Ezekiel 17:22-24 is the Hebrew Bible Lesson properly appointed for Proper 6B, Track 2 according to the Revised Common Lectionary.
The king had abandoned the covenant that God had made with his people, and instead was looking to buttress himself with an alliance with the Egyptians. Instead of drawing strength from God, the king was looking towards the help of another nation.
This does not please God. And, so judgment will follow.
But, judgment isn’t all about smiting and captivity.
God will lay low the faithless ruling class, but God’s tenderness for God’s people is still very much in play. And, that’s where this little poem comes in. A sprig will be plucked from a mighty tree and planted on a high mountain, and that sprig will be able to grow into a mighty tree. And, it will be so great, that it will be a haven for everything that has wing and takes to the sky.
It’s actually a tremendously beautiful and majestic image: the great tree on the great mountain becoming the great refuge. It’s the imagery of flourishing, flourishing which is possible when one doesn’t just rely on one’s own strength and wisdom, but rather has faith that God is with us, is working for us, and loves us enough to be there even in life’s darkest moments.
Planted by God, even in the night we will rise to the sky.