Ezekiel 15 is a short chapter of only 8 verses. The metaphor that Ezekiel uses is that of a dead vine (Ezekiel 15:2). He states that it is basically good for nothing but to be tossed into a fire and used as fuel (Ezek. 15:3-4). Even the remaining charred middle part of the vine that is pulled from the ashes is worthless (Ezek. 15:4-5). Likewise, the judgment on those in Jerusalem will be complete and there will be nothing left of any redeeming value.
It is worth noting that even though God is patient and withholds immediate judgment on our sin by His mercy, His judgment will come and it will be thorough. When I ponder that fact, I am comforted by the truth of the gospel and its effectiveness against the truth of Hebrews 9:27. I am deserving of the same judgment that the people of Jerusalem faced. I too have been guilty of idolatry and I have turned my back on God. Though there is no doubt that I was guilty and facing judgment before Christ redeemed me, I have also sinned against God since becoming a believer. Oh, what a wonderful work of grace the gospel is. Jesus has paid the penalty for my sin. The lyrics from the chorus of the song, Jesus Paid It All express this truth:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow. 1
Psalm 56 is rich for the believer who is burdened by fear and/or anxiety. Once of the most precious verses is Ps. 56:3,
“When I am afraid I will trust in you.” (emphasis mine). It would be a good practice for every believer, myself included, to wake up each morning and quote that verse as a statement of our will!
Ps. 56:8 is a reminder that God does care about every pain we experience whether is is physical or emotional. Certainly the psalmist, David, experience physically pain while he and his men were on the run from King Saul, but the pain he speaks of in these psalms is likely emotional suffering. There is a great value in pairing Ps. 56:8 with Ps. 56:3.
Ps. 56:9-11 is an echo of Ps. 56:3. Since it is repeated again, it makes me pause to contemplate its importance. When I fear or when anxiety is crippling my life, I must trust in God even though I don’t see His hand. John Piper writes about anxiety in the blog at Desiring God:
Jesus must mean that God’s knowing is accompanied by his desiring to meet our need. He is emphasizing we have a Father. And this Father is better than an earthly father.
…He knows everything about them now and tomorrow, inside and out. He sees every need.
Add to that, his huge eagerness to meet their needs (the “much more” of Matt. 6:30). Add to that his complete ability to do what he is eager to do (he feeds billions of birds hourly, Matt. 6:26).…2
D.A. Carson gives a wonderful explanation of the anguish that David felt in Ps. 57:2
Certainly David does not think that somehow circumstances have slipped away from such a God. He begs for mercy, but he recognizes that God, the powerful God, fulfills his purposes in him. This mixture of humble pleading and quiet trust in God’s sovereign power recurs in Scripture again and again. Nowhere does it reach a higher plane than in the prayer of the Lord Jesus in the garden: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). In some measure or another, every follower of Jesus Christ will want to learn the anguish and the joy of that sort of praying.3
My prayer this morning is that I can redeem the burden that I carry by the power of the Holy Spirit for His glory and for my good.
1 Faith Publishing House, Evening Light Songs, 1949, edited 1987 (466); All to Christ I Owe
2 John Piper, “Your Father Knows What You Need,” Desiring God (blog), February 9, 2009, http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/your-father-knows-what-you-need.
3 D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 25.