Summary: A study of chapter 15 verses 1 through 8
Ezekiel 15: 1 – 8
“1 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 2 “Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any other wood, the vine branch which is among the trees of the forest? 3 Is wood taken from it to make any object? Or can men make a peg from it to hang any vessel on? 4 Instead, it is thrown into the fire for fuel; the fire devours both ends of it, and its middle is burned. Is it useful for any work? 5 Indeed, when it was whole, no object could be made from it. How much less will it be useful for any work when the fire has devoured it, and it is burned?6 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; 7 and I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I set My face against them. 8 Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,’ says the Lord GOD.”
Have you ever heard or maybe even possibly said, ‘I hate myself’. Honesty is the best policy. In all truth, you do not hate yourself – everyone loves himself or herself. You usually make this statement because something displeases you. If you hated yourself and something went bad for you – you would be happy – because don’t forget – you hate yourself, right?
Chapter 15 is a short chapter. We will take a look at a very familiar passage. I would say that many people even non-believers are familiar with the passage our Lord Jesus Christ stated in the gospel of John chapter 15, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Our life source from beginning to end depends on abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ. As the scripture states so truly, we can do absolutely nothing on our own.
In the book of Ezekiel however, we see God explain that people who go it alone as their own vine are worthless. The vine was used as a reference to the nation of Israel. God planted the Jews in His land in order to produce fruit that is the purpose of a vine. The nation of Israel had failed its mandate and as a vine that does not produce grapes is useless, so is a nation that does not produce fruit. The vine is really not even wood that could be used for fuel. So any vine which cannot produce grapes is totally useless. It just takes up space if not productive. In order to get rid of it, the vine is destroyed by fire. There is no place good to just throw it away.
“1 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 2 “Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any other wood, the vine branch which is among the trees of the forest? 3 Is wood taken from it to make any object? Or can men make a peg from it to hang any vessel on?”
Do you see anything wrong here? Right from the start of this Scripture we see something incorrect. ‘What is the vine tree more than any tree?’ There is no such thing as a vine tree. The whole significance here regards unregenerate man and sinful Israel in particular. God planted Israel among the nations. It’s principal purpose was to be separate as God’s own people and nation and bear fruit worthy of Him. However, Israel ultimately drifted away from being God’s own people and wanted to be just like the other nations. Our Lord therefore compares them now as they had always wanted, to be just like other countries. He uses a forest to describe the variety of different cultures. He draws a picture of a vine trying to be just like all the other variety of trees in a forest. A vine does not become just like any other tree. It is an irregularity.
Many of you are familiar with a Hans Christian Anderson’s story, ‘The Ugly Duckling”. When you are a swan you do not fit in with ducks. So also is a Christian who tries to fit in with the world. You stand out like the Swan in the Ugly Duckling story. The world is not your home.
I invite you to take a walk in the woods sometime. Look around at all the various trees that are growing side by side. In a park near my house there is this root that grows out of the ground. This root was about ¼ inch thick. It attached itself to a good healthy tree. It has grown amazingly fast and has wrapped itself totally around the tree. It has gotten fat off the nourishment from the tree. It a short time it has actually grown to about 1 foot in diameter. It seems like something from outer space. It has now reached out to other trees and has spread its tentacles out and grabbed a hold of another tree. During the night I heard this great cracking. I noticed that the root has killed the tree by strangling it to death. With its roots so intertwined around the tree the tree just split but could not even fall to the ground. I see our Lord’s illustration in chapter 15 so lifelike by this example.