Talks for Growing Christians
Israel’s Fruitlessness Illustrated
Lesson Number 15
- A fruitless vine is good for nothing.
- A fruitless vine is given to the fire.
- In chapters 15, 16 and 17, Ezekiel gives 3 parables to portray the condition of the people of Jerusalem. Ezekiel here in chapter 15 speaks of the woody portion of the vine plant. When the vine itself is bad and its wood is useless, what conclusions can be drawn regarding the fruit of this vine?
- List 3 other portions of Scripture that speak about the condition of God’s vine, the house of Israel.
- Would the Jewish people listening to Ezekiel as he gave this parable have understood who was being pictured as the fruitless vine?
- In verses 4 and 5, the Lord said to Ezekiel that the vine would be thrown into the fire and charred at both ends. This is likely a reference to the attacks Judah had experienced from the north, by the nation of __________, and from the south, by the nation of ___________.
- God had intended that Israel, His vine, would bear spiritual fruit. However, the vine itself had gone bad as Ezekiel clearly details in the previous chapters. It therefore was bearing no fruit at all. A vine that bears no fruit is worthless – even the wood of the vine has no value.
- Hosea 10:1-2, Isaiah 5:1-7 and Jeremiah 2:21 all speak about the people of Israel as God’s vine and their poor and unworthy condition because of their iniquities.
- The people of Israel would have been able to understand the meaning of the parable because of the earlier prophetic references to them as the fruitless vine.
- The burning or charring of the vine at both ends most likely refers to the attacks against Judah from the north by Assyria and from the south by Egypt. The ultimate burning of the middle of the vine, the city of Jerusalem, came as Nebuchadnezzar attacked and burned the city in 586 BC.
- Here in chapter 15, Israel is pictured as a vine planted in the land of Canaan. In New Testament Scripture such as John 15, Jesus describes Himself as the true vine, and His followers as the branches. Discuss the implications of both portions of Scripture and how they relate to God’s people, both in Ezekiel’s day and in our day, as to being fruit-bearing or fruitless.
- Have you taken time alone recently to examine your life to see if there is fruit-bearing? Are the hours and days of your life spent in obedient service to the Lord and bearing fruit in the kingdom, or are they spent in the labor and activity of fruitless works? Turn to the true vine and abide in Him in obedience. Jesus said, “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.” John 15:5
- “Therefore 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 I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will set my face against them.’” Ezekiel 15:6, 7a