June 16 - Mark 3.1-19, 2 Samuel 6 and Daniel 3

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A Man with a Crippled Hand
(Matthew 12.9-14; Luke 6.6-11)

Mark 3 The next time that Jesus went into the meeting place, a man with a crippled hand was there. 2The Pharisees wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong, and they kept watching to see if Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath.
3Jesus told the man to stand up where everyone could see him. 4Then he asked, "On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone's life or destroy it?" But no one said a word.
5Jesus was angry as he looked around at the people. Yet he felt sorry for them because they were so stubborn. Then he told the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did, and his bad hand was healed.
6The Pharisees left. And right away they started making plans with Herod's followers to kill Jesus.

Large Crowds Come to Jesus

7Jesus led his disciples down to the shore of the lake. Large crowds followed him from Galilee, Judea, 8and Jerusalem. People came from Idumea, as well as other places east of the Jordan River. They also came from the region around the cities of Tyre and Sidon. All of these crowds came because they had heard what Jesus was doing. 9He even had to tell his disciples to get a boat ready to keep him from being crushed by the crowds.
10After Jesus had healed many people, the other sick people begged him to let them touch him. 11And whenever any evil spirits saw Jesus, they would fall to the ground and shout, "You are the Son of God!" 12But Jesus warned the spirits not to tell who he was.

Jesus Chooses His Twelve Apostles
(Matthew 10.1-4; Luke 6.12-16)

13Jesus decided to ask some of his disciples to go up on a mountain with him, and they went. 14Then he chose twelve of them to be his apostles, so that they could be with him. He also wanted to send them out to preach 15and to force out demons. 16Simon was one of the twelve, and Jesus named him Peter. 17There were also James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. Jesus called them Boanerges, which means "Thunderbolts." 18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus were also apostles. The others were Simon, known as the Eager One, 19and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus.

David Brings the Sacred Chest Back to Jerusalem
(1 Chronicles 13.1-14; 15.1--16.3,43)

2 Samuel 6 David brought together thirty thousand of Israel's best soldiers and 2led them to Baalah in Judah, which was also called Kiriath-Jearim. They were going there to get the sacred chest and bring it back to Jerusalem. The throne of the LORD All-Powerful is above the winged creatures on top of this chest, and he is worshiped there.
3They put the sacred chest on a new ox cart and started bringing it down the hill from Abinadab's house. Abinadab's sons Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the ox cart, 4with Ahio walking in front of it. 5Some of the people of Israel were playing music on small harps and other stringed instruments, and on tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. David and the others were happy, and they danced for the LORD with all their might.
6But when they came to Nacon's threshing-floor, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and took hold of the sacred chest. 7The LORD God was very angry at Uzzah for doing this, and he killed Uzzah right there beside the chest.
8David got angry at God for killing Uzzah. He named that place "Bursting Out Against Uzzah," and that's what it's still called.
9David was afraid of the LORD and thought, "Should I really take the sacred chest to my city?" 10He decided not to take it there. Instead, he turned off the road and took it to the home of Obed Edom, who was from Gath.
11-12The chest stayed there for three months, and the LORD greatly blessed Obed Edom, his family, and everything he owned. Then someone told King David, "The LORD has done this because the sacred chest is in Obed Edom's house."
Right away, David went to Obed Edom's house to get the chest and bring it to David's City. Everyone was celebrating. 13The people carrying the chest walked six steps, then David sacrificed an ox and a choice cow. 14He was dancing for the LORD with all his might, but he wore only a linen cloth. 15He and everyone else were celebrating by shouting and blowing horns while the chest was being carried along.
16Saul's daughter Michal looked out her window and watched the chest being brought into David's City. But when she saw David jumping and dancing for the LORD, she was disgusted.
17They put the chest inside a tent that David had set up for it. David worshiped the LORD by sacrificing animals and burning them on an altar, 18then he blessed the people in the name of the LORD All-Powerful. 19He gave all the men and women in the crowd a small loaf of bread, some meat, and a handful of raisins, and everyone went home.

Michal Talks to David

20David went home so he could ask the LORD to bless his family. But Saul's daughter Michal went out and started yelling at him. "You were really great today!" she said. "You acted like a dirty old man, dancing around half-naked in front of your servants' slave-girls."
21David told her, "The LORD didn't choose your father or anyone else in your family to be the leader of his people. The LORD chose me, and I was celebrating in honor of him. 22I'll show you just how great I can be! I'll even be disgusting to myself. But those slave-girls you talked about will still honor me!"
23Michal never had any children.

King Nebuchadnezzar's Gold Statue

Daniel 3 King Nebuchadnezzar ordered a gold statue to be built ninety feet high and nine feet wide. He had it set up in Dura Valley near the city of Babylon, 2and he commanded his governors, advisors, treasurers, judges, and his other officials to come from everywhere in his kingdom to the dedication of the statue. 3So all of them came and stood in front of it.
4Then an official stood up and announced:
People of every nation and race, now listen to the king's command! 5Trumpets, flutes, harps, and all other kinds of musical instruments will soon start playing. When you hear the music, you must bow down and worship the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6Anyone who refuses will at once be thrown into a flaming furnace.

7As soon as the people heard the music, they bowed down and worshiped the gold statue that the king had set up.
8Some Babylonians used this as a chance to accuse the Jews to King Nebuchadnezzar. 9They said, "Your Majesty, we hope you live forever! 10You commanded everyone to bow down and worship the gold statue when the music played. 11And you said that anyone who did not bow down and worship it would be thrown into a flaming furnace. 12Sir, you appointed three men to high positions in Babylon Province, but they have disobeyed you. Those Jews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refuse to worship your gods and the statue you have set up."
13King Nebuchadnezzar was furious. So he sent for the three young men and said, 14"I hear that you refuse to worship my gods and the gold statue I have set up. 15Now I am going to give you one more chance. If you bow down and worship the statue when you hear the music, everything will be all right. But if you don't, you will at once be thrown into a flaming furnace. No god can save you from me."
16The three men replied, "Your Majesty, we don't need to defend ourselves. 17The God we worship can save us from you and your flaming furnace. 18But even if he doesn't, we still won't worship your gods and the gold statue you have set up."
19Nebuchadnezzar's face twisted with anger at the three men. And he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20Next, he commanded some of his strongest soldiers to tie up the men and throw them into the flaming furnace. 21-23The king wanted it done at that very moment. So the soldiers tied up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and threw them into the flaming furnace with all of their clothes still on, including their turbans. The fire was so hot that flames leaped out and killed the soldiers.
24Suddenly the king jumped up and shouted, "Weren't only three men tied up and thrown into the fire?"
"Yes, Your Majesty," the people answered.
25"But I see four men walking around in the fire," the king replied. "None of them is tied up or harmed, and the fourth one looks like a god."
26Nebuchadnezzar went closer to the flaming furnace and said to the three young men, "You servants of the Most High God, come out at once!"
They came out, 27and the king's high officials, governors, and advisors all crowded around them. The men were not burned, their hair wasn't scorched, and their clothes didn't even smell like smoke. 28King Nebuchadnezzar said:
Praise their God for sending an angel to rescue his servants! They trusted their God and refused to obey my commands. Yes, they chose to die rather than to worship or serve any god except their own. 29And I won't allow people of any nation or race to say anything against their God. Anyone who does will be chopped up and their houses will be torn down, because no other god has such great power to save.

30After this happened, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in Babylon Province.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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