-The LORD propounds a riddle and its explanation through Ezekiel in this illuminating chapter. The eagles represent sent the kingdoms of Babylon, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, who made covenant with Judah after taking Lebanon in the north, and Egypt, who proved to be an unfaithful ally. Nebuchadnezzar had come to Jerusalem, taken its king (Jehoiachin) and princes and brought them to him in Babylon. He had set up, “planted” or “appointed,” Zedekiah as king in Jerusalem with a covenant oath. But, Zedekiah rebelled against his authority attempting to gain autonomy by siding with the Pharaoh of Egypt, which was the second eagle. This “vine” which the first eagle planted in fertile soil with some of the choice remaining Hebrew seed could have thrived, but turned it roots towards an incapable partner (allied Egypt). God says this union will not thrive, but will wither and be defeated (Ezekiel 17:1-15). “’As I live,’ declares the Lord God, ‘Surely in the country of the king who put him (Zedekiah) on the throne, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke, in Babylon he shall die. Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company will not help him in the war, when they cast up ramps and build siege walls to cut off many lives. Now he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, and behold, he pledged his allegiance, yet did all these things; he shall not escape (Ezekiel 17:16-18).’” The LORD says this action will come back on him as He inflicts retribution for not being content during the Almighty’s judgment. Zedekiah will be caught in a snare, and the LORD will spread His net over him so as to bring him into captivity in Babylon to enter into judgment regarding the unfaithful act which he committed against God Himself (Ezekiel 17:19-20). Further, all the choice men of his army will fall by the sword, and the survivors will be scattered to every wind for the purpose of people knowing that the LORD God has spoken (Ezekiel 17:21).
-Then the low tree, “a sprig off of lofty top of the cedar,” tender and true will be planted on a high and lofty mountain to bring forth boughs and bear fruit becoming a stately cedar. Birds of every kind will come and nest under its shady branches. Then all of “the trees of the field will know that I am the LORD; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will perform it (Ezekiel 17:22-24).” This is clearly a Messianic hope given here as the true Kingdom of glory fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
-*Application* We need to be content in the discipline of the LORD when it comes (Hebrews 12:4-12). Clearly God works through people who get the attribute of humility. He came as the suffering Servant in the flesh to restore and deliver. Embrace the lowly things!
Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 17:18