Summary: Many Christians fall in love with the devil. It starts by flirting with the devil and it ends with falling in love with the devil.
Last week, I ended with asking you how your relationship with The Lord was, and how your relationship with satan is.
Many Christians shudder at the thought of developing a relationship, or a bond, with satan and rightly so. To think that a child of God would enjoy close companionship to the sworn enemy of the creator Father who
SHAKING HANDS WITH HEAVEN, MAKING EYES WITH THE DEVIL
Ezekiel Chapter 17
God is intimately involved in the history of creation and all that exists. He uses whom He chooses. He finds favor on those whom He chooses. And all of it is for His glory. Nebuchadnezzar was the instrument that God used to bring judgement upon His people. Nebuchadnezzar believed that he was to be the one to conquer Judah, and he believed this was given to him in a dream (Daniel 2). Nevertheless, he was king at the time that Babylon conquered Judah, and this part takes place around 597 BC. (To get more of a timeline understanding, many years after the conquest of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar is the same king who would go mad for 7 years thinking he was an animal (Daniel 4) and then had the handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5) letting him know that Babylon would be falling.)
Despite the fateful part he played in Judah’s history, Nebuchadnezzar is seen in Jewish tradition in a predominantly favourable light. It was claimed that he gave orders for the protection of Jeremiah, who regarded him as God’s appointed instrument whom it was impiety to disobey, and the prophet Ezekiel expressed a similar view at the attack on Tyre. A corresponding attitude to Nebuchadnezzar, as God’s instrument against wrongdoers, occurs in the Apocrypha in 1 Esdras and, as protector to be prayed for, in Baruch. In Daniel (Old Testament) and in Bel and the Dragon (Apocrypha), Nebuchadnezzar appears as a man, initially deceived by bad advisers, who welcomes the situation in which truth is triumphant and God is vindicated.
The first eagle is the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. He took the king of Judah (Jehoiachin) away from Jerusalem (the cedar) into Babylon. He then took Jehoiachin’s uncle and made him king of Judah. This guy was named Mattaniah, but soon became known as Zedekiah. Nebuchadnezzar made a covenant with Zedekiah and allowed him to bear fruit and prosper. Unfortunately for Zedekiah, he wasn’t too smart and this covenant wasn’t good enough for Zedekiah.
Zedekiah looked to the south, which was Egypt, the second Eagle. For those of you who were not here last week, THE EGYPTIANS REPRESENT OPPRESSION AND SLAVERY TO THE ENEMY. IT ALSO REPRESENTS A LAND THAT IS AT PEACE BUT ALSO SEPERATED FROM GOD. ODDLY ENOUGH, MANY OF THE JEWS WHO WENT INTO EXILE LOOKED TO EGYPT AS A PLACE OF REFUGE. GOD SAYS IN JEREMIAH THAT THOSE WHO LOOKED TO EGYPT WOULD DIE BY THE SWORD, FAMINE, AND PLAGUE IN THE SAME WAY HE DESTROYED JERUSALEM.
The uprooting of the vine was the punishment that Zedekiah experienced by Babylon. 2 Kings 25 goes into detail about this.
Zedekiah went from having a covenant with someone who was allowing him to prosper to choosing to make a covenant with someone who was not going to help him prosper.
According to verses 19-21, everything that has happened, is under the authority of God. God allowed Zedekiah to have an opportunity to establish His presence in Jerusalem. Instead, Zedekiah opted to reject the covenant, much like many reject the covenant that God has made with us.
He despised the oath by breaking the covenant that he had with Nebuchadnezzar. Because of this, he watched his sons get killed, Jerusalem was burned down, the Temple of The Lord was destroyed, among other atrocities. Zedekiah (means the Lord is Righteous) (BTW, Mattaniah means gift of Yahweh) was unable to see God’s grace at work. NEBUCHADNEZZAR CHANGED MATTANIAHS NAME FROM GIFT OF YAHWEH TO THE LORD IS RIGHTEOUS. He was unable to see God moving. ARE WE ABLE TO SEE GOD MOVING? CAN WE RECOGNIZE HIS GRACE DURING THE MIDST OF A BATTLE? Even if he could, he was more interested in breaking the yoke with Nebuchadnezzar and forming an alliance with the King of Egypt. HE WOULD RATHER FORM AN ALLIANCE WITH THE WORLD, THEN BE SUBJECTED TO BEING UNDER THE YOKE OF GODS GRACE AND EXPECTATIONS.
17:22-24 The chapter ends with the sign of the Messianic Kingdom to come that would be set up under Christ. He is the “tinder sprig” that doesn’t look like much, but grows to become a “splendid cedar” that produces branches and bears fruit. This splendid cedar offers protection for every bird of the air, and every person.
Winston Churchill once said… “I’d form an alliance with the devil himself if it helped defeat Hitler.’