Monday, August 27, 2012
the uselessness of faithlessness
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
God compares the people of Jerusalem to dry grape vines. Just as the vine once dry has no real use as a wood, so they were now in a state of uselessness. Vine imagery is crucial to really understanding God's relationship with Israel in the Old Testament. In terms of expressing the meaning of the covenant, it is a common metaphor to describe Israel (see Psalm 80:8-16; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1). There are deep implications to what God briefly states through Ezekiel in this context.
There was no fit use for a dried up grapevine. No one made furniture or household items out of it. It was fit for one use... fuel for the fire. And so it was for Jerusalem. They had dried up. The limits of what God could do in His vineyard had been reached. The vine was dead and now only fit to fuel the fire.
The reason behind this bleak conclusion was that Israel had broken faith with God (Ezekiel 15:8). They no longer lived nor did they believe that God was uniquely to be worshiped. They abandoned the Law and practiced every evil. And God had lovingly confronted them repeatedly, only to be disregarded. Their faithlessness had dried them up. Their lives were dry. They could only be consumed by their faithlessness.
This principle is one reason why I choose to reject what "enlightenment" philosophy and today's hip skepticism teach. I don't live my life by the dictates of the Science Channel. I find it has nothing but a soul-drying lifelessness to it that ultimately proves fruitless. How much more invigorating and exciting it is to grow in Jesus and live in the True Vine (John 15), finding life, growth, and fruit dripping with the sweet wine of God's grace!