel, and before them Daniel and his friends. We read in First Kings, the end of our sorry second kings, that not only was Jooyahchen Chake and taken, but also, as mother I'm high officials, palace officials, craftsmen of every kind. Tenzero, the number tenzero is given of different people, mighty men of Valor, the whole top of society, the leaders, the officials, the wealth, the important people, all of it just taken to Babylon, planted in this city of merchants, and they're they were supposed to be. Now, jarge, I'm Jeremiah. We read in the Scriptures, had advised Johoyachen, I'm to submit to this situation, to submit to Babylon. He did not obey, and that's why he and these people were taken away. Next we see the Eagle doing a second action. He we read to inverse in verse. Let's see verse five. He takes the seed of the landing, he plants it in fertile soil and he plants this vine. So what happens in the history of God's people is after a king, 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. He places instead on Zee Kiah. Zedekiah is Johoyachen's uncle, related and he is there to rule in Jerusalem, but under the King of Babylon. Now zedekiah according to this parable and the history of all of these things, was given every chance for success. He is this vine, placed by Nebuchadnezzar, by abundant 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 it was 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 chance for the people to live, the people to survive. So what Ad Zeekaiah do? Did he turn away from the sins of his father's did he turn away from trusting in false powers, trusting in idols murdering innocent people? Well, no, he didn't. Instead, what he does is he breaks covenant with Babylon and goes to Egypt and says,...

Egypt, will you help me out now? This is, of course, full of irony, because it's from Egypt that the people were first rescued. It was from Egypt that God said don't return there don't trust this nation. And yet Zedekiah not only does he break covenant with the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, to whom he owed obedience, and he then goes to Egypt. And we see this described here as this Second Eagle, another Great Eagle, we read in verse seven, with Great 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 First Eagle, but not as Nice. Well, this is predictive of what is about to happen. We have the great power of this First Eagle, this one that plants the vine, the one that establishes it, and then the vine goes. Hmm, what about that Eagle and what happens? Well, as it looks at this other Eagle, as as Zeta Chiah and and Jerusalem begin to look to Egypt, for help, what? How? What happens? Well, the description is in verse nine. Will it thrive? Will he, that is the first Great Eagle, not pull up its roots and cut off 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 it from its roots. Behold it is planted. Will it thrive? Will it not utterly 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 towards this eagle, towards this great power, it's like she's pulling herself from the waters where SPICI's planted. Her her roots get exposed, she becomes tender and vulnerable and exposed. In all these things, the word of the Lord as it comes to the people of Israel. It's warning them, saying, do you not see what is about to happen? All of this, all of your planning, all of your kniving, all of your covenant breaking, is about 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 he rebelled against him, that is, is that a chai rebelled against a nebuchadnezzar by sending his ambassadors to Egypt that might they might give him horses in a large army. Will he thrive? Can One escape who does such things? Can he break the Covenant and yet escape? Remember, when people take on covenants they 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 that and escape? God says, surely, surely not. Well, as we know from reading the history of these things, and second kings and another places, we read that this is exactly what happened. EGYPT DID NOT RISE UP A mighty power to rescue Jerusalem from Babylon. No, Babylon came in and 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 and then gouged out his eye. US. That's what Nebuchadnezzar did to Zeekiah for breaking the covenant. A question we have...

...to ask here is why does God care about the Israelite Kings, these kings and Jerusalem, these sons of David, breaking covenant with Nebuchadnezzar. Right, why does God carry a care about a covenant breaking with this Great King of Babylon? Babylon is not God's holy city, it's not his holy empire. Why is he so eager to see them keep the oath to Babylon? Well, it's not because of his great love for Babylon, although eventually we will see that Babylon will benefit from these things, but it's his love for Jerusalem, for his promises to David. And what we find is here we come to that that yet deeper meaning here in this parable, a deeper meaning which points us not just to their covenant breaking with Nebuchadnezzar, but you know what I'm going to say, they're covenant breaking with God. That's ultimately what this is about, and he shows this to 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. You have you have disobeyed my rules, my laws. You have gone after false gods, as we looked at in the last chapter. You've spilt him in 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 they come and they take first the top off the people and then the whole thing, a card away, the things of the temple, the furniture, the gold pillars and all these things of the Lord, and take everything to Babylon. Know that it is my doing, says the Lord. This is not just 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 the Lord at work, the Lord Judging and prosecuting his covenant with them. They are covenant breakers from top to bottom, bottom to top, and Jahwe wants them to realize this. He wants them and us to understand that he is behind 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 covenant with Babylon and would be judged. So, to excuse me, they would be judged by God. Well, what do we learn from these things? Well, one thing is that we learn is that these sins of these kings and of Jerusalem. We're significant. We've seen this impressed on our hearts and many ways it's are not minor things. These were great sins done over and over and over. We ought never to look at the judgment that Jerusalem face and say, was that a little bit too much? If Anything, God was 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 see the judgment of God in these kinds of situations and we recognize the sins which led to this kind of judgment, is to take note of the sins and consider our own. One of the things that the Lord is teaching us in these 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 it as no big deal. These passages impressed on us that it is a big deal. It is important. We can't play around, we can't mess around with sin. When we look at God's judgment, we see sin and it should humble us. And this includes even the Cross of Christ, especially the Cross of Christ, where the judgments and the wrath of God was poured down upon 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 Israel and carting them off to Egypt or trying to make alliances with other nations or anything like that. Jesus didn't die as a murderer or as a thief for as a false king. Jesus was perfectly righteous. Jesus died to take judgment for sin for us. Jesus took on judgment for us because of our sins and 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 little bit and see the power of the law, the consequences of sin. But the cross also reveals to us the hope of the Gospel in a way that the judgment here of Israel does not. The judgment on Jesus, the judgments and the cross, we see that it wasn't just Jesus paying a Jesus wasn't paying for his own sins, as I said, but he was paying for ours, and this is good news for us, that Jesus was a sacrifice of sins, means that we have hope of living another day, and not just another day, but an eternal day and eternal life. We have a hope in Christ, in the judgments of God on him, that we can be 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 wrath of God comes down on Jerusalem, the wrath of God came down on Jesus once and for all, so that all who would be under him would know that justice, as he said and is Ecyel Lat in the last chapter, in his Ecil Sixteen, Justice would be satisfied, it would be over and we would have peace with God. When we look to Jesus as the true King of his people, as the Covenant Keeper, we can have real hope for the future, and that hope for the future, knowing that our sins are forgiven, knowing that we can now live in him, is predicted for us right here in is echyl seventeen. This is why I said at the beginning all these things eventually they point us to Christ and they remind us of what 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 from verse twenty two. He says, I myself will take a sprig from the lofty 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 people that had been preserved from this judgment, God would take something humble, a a 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 and lofty mountain. So God takes this,...

...this sprig of a tree, of this little thing, and he transplants it on a very high mountain. And in theological terms, this is the highest mountain, the most important one, the most grander one, the mountain height of Israel. We could say safely that this is Mount Zion, the city of God, and he places this this tree, this royal, noble one, this one of Israel, the son of David, this little sprig, and he places it on top of a mountain. He lifts it up from a very low place. And what happens next under it? Under this one tree will dwell every kind of bird in the shade of its branches, every branches, birds of every sort will nest, and all the trees of the field, all those trees down below other 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, all these things Um our our and our images of judgment. But God says that he himself, not in Ebuchados or not Babylon, but he himself, will, out of this judgment, create something new and something that was better than even before. This is not a mighty tree, it's not a lowly vine like Zeedechiah was. This is a high tree on the highest mountain, a great tree in which will provide shade and rest, and all the trees of the field will know that he is the Lord, in Jesus Christ, in the 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 is done to deserve God's wrath, despite all the things that you and I have done to deserve his wrath and be under the punishment, righteous judgment for our sins. God promises that in Christ he is going to create something new, something wonderful, which provides provision and rest for all. When we think of Jesus, this, of course, supplies so well of him who is born v Lowly stature, the son of David, and yet and yet, and born in Bethlehem, but yet so low, often despised, often rejected, often unimportant, often I'm not believed in. But ultimately he is the king of the world. So let's not break covenant with God, but instead put our faith in him, who has established a new covenant and who is promised that 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 faith in him, we can know that we are secure and no longer under judgment.

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