the first eagle
Ezekiel 17:1-6 (JDV)
Ezekiel 17:1 The word of Yahveh happened to me. This is what it said:
Ezekiel 17:2 “Son of Adam, pose a riddle and speak a parable to the house of Israel.
Ezekiel 17:3 You are to say, ‘This is what the Lord Yahveh says: A large eagle with powerful wings, long feathers, and full plumage of many colors came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar.
Ezekiel 17:4 He plucked off its topmost shoot, brought it to the land of merchants, and set it in a city of traders.
Ezekiel 17:5 Then he took some of the land’s seed and put it in a fertile field; he set it like a willow, a plant by abundant water.
Ezekiel 17:6 It sprouted and became a spreading vine, low in height with its branches turned toward him, yet its roots stayed under it. So it became a vine, produced branches, and sent out shoots.
the first eagle
This is not the entire parable, so only some elements have been revealed at this point. This first eagle is the king of Babylon, and the vine is Zedekiah’s offspring. Although humbled and in exile, the vine spread, producing branches and sending out shoots.
It is human nature to want to get out of your humbling circumstances and make something better for yourself and your children. But like Zedekiah, we can be tempted to do this in ways that are outside God’s purposes for us. Not all of us are destined to be mighty eagles in this life. Sometimes, the best that we can hope for is to be a spreading vine under the mighty eagle’s power. Zedekiah had made a covenant with Babylon, and things went well with his children as long as he kept that covenant.
But — we will see in more detail later — there was another eagle, and the vine defaulted on its promises to the first eagle. That was an unwise choice. The vine was blooming where it had been planted, but it wanted more than God allowed.
LORD, give us the wisdom to seek a balance in our lives where we seek the best but stay true to our responsibilities and present boundaries.