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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 15

Verses 1-8

  1. Intro:
    1. Remember this phrase: “God wisely designed the human body so that we can neither pat our own backs nor kick ourselves too easily!”
    2. In Scripture we talk about: the fruit of the vine(the grapes); it’s leaves; the vineyard; the owner of the vineyard; the vinedresser(tends/prunes); the vine; the True Vine; the branches; the vine/branch connection(abiding); wine from the grapes; how it creeps on the walls(Tendrils= threadlike plant part attached to support); etc.
      1. Here the focus is specifically on the wood of the Vine!
    3. Q: Describe for me what the wood of the grapevine looks like? [show grapevine wood]
  2. THE WOOD OF THE VINE! (1-8)
    1. THE PARABLE! (1-5)
    2. The Vine…a symbol of Israel.
      1. Is.5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
      2. The Vine symbolized prosperity, blessing, & happiness in the nation.
      3. The Vine had one purpose, to be productive & bear grapes.
        1. They were to bear witness in the world to the true God.
        2. So Israel was to bear the fruit of righteousness.
        3. Or for 2 things: Bearing or Burning!
    3. To illustrate Israel’s unfaithfulness & worthlessness in failing to bear the fruit of righteousness, the Lord revealed the uselessness of a vine…as wood.
      1. The vine could not be used for construction or even as a peg to hang pots in a house. [It has twisting, gnarled branches]
        1. It does not lend itself to being cut & shaped.
          1. This was the condition of God’s people in Ezekiel’s day.
      2. If a vine ceased to produce fruit, there was no point in leaving its roots in the ground; it would be far better to cut it down and burn it.
      3. The vine is even less useful when it had been charred on both ends & plucked from the fire!
        1. This suggested Israel’s suffering at the hands of Neb. (See 2 Kings 25:9)
      4. Jer.2:21 I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?
      5. Again, the vine was only useful for producing grapes!
    4. The Vine - Cut, it is nothing, but Growing, the vine can do what no other tree can do, namely produce a harvest of grapes. And from grapes, wine can be made!
      1. Jn.15:4,5 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
      2. (Message) I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate an organic(developing gradually and naturally, w/o being forced or contrived), the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.
    5. THE INTERPRETATION! (6-8)
    6. The Lord clearly interpreted the parable.
      1. As the pruned vine limbs that bore no grapes were cut off & thrown into the fire, so God had delivered the inhabitants of Jerusalem to destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.30) (6)
        1. The people would not escape the invading Babylonian hordes, who would pillage & burn the city.
    7. The Lord again reminded the people of the necessity of the judgment…“because they have persisted in unfaithfulness”.
    8. APPLICATION TO THE CHURCH!
    9. The ancient parable continues to apply to the church.
    10. Like Israel, the church has a single mission: it is to convey the love of God to the world.
      1. Love is in the roots of the church, just as it must be in the fruits of the church. For the members of the church must love God (1st com) & they must love one another (2nd com)
      2. Only then can love flow through the church in the fulfillment of its mission to the world.
      3. But there is a constant tendency for the church to forget that it is a vine; it seeks instead to become an oak or a cedar.
      4. It exchanges the mission of love for a multitude of worldly pursuits, all honest enough in themselves, but not the purpose for the church’s existence.
    11. And when it has failed in its function, it is good for nothing else.
    12. APPLICATION TO THE INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER!
    13. But it is always too easy to criticize an institution, yet fail to see the parallels in the lives of individual persons, indeed in our own lives!
      1. For we each have a calling, the ministry of love; it may be exercised in a multitude of different ministries, yet its central concern remains the same.
      2. But we, like Israel, may be side-tracked from our calling.
        1. Ambition may become the focal point of our lives, or luxury, or money, or power, or the various forms of evil!
        2. Some side-tracks seem innocent enough and some are clearly sinful, yet all become wrong in that they have led away from the 1st calling, namely to love.
        3. And like the wood of the vine, we can make ourselves useless; failing to provide fruit, we can always be bundled for firewood.
    14. One of the greatest tragedies in life is wasted opportunity, not making the most of what God has given us.
      1. We all came into this world with certain abilities. (athletic, musically inclined)
      2. When God saved us, He gave us gifts & the grace to exercise those gifts to help others & to build our own lives to the glory of His name.
    15. Q: Are you fulfilling what you have been designed for?
    16. He has planted us in specific & strategic places(environments) so we’d take deep root, so we’d bear much fruit.
      1. Challenge: Bloom where you are planted & bear fruit to the glory of God & the enrichment of others.
      2. Use your God-given talents & draw from God’s spiritual resources & let Him use you to enrich others. ☺
    17. APPLICATION TO THE HUMBLING OF GOD’S PEOPLE!
    18. These words are for the humbling of God’s people.
      1. They have the title God’s vine but what R they by nature more than other?
      2. ​​​​​​​Only by God’s goodness have they become fruitful by: being planted in good soil; the Lord trained them upon the walls of the sanctuary; they bring forth fruit to His glory.
      3. Q: But what are they/we w/o their/our God?
      4. Q: What are they/we w/o the continual influence of the Spirit?
    19. Learn to reject pride, because we don’t have any ground for it.
      1. The more we have the more we are indebted to God.
      2. How many times have our hearts wandered? (Are we even worthy to still be called his son/daughter?)
      3. The word humble comes from humus translated “earth” or “dirt”.
        1. Humility is coming to grips with our humanity.
        2. When we’re humble we are down to earth!
        3. Phil.2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
        4. (Message) Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
        5. If you’re still asking, “How much can I keep” or “How much do I have to give up”…you’re still at the pool of Narcissus!
        6. Narcissus – Gk mythology. Patron saint of Humanity!
        7. Rejected the love of others, never found a suitor worthy of himself. 1 day passing thru the forest bent down to get a drink & saw an image so beautiful, 1st time found himself wrapped in love. Reached down to place his lips on his newfound love, image shattered into a thousand ripples.
        8. Another twist - The lake (he fell into & drowned) was silent for some time(then talking to Echo, the beautiful nymph friend was in love w/Narcissus). Finally, it said: "I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.”
      4. Bethlehem church illustration: Submission came before admission & admission was necessary for communion. [Equally true in our relationship w/God]
    20. If He has made you anything, it is only GRACE that has made you different!
      1. You have not one thing to call your own,…except your sin & misery.
      2. Interesting, we have borrowed everything, why do we exalt ourselves?
      3. Spurgeon, “We are poor pensioners upon the bounty of our Savior. We are completely dependant upon the fresh water from the streams of life, yet proud? Oh, silly heart!”
    21. Look at Paul’s 3 descriptions of himself, dating from around A.D. 59, 63, and 64.
      1. As the years pass he goes lower; he grows downward!
      2. I am the least of the apostles. - 1 Corinthians 15:9
      3. I am the less than the least of all the saints. - Ephesians 3:8
      4. I am the worst of sinners. - 1 Timothy 1:15
    22. Humility and a passion for praise is a pair of characteristics which together indicate growth in grace.
      1. The Bible is full of self-humbling (man bowing down before God) and doxology (man giving praise to God).
      2. The healthy heart is one that bows down in humility and rises in praise and adoration.
        [The Psalms strike both these notes again and again]
      3. As Paul’s self-confidence sinks, so his rapture of praise & adoration rises.
    23. Really great people know that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them.
      1. William Carey [father of modern missions]. The man who spent his early years as a cobbler became one of the greatest linguists the church has ever known. It’s reported that Carey translated parts of the Bible into as many as 24 Indian languages. When he first went to India, some regarded him with dislike and contempt. At a dinner party a distinguished guest, hoping to humiliate Carey, said in a loud voice, “I suppose, Mr. Carey, you once worked as a shoemaker.” Carey responded humbly, “No, your lordship, not as a shoemaker, only a cobbler.”
        1. Carey didn’t claim to make shoes, only to mend them.
    24. “God wisely designed the human body so that we can neither pat our own backs nor kick ourselves too easily!”
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Ezekiel 15". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/ezekiel-15.html. 2017.