23rd August 2023
Read - Ezekiel 15:6-8
Message - Alan Burke
First Posted 3rd August 2022
Incase you missed Monday’s devotion, the Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel and using parabolic language he speaks to people about a vine, a vine that is useless, a vine that does not bear fruit. Here this parable is explained as the Lord speaks to His people through the prophet He makes it clear the meaning that He was talking about and to them. Jerusalem is the vine, the wood that is useless. There were those in Jerusalem, in Isreal, those among the people of God in exile who though that the vine itself was sacred, that ie they were safe as houses, they were important because of who they were, their status but they were only important, they were only of use, they were only of value because of God’s choosing to make them so.
God had chosen them to be His people, as Deuteronomy makes clear. He chose them out of all the people on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession, He did not set His affection on them and chose them because they were more numerous than the other people, for they were the fewest of all people, but it was because the Lord loved them and kept the oath that He swore to their forefathers so He brought them out with a mighty hand and redeemed them from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (paraphrased Deut 7:6–8).
It was by God gracious purposes that had set His people apart for a purpose and that was to bring Glory to His name, He had made a covenant with them that had terms, blessing for obedience, curses for disobedience, it was so that the nations around would take notice of Isreal’s God, that they would seek Him for themselves. They were only important, they were only of use, they were only of value because of God’s choosing, but by their nature as all peoples they were sinful and rebellious. Their worth, their use was because of God’s election, his choosing them to be His people, His gracious purposes. They were to be a vine metaphorically, they were to produce fruit, that is why they were called a vine, they were chosen by God with a purpose.
But they had failed to produce fruit, just as a vine that does not produce grapes is useless so the people of God were useless. God had planted Isreal among the nations, they were to be separate as God’s people as a holy nation, they were to bear fruit worthy of Him but they had turned from God, they were just like the other nations, they were so overflowing with sin that they were only fit to be destroyed in the fire of God’s judgment.
Indeed the Babylonians came, they practiced a scorched earth policy, that is as they came they burned what ever they could in their way, houses, barns, fields with crops, villages, towns and cities were destroyed (2 Chr. 36:10). There were few among them who heard this word of the Lord from the lips of Ezekiel that would have missed the point that Jerusalem would face destruction. All of this comes because God’s people had been unfaithful to Him, God is responding to their failure to fulfil their created purpose, to bear fruit, to give Him the glory.
Yet God in His gracious purposes maintained a remnant from them, He used them and from them one came who is the true vine (John 15:1). The alternative to wiping out Isreal the vine was to plant a good healthy vine from among them. God in his redemptive purposes was using this His rebellious people tor bring forth the true vine. In John’s Gospel Jesus said I am the true vine. Isreal was to be the vine but their existence was denoted by their unfaithfulness to the Lord God. They failed to do what they had been called to do, whereas Jesus the only begotten Son of God is the true vine, He was spiritually fruitful where the people failed to be fruitful. Jesus did not fail for He is the true Isreal, He is the fruitful servant who accomplished God’s purpose of Isreal, for He was an Israelite, born of the flesh and was and is the one whom works to save the world, He is the one in whom we must put our faith, the one that we trust the one we must abide in.
Q25 How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, (Heb. 9:14,28) and reconcile us to God; (Heb. 2:17) and in making continual intercession for us. (Heb. 7:24–25)