Reading #1 – Acts 28
Reading #2 – Psalms 132
Reading #3 – Proverbs 4
Reading #4 – Jeremiah 52
Reading #5 – Esther 7
Esther 7 – Esther’s Plea. Esther had set the trap for Haman. Haman had desires to kill all of the Jews but did not know that Esther was a Jewess. This play by Esther upended Haman’s plot which appeared to be a workable solution. Haman was hung on the gallows built for Mordecai. It seems that when we are led to destroy others by what we think is “justified”, we need to consider Haman and how his plan was upended and he dies on the gallows built for his entertainment. The time to stop anything is before it is started or when temptation pulls at our chains (1 Corinthians 10:10-13).
Psalms 132 – Prayer for the Lord’s Blessing on the Sanctuary. The reference here is when David brought back the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (:10-12). There were two attempts to bring the ark back, the first time one of the Priests died trying to steady the ark (2 Samuel 6:6-9). The ark remained in the home of Obed-Edom for 3 months before the 2nd attempt was made (2 Samuel 6:10-11). This time, the ark was carried by poles by four priests. Each step of the journey David sacrificed animals and rejoiced with singing and dancing (1 Samuel 6:12-15). The core of our relationship with the Lord G_d is the ark which contained the laws that his children must obey. The tent that David erected was an ordinary tent until the ark was placed in it then the tent was consecrated or “holy ground”. When we teach our children to walk before the Lord all of their lives, the blessings we received will be passed down to them until a generation arises that knows nothing about the Lord. The LORD swore to David A truth from which He will not turn back: “One of your descendants I will set upon your throne. “If your children will keep My covenant and My testimony which I will teach them, Their children also shall sit upon your throne forever (11-12).”
Proverbs 4 – A Father’s Instruction. The young man had learned a lot at the feet of his father. For the child to live Holy before the Lord was the fulfillment of the father’s mission. The young man hoped that his children would follow in his footsteps. Listening to wise words and nodding one’s head in agreement does not mean he or she will follow through after the father is gone. When I was a son with my father (David), Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother (Bathsheba), He taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live (3-4). Solomon did learn from his father and did ascend to the throne just before David passed away (1 Kings 1:33-35). What Solomon was passing down to his children is the key to living a long healthy life whether you are a king or servant, a male or a female, a rich or a poor person. When we get wisdom flowing in our lives, we will learn to make wise choices. When we make wise choices, our pathway is not hindered by fear of being found out, sort of like Haman. “The beginning of wisdom is Get [skillful and godly] wisdom [it is preeminent]! And with all your acquiring, get understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation]. “Prize wisdom [and exalt her], and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her (7-8).
Jeremiah 52 – The Fall of Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s demise in 586 was the culmination of Jeremiah’s warnings. The temple was burned to the ground after everything of value was taken to Babylon. King Jehoiachin was blinded and taken to Babylon where he would die. Jehoiachin’s sons, servants, and Levites were put to death. This story while tragic is also an encouragement for those reading that before the fall, pride always takes the center stage with the Devil close behind us pushing us to our demise. The once-bustling city became a ghost town with a few people remaining. The people remaining after the final assault on the city were made to farm the land and dress the vineyard (16).
Acts 28 – Paul’s Final Leg of the Journey. The crew of the faltered ship arrived on the shores of Malta which is an island in the Mediterranean just south of Sicily. When they got to the shore, Paul was pulling logs out for a fire when a snake came out and clung to Paul’s wrist. The islanders thought he would die but, Paul flung the snake off of his wrist and had no ill effects. But they stood watching and expecting him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began saying that he was a god (5-6). While in Malta, Paul and his friends were invited to visit the Governor. The governor’s father was sick with dysentery so Paul went in and thru prayer and laying on of hands, the man was healed. When the people heard of the healings, they brought their sick to be healed. A ship was provided for the crew to sail to Rome in thanksgiving for the miracles done by Paul. After 3 months of sailing, the crew made it to the shores of Sicily, then Rhegium, and then Puteoli. The time Paul had left was short because after reaching Rome, he would be put to death.