God has used the image of the “vine” often to refer to Israel. Hosea had called her a “spreading vine” and Nahum had referred to the splendor of Israel as a “vine.” As Ezekiel preaches to the exiles, Jeremiah is preaching to the residents of Jerusalem. He is calling them God’s “choice” vine (Jeremiah 2:21).
But a vine was just a vine. You couldn’t build anything with it. Its value lay in what it produced – and God’s people weren’t producing anything of value. And so, like a non-producing vine, God’s people would be thrown into the fire.
The end of chapter fifteen is important. The punishment comes because God’s people have been unfaithful. God is a loving and caring God, who plants His vines (His people), fertilizes them and cultivates them. But they are expected to produce and the expected product is faithfulness to God. If they do not, they will be destroyed. Israel has been hearing this message for centuries, but she has taken no notice. Ezekiel’s hearers have seen the message come to pass in their own lives, but she blindly doesn’t recognize it.
What is important is whether we will.