The Lord God taught in parables even in the days before Jesus was born to us. In chapter 17 The Lord told this parable in verses 3-10.
“say, Thus says the Lord God: A great eagle with great wings and long pinions, rich in plumage of many colors, came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar. 4 He broke off the topmost of its young twigs and carried it to a land of trade and set it in a city of merchants. 5 Then he took of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil. He placed it beside abundant waters. He set it like a willow twig,6 and it sprouted and became a low spreading vine, and its branches turned toward him, and its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out boughs.
7 “And there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage, and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and shot forth its branches toward him from the bed where it was planted, that he might water it. 8 It had been planted on good soil by abundant waters, that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.
“Say, Thus says the Lord God: Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers, so that all its fresh sprouting leaves wither? It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it from its roots. 10 Behold, it is planted; will it thrive? Will it not utterly wither when the east wind strikes it—wither away on the bed where it sprouted?”
God then interpreted the parable, it was about the King of Babylon taking away Israel’s leaders, making a pact with a member of the royal family, letting Israel remain dependent on him. But then the king turned around and made a covenant with Egypt. The Lord takes vows seriously. Making a contract with someone and betraying the first party by making promises to someone else isn’t cool with God.
The Lord declared that the Babylonian king, whose word meant nothing would die for his crime and he would die while Egypt sat by and watched. Breaking a promise to God’s people is equivalent to breaking a promise to God. He takes it seriously and personally when someone breaks his word and much more so when that someone betrays His children.
Nebuchadnezzar made promises to Israel and broke them. The Lord made promises in return and kept them. The Lord never broke His covenant with Israel, even when she didn’t live up to her end. He never breaks His covenant with us either. God made this promise in verses 22-24.
“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. 23 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. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.”
Nebuchadnezzar made plans to glorify himself and be even more powerful than he already was. God had granted him much of his power. He had allowed the king to take Israel into captivity. But when he made plans that God didn’t approve and betrayed them, God didn’t allow those plans to prosper.
But God had plans too. When God has a plan it will be carried out and it will succeed. He planned to send Jesus to save us. Jesus, the King of kings is the noble cedar. The horrible tree of the cross was exalted as the Father lifted Jesus up and made a way for our salvation.
God made a new promise through Jesus Christ. God loves us deeply. So much that He came to us, God with us. By Jesus perfect life and sacrifice, His blood makes us righteous. We only need to realize our need of Him that we can’t come to God because we can’t be good enough. His grace saves us and brings us to God, so that God will be our God and we will be His people. And nothing can snatch us away from Him. He gives us eternal life with Him. He makes us new. He transforms us. We no longer have to try keep laws and ordinances that are impossible to keep. We only have to believe, to call Jesus, Lord and we are saved. God does all the work. He gives us faith. He saves us. He transforms us. He is the noble cedar. We enjoy His shade, protection, and nourishment.