Ezekiel 17:24 “All the trees of the field will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.”
Several companies who have leased our church a photocopier have made strong promises about how fast their customer service works. “If your machine breaks down, we guarantee a service tech will show up the same day,” or even “We will have a man on site within the hour.”
I have sometimes wondered, “What happens if you fail to get a repairman out in the time you guarantee? Do we get a new machine? Do we get a month free on our lease?” As it turns out, there is no consequence for them not keeping their promise. It may be their honest intent, and they may keep it most of the time, but otherwise their promise is nothing more than words.
God gives us proof to back up his promises in many places throughout the Scriptures. We have one in words he gave to the prophet Ezekiel. He uses the picture cedar tree. He takes a sprig off the top, plants it, and it grows into a great tree that produces fruit and provides shelter. This is a picture of the Messiah, the Christ, he had been promising for centuries.
Now the Lord makes this application about the thing he has done: “All the trees of the field will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.” This is the kind of God he is. He has a way of reversing things, especially when it serves the salvation of his people. He takes those who think they are above the rest–the rich, the powerful, the influential, the intellectual–and he humbles them. He hasn’t limited himself to ancient history. We still see dictators rise to pillage their own people and terrorize their neighbors, only to have their power collapse and their regimes fail. The Lord brings down the tall tree and dries up the green tree. The gospel of Christ often finds new opportunities to expand God’s kingdom in the void they leave behind.
The other side of God’s promise is true as well. He takes those who have nothing going for them– the weak, the poor, the simple, the sorry–and he lifts them up and fills them with new life. He takes a David, the youngest in his family, nothing but a shepherd boy, and he makes him king. He helps him win a small empire, and he gives him a place in family tree of the Savior of the world. He took you and me and adopted us as his own sons and daughters by faith, so that we could be called the children of God.
Since Ezekiel wrote this prophecy his words have been fulfilled. God has planted his Messiah on earth in the person of Jesus. His ministry fulfilled all God’s prophecies and purposes. He purchased forgiveness and secured eternal life. His church has grown and spread to feed and shelter the hearts and souls of people all over the world. “I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it,” God promised. He hasn’t given us empty promises. He has given us proof.