|@September 5, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- Jerusalem, a Useless Vine
This short chapter opens with God posing a question to Ezekiel of if the wood of a vine is better than the branches of any trees in the forest. The obvious answer is that apart from its ability to bear fruit, the wood of a tangled vine is inferior to the wood of a tree. The vine represented Israel, a reference that made its first appearance in Num. 13:23 as a symbol of the richness of Canaan, the land promised to Israel. The vine is the object of God’s loving care and He is its Vinedresser. Apart from vital relationship with Him, there can be no fruit.
In Ezek. 15:3-5, Go asks two follow-up questions of 1) whether the wood of the vine is taken to make anything and 2) if people make pegs from it to hang vessels. The implied answer is again “no” because the wood of the vine essentially useless as building material. God then rhetorically asks whether it can be used for anything once fire has consumed both ends of it and the middle is charred (Ezek. 15:5).
In Ezek. 15:6-8, God compares the wood of the vine given up for fuel to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In His active judgment, God will set His face against them and whatever escape they may achieve will be temporary; “the fire shall shall yet consume them” (Ezek. 15:7). All this is done “because they have acted faithlessly”, the root cause of God’s judgment.
A couple of important concepts emerge from this chapter. First, that the branches of the vine are useless apart from its abiding in the Root. Jesus is the true Vine (John 15:1) and it is in Him that we live and move and have our being. The Israelites had lost sight of this, abiding instead in worthless idols where no lasting nourishment was to be found. This is no different from us today, striving to find assurance in worldly things or our in own abilities.
The last section of the chapter is also helpful in seeing that God’s judgement is active. In Ezek. 15:7, God said that “I will set my face against them.”, demonstrating that He is in no way neutral in His opposition to unrighteousness. God is gracious, kind and abundantly patient, but He is also ferociously holy and will extend His toleration of sin only so far.
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources Used
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)