God uses an analogy of a vine to demonstrate that Israel has fallen so low that it is good for nothing other than to be burned.
Ezekiel Chapter 15
Lessons from the text
Burning the Trash In a somewhat harsh analogy, God said that those who were left in Jerusalem were not good for anything other than to be burned. They were like vines whose only purpose was to become kindling for someone else. God is, in an interesting way, reminding us that we are nothing without Him. The Jews starting with nothing as slaves in Egypt. Rooted and planted by God in Canaan, however, they grew and appeared to thrive. But they cast themselves away. They willingly left the ground God had planted for them, which was the laws and statues of the Most High that were given to Moses. They broke off of the branch. Separated from their source of strength, they began to wither. They became good for nothing.
When we are in a relationship with God, we are planted and rooted in Him. God nourishes us and supplies our needs. But if we choose to walk away from that nourishment, if we choose to break off of the vine, then we are just a branch that will wither and be good for nothing other than kindling.
Verse by Verse Commentary
A vine climbing a tree trunk.
1-4 The vine is a parasite in the plant kingdom. It starts in the ground, but rather than draw its nourishment from the soil like other plants, it attaches to other trees to suck out nutrition. Instead of developing strong branches for itself so it can reach the sun, the vine climbs over trees’ branches to spiral upwards. The vines are actually capable of killing a tree; the vine attaches new roots in the tree to suck it dry of nutrition while blocking out the tree source of food, the sun, by choking out the tree’s leaves with its own leaves. For all these reasons, people usually burn vines.
5 Stealing stability and nutrition from trees, the vine has no strength of its own. The branches of the vine never develop into sturdy, straight branches that can be used for wood. It is not even sturdy enough to be used as a support to hold up anything. Alive, the vine is not useful for humans. If it is of no use when it is alive, it can not possibly be of use after it had been decomposed from being burn. 6-7 The Jews left in Jerusalem are like the vine. They are not useful for any work of God now while they are rooted in their city. The only use for the vine is to be burned for light and heat. Therefore, the Jews left in the city can only serve God as a means of supplying light to others. Through their judgment, the Gentiles and the remnant of Jews in the captivity will recognize that the Lord is the one, true God. 8 God explains the reason for this judgment; the people have sinned. This is particularly understood in the context of the deportation; God had Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon take away the first wave of captives as a judgment for sin, yet the survivors refused to turn to God. They continued to rebel against God’s directions through His prophets in that they continued in idolatry and rebelled against Babylon (II Chro. 36:11-14). See Jeremiah 24:1-10 for a similar analogy.
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