Ezekiel 15-18

The Vine, the Branches and Pruning

In Chapter 15 the branch of the vine is compared to the branch of a tree. They are different and so are we when we become a child of God. The vine is to bear fruit as Jesus made clear in John 15. In order for us to bear fruit we must remain connected to the vine. The vine is Jesus. God the Father is the one who prunes (or cleans John 15:2) the branches that do not bear fruit. If the branch does not bear fruit it will be eventually cut off. It will dry up and be thrown into the fire. This is what Ezekiel is being shown in our study today. I highly recommend that we add to our study today John 15.

In Ezekiel 16 we read the vineyard is Jerusalem a Canaanite city that was given to Israel as they grew to be a nation. Isaiah 5 describes the vineyard as well as Matthew 21:33-46. In this chapter we read that the Father was expecting the branches of the vine to bear fruit but He found that they were wild.

Years ago I planted some cuttings of grapes I received from the County Extension Service. Over the years they established themselves but I confess I would only prune them in the spring. The vines grew wild. In a season the branches can grow 20 feet or more. They grow up into trees, along the fence, and everywhere they spread they cling to any and everything with their tendrils. What they don’t do is bear fruit. Oh, there are a few grapes here and there but a cluster may consist of one or two grapes. It is clear to me that without pruning there will be no fruit.

In Ezekiel 17 we read of the pruning process that the Father was doing to the nation. Again in John 15:2 we read that the process has two parts. The branches that do not bear fruit are taken away and burned in the fire. God is using Nebuchadnezzar as His pruning tool. The second part of the pruning process is to identify which branches are bearing fruit. These branches God prunes so they can be more fruitful. Chapter 18 speaks of the identification process. The branches that bear fruit, though few in this case, are going to be pruned severely. These are the people who will become the remnant that returns to Jerusalem the vineyard. They will be taken to Babylon where they are trained to grow into branches that will bear fruit for the Lord.  In Jeremiah 29:1-14 we are told that God has a plan and instructs the people as to what to do, and that they are to grow and increase while they are in Babylon.

So, there is a lot to learn from these chapters today along with John 15, Matthew 21, Isaiah 5, Jeremiah 29, and I may as well add Romans 11.

When I first started reading the Bible it was easy to see how to apply it to other people and family. One day I realized that I needed one more thing in my Bible. Right inside the cover I needed a mirror so I could see who God was speaking to as I read His Word. Now when I study the Bible I try to see how what I am reading applies to me rather than deflect it on someone else.

I recommend you do the same as you read these studies each day. God is speaking. Are we listening?

Pastor Dave