Read Ezekiel 17
I love the rich language and imagery of the Word of God. The book of Ezekiel is rife with it! It is sometimes easier to shy away from books like this (Revelation comes to mind) with difficult to comprehend word pictures. But that is like forfeiting treasure! Ever been on an Easter egg hunt? Did you notice that often the best and biggest chocolate egg was hidden in a harder to reach place? So reach up high and look carefully….God’s word is full of glowing, wonderful treasure for your mind, heart and soul.
Which takes us back to Ezekiel 17. He describes “a great eagle with powerful wings, long feathers and full plumage of varied colors”. The great eagle broke off the top shoot of one of the renowned cedars of Lebanon and planted it in fertile soil, with abundant water, “so it became a vine and produced branches and put out leafy boughs”. This is a picture of blessing. The cedar grew strong, given everything it needed in full supply. But what did the cedar do? Well you’ve heard the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side”. It began putting out its roots to search for water elsewhere, and stretching out branches in another direction. God is describing the rebelliousness of Israel and a political situation of the time, but there is truth for us here also. In spite of being planted in the best possible soil with water flowing to its roots, the cedar tree was not content. And unfortunately this is also a picture of the human heart, turning away to lesser things for fulfillment, rejecting what God has lovingly provided. Can you relate?
“Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots.” Vs 9
Ah. The painful uprooting, the dead branches, rotten roots. I can see it in my mind’s eye, and I have seen it in my own life. Why did I not enjoy the blessing around me? Why did I look to other things, other people, other places, lifting my face to a different sun for warmth and life? And having learned these lessons in the past, why do I STILL do this? Time to give your branches a shake, tall cedar. Look around at what you have been given, see the lush soil, the clean water, and bear fruit that will remain. The prophet Jeremiah describes the human heart as deceitful and impossible to know; “it is beyond cure…who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 The longer you live, the more you realize what a fitting description this is! What does a person do with such a heart? There is an answer. If you read on to the end of chapter 18 you will find it.
God himself states, “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit.”
We need a new heart. A heart that beats for God’s glory and not our own, a heart that is content to bask in the joy and blessing He has given. God knows we will only be satisfied in Him, in His will and plan for our lives. When we look elsewhere, He finds a way to bring us back. Look for the blessing around you. Can you see it? If not, maybe it’s time for a new heart, and a new spirit.
PRAY. Sovereign Lord, You love us. Thank-you for providing all we need and could ever ask for. Help us to see it, Lord, give us your eyes. Help us to grow strong and bear fruit, walking in your will. Amen.