June 19 - Mark 4.21-41, 2 Samuel 11-12 and Daniel 6
You don't light a lamp and put it under a clay pot or under a bed. Don't you put a lamp on a lampstand? 22There is nothing hidden that will not be made public. There is no secret that will not be well known. 23If you have ears, pay attention!
24Listen carefully to what you hear! The way you treat others will be the way you will be treated--and even worse. 25Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don't have anything will lose what little they have.
Another Story about Seeds26Again Jesus said:
God's kingdom is like what happens when a farmer scatters seed in a field. 27The farmer sleeps at night and is up and around during the day. Yet the seeds keep sprouting and growing, and he doesn't understand how. 28It is the ground that makes the seeds sprout and grow into plants that produce grain. 29Then when harvest season comes and the grain is ripe, the farmer cuts it with a sickle.
A Mustard Seed
What is God's kingdom like? What story can I use to explain it? 31It is like what happens when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. It is the smallest seed in all the world. 32But once it is planted, it grows larger than any garden plant. It even puts out branches that are big enough for birds to nest in its shade.
The Reason for Teaching with Stories
38Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep. His disciples woke him and said, "Teacher, don't you care that we're about to drown?"
39Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm.
40Jesus asked his disciples, "Why were you afraid? Don't you have any faith?"
41Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
David and Bathsheba
2-4Late one afternoon, David got up from a nap and was walking around on the flat roof of his palace. A beautiful young woman was down below in her courtyard, bathing as her religion required. David happened to see her, and he sent one of his servants to find out who she was.
The servant came back and told David, "Her name is Bathsheba. She is the daughter of Eliam, and she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite."
David sent some messengers to bring her to his palace. She came to him, and he slept with her. Then she returned home. 5But later, when she found out that she was going to have a baby, she sent someone to David with this message: "I'm pregnant!"
6David sent a message to Joab: "Send Uriah the Hittite to me."
Joab sent Uriah 7to David's palace, and David asked him, "Is Joab well? How is the army doing? And how about the war?" 8Then David told Uriah, "Go home and clean up." Uriah left the king's palace, and David had dinner sent to Uriah's house. 9But Uriah didn't go home. Instead, he slept outside the entrance to the royal palace, where the king's guards slept.
10Someone told David that Uriah had not gone home. So the next morning David asked him, "Why didn't you go home? Haven't you been away for a long time?"
11Uriah answered, "The sacred chest and the armies of Israel and Judah are camping out somewhere in the fields with our commander Joab and his officers and troops. Do you really think I would go home to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? I swear by your life that I would not!"
12Then David said, "Stay here in Jerusalem today, and I will send you back tomorrow."
Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day. Then the next day, 13David invited him for dinner. Uriah ate with David and drank so much that he got drunk, but he still did not go home. He went out and slept on his mat near the palace guards. 14Early the next morning, David wrote a letter and told Uriah to deliver it to Joab. 15The letter said: "Put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is the worst. Then pull the troops back from him, so that he will be wounded and die."
16Joab had been carefully watching the city of Rabbah, and he put Uriah in a place where he knew there were some of the enemy's best soldiers. 17When the men of the city came out, they fought and killed some of David's soldiers--Uriah the Hittite was one of them.
18Joab sent a messenger to tell David everything that was happening in the war. 19He gave the messenger these orders:
When you finish telling the king everything that has happened, 20he may get angry and ask, "Why did you go so near the city to fight? Didn't you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21Don't you know how Abimelech the son of Gideon was killed at Thebez? Didn't a woman kill him by dropping a large rock from the top of the city wall? Why did you go so close to the city walls?"
Then you tell him, "One of your soldiers who was killed was Uriah the Hittite."
22The messenger went to David and reported everything Joab had told him. 23He added, "The enemy chased us from the wall and out into the open fields. But we pushed them back as far as the city gate. 24Then they shot arrows at us from the top of the wall. Some of your soldiers were killed, and one of them was Uriah the Hittite."
25David replied, "Tell Joab to cheer up and not to be upset about what happened. You never know who will be killed in a war. Tell him to strengthen his attack against the city and break through its walls."
26When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27Then after the time for mourning was over, David sent someone to bring her to the palace. She became David's wife, and they had a son.
The LORD's Message for DavidThe LORD was angry at what David had done,
2 Samuel 12 1and he sent Nathan the prophet to tell this story to David:
A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town. 2The rich man owned a lot of sheep and cattle, 3but the poor man had only one little lamb that he had bought and raised. The lamb became a pet for him and his children. He even let it eat from his plate and drink from his cup and sleep on his lap. The lamb was like one of his own children.
4One day someone came to visit the rich man, but the rich man didn't want to kill any of his own sheep or cattle and serve it to the visitor. So he stole the poor man's little lamb and served it instead.
5David was furious with the rich man and said to Nathan, "I swear by the living LORD that the man who did this deserves to die! 6And because he didn't have any pity on the poor man, he will have to pay four times what the lamb was worth."
7Then Nathan told David:
You are that rich man! Now listen to what the LORD God of Israel says to you: "I chose you to be the king of Israel. I kept you safe from Saul 8and even gave you his house and his wives. I let you rule Israel and Judah, and if that had not been enough, I would have given you much more. 9Why did you disobey me and do such a horrible thing? You murdered Uriah the Hittite by having the Ammonites kill him, so you could take his wife.
10"Because you wouldn't obey me and took Uriah's wife for yourself, your family will never live in peace. 11Someone from your own family will cause you a lot of trouble, and I will take your wives and give them to another man before your very eyes. He will go to bed with them while everyone looks on. 12What you did was in secret, but I will do this in the open for everyone in Israel to see."
13-14David said, "I have disobeyed the LORD."
"Yes, you have!" Nathan answered. "You showed you didn't care what the LORD wanted. He has forgiven you, and you won't die. But your newborn son will." 15Then Nathan went back home.
David's Young Son DiesThe LORD made David's young son very sick.
16So David went without eating to show his sorrow, and he begged God to make the boy well. David would not sleep on his bed, but spent each night lying on the floor. 17His officials stood beside him and tried to talk him into getting up. But he would not get up or eat with them.
18After the child had been sick for seven days, he died, but the officials were afraid to tell David. They said to each other, "Even when the boy was alive, David wouldn't listen to us. How can we tell him his son is dead? He might do something terrible!"
19David noticed his servants whispering, and he knew the boy was dead. "Did my son die?" he asked his servants.
"Yes, he did," they answered.
20David got up off the floor; he took a bath, combed his hair, and dressed. He went into the LORD's tent and worshiped, then he went back home. David asked for something to eat, and when his servants brought him some food, he ate it.
21His officials said, "What are you doing? You went without eating and cried for your son while he was alive! But now that he's dead, you're up and eating."
While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, "Who knows? Maybe the LORD will have pity on me and let the child live." 23But now that he's dead, why should I go without eating? I can't bring him back! Someday I will join him in death, but he can't return to me.
Solomon Is Born24David comforted his wife Bathsheba and slept with her. Later on, she gave birth to another son and named him Solomon. The LORD loved Solomon 25and sent Nathan the prophet to tell David, "The LORD will call him Jedidiah."
The End of the War with Ammon
I have attacked Rabbah and captured the fortress guarding the city water supply. 28Call the rest of the army together. Then surround the city, and capture it yourself. If you don't, everyone will remember that I captured the city.
29David called the rest of the army together and attacked Rabbah. He captured the city 30and took the crown from the statue of their god Milcom. The crown was made of seventy-five pounds of gold, and there was a valuable jewel on it. David put the jewel on his own crown. He also carried off everything else of value. 31David made the people of Rabbah tear down the city walls with iron picks and axes, and then he put them to work making bricks. He did the same thing with all the other Ammonite cities.
David went back to Jerusalem, and the people of Israel returned to their homes.
Daniel in a Pit of LionsDaniel 6 Darius divided his kingdom into a hundred and twenty states and placed a governor in charge of each one. 2In order to make sure that his government was run properly, Darius put three other officials in charge of the governors. One of these officials was Daniel. 3And he did his work so much better than the other governors and officials that the king decided to let him govern the whole kingdom.
4The other men tried to find something wrong with the way Daniel did his work for the king. But they could not accuse him of anything wrong, because he was honest and faithful and did everything he was supposed to do. 5Finally, they said to one another, "We will never be able to bring any charge against Daniel, unless it has to do with his religion."
6They all went to the king and said:
Your Majesty, we hope you live forever! 7All of your officials, leaders, advisors, and governors agree that you should make a law forbidding anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days. Everyone who disobeys this law must be thrown into a pit of lions. 8Order this to be written and then sign it, so it cannot be changed, just as no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed."
9So King Darius made the law and had it written down.
10Daniel heard about the law, but when he returned home, he went upstairs and prayed in front of the window that faced Jerusalem. In the same way that he had always done, he knelt down in prayer three times a day, giving thanks to God.
11The men who had spoken to the king watched Daniel and saw him praying to his God for help. 12They went back to the king and said, "Didn't you make a law that forbids anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days? And doesn't the law say that everyone who disobeys it will be thrown into a pit of lions?"
"Yes, that's the law I made," the king agreed. "And just like all written laws of the Medes and Persians, it cannot be changed."
13The men then told the king, "That Jew named Daniel, who was brought here as a captive, refuses to obey you or the law that you ordered to be written. And he still prays to his god three times a day." 14The king was really upset to hear about this, and for the rest of the day he tried to think how he could save Daniel.
15At sunset the men returned and said, "Your Majesty, remember that no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed, not even by the king."
16So Darius ordered Daniel to be brought out and thrown into a pit of lions. But he said to Daniel, "You have been faithful to your God, and I pray that he will rescue you."
17A stone was rolled over the pit, and it was sealed. Then Darius and his officials stamped the seal to show that no one should let Daniel out. 18All night long the king could not sleep. He did not eat anything, and he would not let anyone come in to entertain him.
19At daybreak the king got up and ran to the pit. 20He was anxious and shouted, "Daniel, you were faithful and served your God. Was he able to save you from the lions?"
21Daniel answered, "Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! 22My God knew that I was innocent, and he sent an angel to keep the lions from eating me. Your Majesty, I have never done anything to hurt you."
23The king was relieved to hear Daniel's voice, and he gave orders for him to be taken out of the pit. Daniel's faith in his God had kept him from being harmed. 24And the king ordered the men who had brought charges against Daniel to be thrown into the pit, together with their wives and children. But before they even reached the bottom, the lions ripped them to pieces.
25King Darius then sent this message to all people of every nation and race in the world:
"Greetings to all of you!
26I command everyone in my kingdom
to worship and honor the God of Daniel.
He is the living God, the one who lives forever.
His power and his kingdom will never end.
27He rescues people and sets them free
by working great miracles.
Daniel's God has rescued him
from the power of the lions."
28All went well for Daniel while Darius was king, and even when Cyrus the Persian ruled.
This reading is from The
Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American
Bible Society, 1995.
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