“Thus says the Lord GOD: “I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. (Ezekiel 17:22-23)
The creativity God inspired in the writers of Holy Scripture is amazing. In Ezekiel 17:22-23 we get a brief yet moving glimpse in how God will bring salvation to all people.
It is clear from its context that this passage is about the coming Messiah. We discover that, first and foremost, God the Father is choosing to send the Messiah. Hence, the Lord takes the sprig from the top of the cedar.
Next, we note that the Lord does not take a strong branch to transplant. No, God takes a tender twig, a young shoot that could barely be expected to survive. This so reminds us of Jesus’ humble arrival. Instead of being born in the capital of Jerusalem, Jesus was born in the rural outpost of Bethlehem. Instead of being announced to royalty, Jesus’ birth is proclaimed to shepherds.
The transplanted sprig will become a noble cedar on the mountain heights of Israel. By specifying the sprig will mature on the mountain heights, Ezekiel is again making it clear that the Lord is sending the Christ.
Then, the words that cause us to catch our breath. Even though the noble cedar is on Israel’s mountain heights, every bird will in its shade. This brings to mind such passages as Isaiah 49:6 and Acts 13:44-52, where those of us who are not Jewish learn the Messiah also came for Gentiles.
God’s creativity in communicating with us through the Bible truly is a marvel.
Until next week, the Lord bless and guide.
(This weekly devotion is written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS. You can learn more about the Ohio District at oh.lcms.org)