Being able to trust someone is one of the most important things in a relationship. I think it’s one reason why God looks for us to be honest, both in our relationship with him, and with others.
In this passage, God shows how important honesty is to him, as he deals with the Israelites, and in particular, with King Zedekiah.
Ezekiel tells a parable of an eagle that swoops down on a cedar tree, takes the topmost shoot, plants it in a city of traders. Then he takes a seed from the land, and plants it in another place and it grows into a vine.
It seems here, that Ezekiel is referring to Babylon (the eagle) taking the king of Judah (Jehoiachin) captive as well as some of the other leaders of Judah (i.e, the topmost shoots of the cedar). In doing so, a treaty was made between Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s successor (represented by the vine), and Babylon, in which Zedekiah promised to submit to Nebuchadnezzar.
But in the story, it says that another eagle came, and the vine that sprouted from the seed that was planted started to seek water from this other eagle. The second eagle represented Egypt, and basically the story meant that Zedekiah was breaking the treaty with Babylon, and was seeking help from Egypt against Babylon.
And so God said of Zedekiah,
He despised the oath by breaking the covenant. Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, I will bring down on his head my oath that he despised and my covenant that he broke. Because he had given his hand in pledge and yet did all these things, he shall not escape. (18-19)
Zedekiah, swore in God’s name to serve Nebuchadnezzar, but in trying to seek help from Egypt (which God had severely warned Israel against), he broke that treaty. Not only that, Zedekiah, continued to break the covenant that God had made with the Israelites through Moses, by serving other gods. As a result, God warned Zedekiah that judgment would be coming through Babylon.
How about you? When you give your word, do you keep it? Or do you easily break it? Is your word something you take seriously? Or lightly? However we may see our own word, God sees it as something important to him. So let us be people of integrity and always be honest with him, and with others.