A parable of 2 eagles and a vine are used to describe the rising and falling of nations. Comparing Israel to a bride is one thing, but comparing nations to a vine and twigs are another. God is so big and so in control of national movement and cosmic reality that comparatively, national powers in a moment of history are of secondary concern to Him than human devotion. Unfortunately, God infrequently gains fully devoted followers.
The sadness of chapter 17 is found in Israel’s captivity in Babylon and in whom Israel consults for liberation. Captive Israel looks not to God, but to the nation in which they were once slaves, Egypt. They send ambassadors to Pharaoh in hopes of acquiring an army. In God’s eyes this is yet another step of unfaithfulness. However, the prophetic parable does not end with Israel’s annihilation; instead, God offers to plant a twig on the mountain of Israel and utters a promise that His people will be a blessing instead of a burden to other nations by His grace.
Only God will get credit for it. “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.” God isn’t magical, He is just magnificent and all powerful.
I have often looked back to the captivity of my sin and dead doings as a source of freedom. It always ends up being a false promise of freedom that leaves me feeling broken. God knows this and even I know it, but we sometimes forget that sin does not pay generous wages. It offers us mere scraps of poison coated in a little sugar. God however sets a table feast before His children and beckons us to come to Him to mount up on wings like eagles.