Ezekiel 15:1-8 (NIV) 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, how is the wood of a vine better than that of a branch on any of the trees in the forest? 3 Is wood ever taken from it to make anything useful? Do they make pegs from it to hang things on? 4 And after it is thrown on the fire as fuel and the fire burns both ends and chars the middle, is it then useful for anything? 5 If it was not useful for anything when it was whole, how much less can it be made into something useful when the fire has burned it and it is charred? 6 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem. 7 I will set my face against them. Although they have come out of the fire, the fire will yet consume them. And when I set my face against them, you will know that I am the LORD. 8 I will make the land desolate because they have been unfaithful, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
On verses 1-8: Here Ezekiel senses the Lord give him the first of three parables concerning the unfaithfulness of the people living in Jerusalem. In this parable, the Lord compares the people living in Jerusalem to a fruitless vine whose wood is unusable (v2-3) especially after having been burned in a fire (v4-5). The people living in Jerusalem had already “come out of the fire” of one Babylonian attack in 597 B.C. (v7). However, the Lord warns that a similar “fire will yet consume them” again (v7), meaning that they would be subject to another Babylonian attack. As history would show, this “fire” would take place in 586 B.C. due to the Israelites’ unfaithfulness to God (v8).
What can we learn from this? These verses remind me of what Jesus says about the disciple who does not bear fruit. God made us to bear fruit for Him. As Jesus says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples…You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.” (John 15:8, 16a)
What kind of fruit does God make us to bear? There’s the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control, which collectively are known as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). There’s the fruit of giving God passionate worship, the fruit of growing more like Jesus in our character, the fruit of serving God with our talents, the fruit of leading others to Jesus, and the fruit of loving our church family. There’s the fruit of persevering in the things God has called you to do.
When we don’t bear such fruit for Jesus and live merely for ourselves, we miss our purpose for living. Were we persist in living this way, eventually there might be nothing left of us for Jesus to use, such that, as His Word says, He might as well throw out and burn whatever’s left. Jesus says that a disciple who does not bear fruit for God “is like a branch that is thrown away and withers…picked up, thrown into the fire and burned” (John 15:6). When we throw away God’s purpose for our lives, it’s like we’re asking God to throw our lives away.
Lord Jesus, thank You for choosing me and appointing me to bear fruit for You. May I not miss my purpose for living, but may I bear much and lasting fruit for You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!