Reading #1 – Genesis 2
Reading #2 – Psalms 134
Reading #3 – Proverbs 6
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 2
Reading #5 – Esther 9
Genesis 2 – The Creation of Man and Woman. As the story goes, G_d rested from his works on the seventh day and so that day was sanctified for rest. The man was created from the dust of the earth and G_d breathed life into him (16, Ezekiel 37:7-10). The woman was formed from the rib of the man (22). The plants and the trees provided food for the man and woman. but [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise, on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly die [because of your disobedience] (17).” The problem with this statement is that the Lord G_d didn’t give a long explanation, he simply said, “don’t eat it or you will die”. In the garden, there was a river that fed the plants and was formed from four rivers: Pishon, Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates (10-14).
Esther 9 – Jews Destroy Their Enemies. Haman the son of Hamadatha had set out to destroy the nation because one man, Mordecai, refused to bow down before him. Once the edict went out to overturn Haman’s orders, the Jews assembled and decided to apprehend those who would harm them (2). Even all the officials of the provinces and the chief rulers (satraps) and the governors and those who attended to the king’s business supported the Jews [in defeating their enemies], because of the fear of Mordecai [and his God’s power] had fallen on them. For Mordecai was great and respected in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for the man, Mordecai became greater and greater (3-4). The Jews then killed and destroyed 500 men and with the permission of the king, hung Haman’s 10 sons. It would seem that the difference between what Haman would do and what the Jews did had something to do with the treasures. The Feast of Purim commemorated how Haman cast the Pur or “the lot” to determine the set date when the destruction of the Jews would commence (24). Because of Mordecai’s integrity and having saved the king when he had no reason to, he earned the respect of the king. So, when Mordecai spoke, people listened.
Psalm 134 – Greetings for Night Watchers. Blessed be the servants of the Lord who stand the Mid Watch. While we sleep, some people stand before the Lord on behalf of the people or, “standing in the gap”. In the time of Nehemiah, the enemies, mainly Tobiah, threatened the workers so workers stood the Mid Watch while the rest slept (Nehemiah 4:20-22). May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth (3).
Proverbs 6 – Parental Guidance. This a personal letter to the son of King Solomon. There are things in life that get us into trouble one of them being “debt” and the other being our mouth. G_d intends for us to be the head, not the tail, and the captor, not the captive (Deuteronomy 28:13-14). We are to be the captor over our lives, our finances, and the moral compass that we follow. Popularity ebbs and flows but G_d is from all eternity. When we get into trouble, we owe it to ourselves to take responsibility for our actions, and not allow the mess to hold us bound. Certainly, there are opportunities for fun and frolic but we are given the ultimate responsibility for what we do. Just as we have bad examples in scripture, we also have good examples like the ant (6-8). There are things that G_d hates and we owe it ourselves not to do the things that are mentioned (16-19). My son, be guided by your father’s [God-given] commandment (instruction) And do not reject the teaching of your mother; Bind them continually upon your heart (in your thoughts), and tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they (the godly teachings of your parents) will guide you; When you sleep, they will keep watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you (20-22). The reproofs of the Lord will keep you from falling into sin if you are careful to listen to them and not consider them to be “strings to hold you down” (2 Peter 1:5-10).
Ezekiel 2 – The Prophet’s Call. Ezekiel was called to prophesy before the Israelites. G_d knew that not every person in the nation would adhere to the words of Ezekiel. The purpose for sending Ezekiel was that the people would be aware of their sins and the things that short-circuited their claim to be the “children of G_d” or “G_d’s chose people”. I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ As for them, whether they listen or refuse [to listen]—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know and be fully aware of the fact that there has been a prophet among them (4-5). Speaking to the people would not be easy because the king and many of the priests disagreed with Ezekiel so the people believed the false prophets. It would be a natural tendency to be afraid of the people and cow down to what they wanted. “As for you, son of man, listen to what I say to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.” Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out toward me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And He spread it before me, and it was written on the front and the back, and written on it were [words of] lamentation (funeral songs) and mourning and woe (8-10).