Reading #1 – Genesis 3
Reading #2 – Psalms 135
Reading #3 – Proverbs 7
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 3
Reading #5 – Esther 10
Genesis 3 – The Fall of Mankind. So the Serpent was subtle more so than any other creature of the field which the Lord G_d had made (1). The Devil or the Serpent confronted Eve with a nagging question something he knew was relayed to by the man or “Adam”. The question, “Did G_d say “you shall not eat from any tree of the garden” (2)? Eve told the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden except for the one in the middle of the garden because otherwise, we will die” (2-3). The serpent pounced on this answer by throwing out a bone to Eve. “You certainly will not die” (4). After all, how could a loving G_d kill you for eating the fruit? There are two types of death, something the Devil omitted: The physical and the spiritual (Matthew 10:28); Adam and Eve did not die physically, they died spiritually which is what the Devil wanted. The reason the serpent did this or talked Eve into sinning was to cause mankind pain and suffering which is what he does even to this very date. Then the eyes of the two of them were opened [that is, their awareness increased], and they knew that they were naked; they fastened fig leaves together and made themselves coverings (7). The spiritual death brings about separation from the union with G_d (8, Ephesians 2:12-13). The Devil paid the price for his mischief but so did Adam and Eve. The serpent was made to crawl on the ground all of the days of his life (14-15). Adam and Eve were removed from the beautiful land and protection were put to keep them from finding the way back in again (22-24). Adam would have to work harder to produce food for his family because the land would no longer be fed from the life-giving rivers which would, in turn, dry the land up and thistles would grow rampantly (17-18). Eve would struggle in childbirth something would not have been a problem in the garden (16).
Esther 10 – Mordecai’s Greatness. Mordecai had been elevated to the #2 man in the kingdom in place of Haman. The reason for being elevated was because of his character and unswerving loyalty to the G_d of the universe (2-3) and he showed by taking care of the children of Israel and the king who appointed him. To bring about peace in the kingdom, it is necessary to do those things that would bring about peace without concern for self-interests (Psalms 122:6-7). When we act like Haman, eventually we get into trouble and the things we received can and will be taken away. When we look after the things and people that belong to G_d, He will, in turn, reward us openly so we need never concern ourselves with self-interests sort of like G_d’s answer to Solomon for his heart-felt prayer (1 Kings 3:9-13). Mordecai, like Daniel, did not ask for Haman’s position of power nor the riches that went along with it nor, did he remind the king of what he had done early by saving the king’s life, he simply was faithful in all of his houses (Daniel 5:17). A parallel verse to Daniel 5:17 is the case of Elisha (2 Kings 5:15-16). The taxes King Xerxes imposed affected everyone including the Jews (1).
Psalms 135 – Praise the Lord’s Wonderful Works – Vanity of Idols. This Psalm is a continuation of Psalms 134. There are two types of gods, G_d and “idols or god”. Who should we serve? The simple, and mostly automatic, answer is G_d; the most difficult answer is wrapped into our struggle against our pride. When Achan went with the army into battle against Jericho, he came upon a beautiful gown and wealth; he thought, “gee that would look good on my wife and I wanted the infusion of wealth” (Joshua 7:10-12, 20-21). Praise the LORD, for the LORD, is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is gracious and lovely. For the LORD has chosen [the descendants of] Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure and possession (3-4). What do we gain from serving the Lord G_d? Wealth certainly fills (Ecclesiastes 10:19) a need but also distracts us from the true prize or the things that do not lead us into trouble (Numbers 18:20). Being called into service is not a “consolation prize” nor a “booby prize”, it is a gift from G_d and when we are faithful with the little, he will reward us with more (Luke 16:10-12). Those who make idols are like them [absolutely worthless—spiritually blind, deaf, and powerless]; So is everyone who trusts in and relies on them (18). How do we bless an omnipotent Holy G_d? We bless him by being obedient to him when we have not received an award nor has our obedience been to line our pockets (20-21).
Proverbs 7 – The Wiles of the Prostitute. In the beginning, we are admonished to hold tight to the Lord’s commands and teachings “as the apple of your eye” (1-2). G_d is not looking for a “Poster Child” to display openly before the world, He is looking for children who live holy before Him showing the pathway to life (John 10:10). While the passage speaks to the “Immoral woman who entraps the foolish young man”, if you put any evil behavior in that slot, the passage would still be true. If we linger over alcohol, it will eventually control us (Proverbs 31:4-5); once those things control us, it sets our destiny and that bond is not easily broken. The prostitute’s words were pure flattery meant to break down the young man’s defenses. So she caught him and kissed him and with a brazen and impudent face, she said to him: “I have peace offerings with me; Today I have paid my vows. “So I came out to meet you [that you might share with me the feast of my offering], diligently I sought your face and I have found you (13-15). The young man had no idea that the whole thing was a setup and that she had no intention of giving him anything much less access to her body which was probably on display to give the young man a sampling of events to come (16-22). In the same way, the Devil lays out a sample of the rewards as seen by people he’s already caught so that we become hungry for the prohibited fruit (Proverbs 27:7-9).
Ezekiel 3 – Ezekiel’s Commission. Ezekiel was sent to prophesy to Israel at the end of the line (1). The king and priests refused to listen to Jeremiah but, G_d sent one more prophet to minister to this hardheaded group. Then He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak My words to them. For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel, not to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you and pay attention to My message; yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you and obey you, since they are not willing to listen to Me and obey Me, for the entire house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate (4-7). In His sovereignty, G_d always provides a pathway to His kingdom in the face of the world’s ways. The core reason for calling the Gentile nations was to make Israel Jealous (Romans 11:9-12). In the same way, when we show disregard for G_d’s calling, He will give it to someone else in our place.