Reading #1 – Acts 27
Reading #2 – Psalms 131
Reading #3 – Proverbs 3
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 51
Reading #5 – Esther 6
Esther 6 – The King Plans to Honor Mordecai. After Mordecai had saved the life of the King, the incident was written down in the annals of Xerxes’ reign. Haman was coming to get permission to hang Mordecai and the King was going to honor him (1-3). When Haman was asked for his consult on what should be done for the “man who whom the king delights to honor”, Haman thought the king was going to give him the overdue adulation he deserved (6). So Haman thought “I am going to give myself every avenue of praise” (8-9). When the King approved the plan, he put Haman in charge of rolling the carpet for Mordecai. So Haman does what he is tasked with but was embarrassed because he hated Mordecai and the people of Jewish descent. When he went back to his home and relayed what had transpired, the same people who said “build a tall gallows” now changed their tune. Then Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. Then his wise counselors and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall in status, is of Jewish heritage, you will not overcome him, but will certainly fall before him (13).”
Psalms 131 – Song of Ascents. When we come to the Lord, the part that usually gets us into trouble is the condition of our heart. Fear is a very potent enemy because it entices us to act before it is time. Mordecai was not blind to what Haman was doing but he did not rely on fear to dictate the moral direction of his life. Storms in life come and go often when least expect them and it is the groundwork for moral failure. We can trust our Lord to know that he is always in control even when the storms shake the foundation (Isaiah 54:10-11). Our response in times of storms and trials should always be, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child [resting] with his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me [composed and freed from discontent]” (2). When we have tried and true during the trials of our life, we can say with confidence to those going through storms “_______ , hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever” and those words will have power (3, Isaiah 40:31).
Proverbs 3 – The Rewards of Wisdom. The wisdom we speak will only be listened to when it has substance. If our life is riddled with sin, the true words of the Lord that speak will be taken into consideration but the power is overlooked. If our children do not see us walking in the admonition of the Lord, chances are they won’t either. Solomon was embued with wisdom but the life he lived belied his trust in the Lord. Because Solomon failed, it doesn’t mean that G_d failed (1 Corinthians 1:9-10). The person who pleases the Lord by walking in obedience will know the power of Heaven through the Holy Spirit. Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you [instead let these qualities define you]; Bind them [securely] around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart (3). Walking before the Lord in obedience is a personal choice that is independent of the events confronting us.
Jeremiah 51 – Babylon Judged for Sins against Israel and Jeremiah’s Final Words. Jerusalem had been overrun by the horde of Babylon. In time Babylon would pay for her transgressions but the people of Jerusalem would also pay a price. Although the people would go into exile, it did not excuse the people from fighting for their homeland. Because they would be going into exile, it also did not excuse them from living according to the law of the Lord. The false prophets had promised a “great come and get it day” for Jerusalem that would never materialize. For neither Israel nor Judah has been abandoned
By his God, the LORD of hosts, Though their land is full of sin and guilt Before the Holy One of Israel (5). The return to Jerusalem and the subsequent rebuilding would come during a time of warfare in Babylon which is generally when slaves disentangle themselves from the bondage. When Babylon fell, it was the G_d given a call of the people to pray for Babylon and wish them no harm. Babylon has suddenly fallen and is shattered! Wail for her [if you care to]! Get balm for her [incurable] pain; Perhaps she may be healed (8).
Acts 27 – Paul Sent to Rome. Paul had finished his discourse in Caesarea of Philippi and was being taken to Rome to face the Emporer’s judgment. The voyage to Rome was during the winter months which are notably hard to travel on the Medeterian ocean. Paul had suggested to the Centurian to stay in port until the winter months had passed but, he was in a hurry to get to Rome (4-6). This “NorEastern” is a violent wind like a typhoon that affects the island cities and wreaks havoc to anything in its path (14). The men aboard the ship were afraid because they were unable to maintain control of the ship. This “fear, caused people to make unwise decisions like throwing the supplies overboard to reduce the weight (19). In the middle of the storm, Paul was calm not because he was super spiritual but that he had faith in G_d’s promise that he would make it to Rome to stand before the Emporer. For this very night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, and said, ‘Stop being afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you [the lives of] all those who are sailing with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I believe God and have complete confidence in Him that it will turn out exactly as I have been told; but we must run [the ship] aground on some island (23-26).” Being “saved” means that we need to stand fast and not lose hope even in the worst of storms (31). While they waited for the day to dawn, Paul encouraged them all [and told them] to have some food, saying, “This is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly on watch and going without food, having eaten nothing. So I urge you to eat some food, for this is for your survival; for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.” Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all, and he broke it and began to eat. Then all of them were encouraged and their spirits improved, and they also ate some food. All told there were two hundred and seventy-six of us aboard the ship (33-37).