June 17 - Mark 3.20-35, 2 Samuel 7-8 and Daniel 4
Jesus and Beelzebul
22Some teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem were saying, "He has Beelzebul in him! It is the chief of the demons who gives him the power to drive them out."
23So Jesus called them to him and spoke to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a country divides itself into groups which fight each other, that country will fall apart. 25If a family divides itself into groups which fight each other, that family will fall apart. 26So if Satan's kingdom divides into groups, it cannot last, but will fall apart and come to an end.
27"No one can break into a strong man's house and take away his belongings unless he first ties up the strong man; then he can plunder his house.
28"I assure you that people can be forgiven all their sins and all the evil things they may say. 29But whoever says evil things against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, because he has committed an eternal sin." ( 30Jesus said this because some people were saying, "He has an evil spirit in him.")
Jesus' Mother and Brothers
33Jesus answered, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" 34He looked at the people sitting around him and said, "Look! Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does what God wants is my brother, my sister, my mother."
Nathan's Message to David
3Nathan answered, "Do whatever you have in mind, because the LORD is with you." 4But that night the LORD said to Nathan, 5"Go and tell my servant David that I say to him, 'You are not the one to build a temple for me to live in. 6From the time I rescued the people of Israel from Egypt until now, I have never lived in a temple; I have traveled around living in a tent. 7In all my traveling with the people of Israel I never asked any of the leaders that I appointed why they had not built me a temple made of cedar.'
8"So tell my servant David that I, the LORD Almighty, say to him, 'I took you from looking after sheep in the fields and made you the ruler of my people Israel. 9I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have defeated all your enemies as you advanced. I will make you as famous as the greatest leaders in the world. 10-11I have chosen a place for my people Israel and have settled them there, where they will live without being oppressed any more. Ever since they entered this land, they have been attacked by violent people, but this will not happen again. I promise to keep you safe from all your enemies and to give you descendants. 12When you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will make one of your sons king and will keep his kingdom strong. 13He will be the one to build a temple for me, and I will make sure that his dynasty continues forever. 14I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him as a father punishes his son. 15But I will not withdraw my support from him as I did from Saul, whom I removed so that you could be king. 16You will always have descendants, and I will make your kingdom last forever. Your dynasty will never end.'"
17Nathan told David everything that God had revealed to him.
David's Prayer of Thanksgiving
25"And now, LORD God, fulfill for all time the promise you made about me and my descendants, and do what you said you would. 26Your fame will be great, and people will forever say, 'The LORD Almighty is God over Israel.' And you will preserve my dynasty for all time. 27LORD Almighty, God of Israel! I have the courage to pray this prayer to you, because you have revealed all this to me, your servant, and have told me that you will make my descendants kings.
28"And now, Sovereign LORD, you are God; you always keep your promises, and you have made this wonderful promise to me. 29I ask you to bless my descendants so that they will continue to enjoy your favor. You, Sovereign LORD, have promised this, and your blessing will rest on my descendants forever."
David's Military Victories
2Then he defeated the Moabites. He made the prisoners lie down on the ground and put two out of every three of them to death. So the Moabites became his subjects and paid taxes to him.
3Then he defeated the king of the Syrian state of Zobah, Hadadezer son of Rehob, as Hadadezer was on his way to restore his control over the territory by the upper Euphrates River. 4David captured seventeen hundred of his cavalry and twenty thousand of his foot soldiers. He kept enough horses for a hundred chariots and crippled all the rest.
5When the Syrians of Damascus sent an army to help King Hadadezer, David attacked it and killed twenty-two thousand men. 6Then he set up military camps in their territory, and they became his subjects and paid taxes to him. The LORD made David victorious everywhere. 7David captured the gold shields carried by Hadadezer's officials and took them to Jerusalem. 8He also took a great quantity of bronze from Betah and Berothai, cities ruled by Hadadezer.
9King Toi of Hamath heard that David had defeated all of Hadadezer's army. 10So he sent his son Joram to greet King David and congratulate him for his victory over Hadadezer, against whom Toi had fought many times. Joram took David presents made of gold, silver, and bronze. 11King David dedicated them for use in worship, along with the silver and gold he took from the nations he had conquered-- 12Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and Amalek--as well as part of the loot he had taken from Hadadezer.
13David became even more famous when he returned from killing eighteen thousand Edomites in Salt Valley. 14He set up military camps throughout Edom, and the people there became his subjects. The LORD made David victorious everywhere.
15David ruled over all of Israel and made sure that his people were always treated fairly and justly. 16Joab, whose mother was Zeruiah, was the commander of the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was in charge of the records; 17Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was the court secretary; 18Benaiah son of Jehoiada was in charge of David's bodyguards; and David's sons were priests.
Nebuchadnezzar's Second DreamDaniel 4 King Nebuchadnezzar sent the following message to the people of all nations, races, and languages in the world:
"Greetings! 2Listen to my account of the wonders and miracles which the Supreme God has shown me.
3"How great are the wonders God shows us!
How powerful are the miracles he performs!
God is king forever; he will rule for all time.
4"I was living comfortably in my palace, enjoying great prosperity. 5But I had a frightening dream and saw terrifying visions while I was asleep. 6I ordered all the royal advisers in Babylon to be brought to me so that they could tell me what the dream meant. 7Then all the fortunetellers, magicians, wizards, and astrologers were brought in, and I told them my dream, but they could not explain it to me. 8Then Daniel came in. (He is also called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god.) The spirit of the holy gods is in him, so I told him what I had dreamed. I said to him: 9Belteshazzar, chief of the fortunetellers, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that you understand all mysteries. This is my dream. Tell me what it means.
10"While I was asleep, I had a vision of a huge tree in the middle of the earth. 11It grew bigger and bigger until it reached the sky and could be seen by everyone in the world. 12Its leaves were beautiful, and it was loaded down with fruit--enough for the whole world to eat. Wild animals rested in its shade, birds built nests in its branches, and every kind of living being ate its fruit.
13"While I was thinking about the vision, I saw coming down from heaven an angel, alert and watchful. 14He proclaimed in a loud voice, 'Cut the tree down and chop off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Drive the animals from under it and the birds out of its branches. 15But leave the stump in the ground with a band of iron and bronze around it. Leave it there in the field with the grass.
"'Now let the dew fall on this man, and let him live with the animals and the plants. 16For seven years he will not have a human mind, but the mind of an animal. 17This is the decision of the alert and watchful angels. So then, let all people everywhere know that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses--even to those who are least important.'
18"This is the dream I had," said King Nebuchadnezzar. "Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means. None of my royal advisers could tell me, but you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you."
Daniel Explains the Dream19At this, Daniel, who is also called Belteshazzar, was so alarmed that he could not say anything. The king said to him, "Belteshazzar, don't let the dream and its message alarm you."
Belteshazzar replied, "Your Majesty, I wish that the dream and its explanation applied to your enemies and not to you. 20The tree, so tall that it reached the sky, could be seen by everyone in the world. 21Its leaves were beautiful, and it had enough fruit on it to feed the whole world. Wild animals rested under it, and birds made their nests in its branches.
22"Your Majesty, you are the tree, tall and strong. You have grown so great that you reach the sky, and your power extends over the whole world. 23While Your Majesty was watching, an angel came down from heaven and said, 'Cut the tree down and destroy it, but leave the stump in the ground. Wrap a band of iron and bronze around it, and leave it there in the field with the grass. Let the dew fall on this man, and let him live there with the animals for seven years.'
24"This, then, is what it means, Your Majesty, and this is what the Supreme God has declared will happen to you. 25You will be driven away from human society and will live with wild animals. For seven years you will eat grass like an ox and sleep in the open air, where the dew will fall on you. Then you will admit that the Supreme God controls all human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses. 26The angel ordered the stump to be left in the ground. This means that you will become king again when you acknowledge that God rules all the world. 27So then, Your Majesty, follow my advice. Stop sinning, do what is right, and be merciful to the poor. Then you will continue to be prosperous."
28All this did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29Only twelve months later, while he was walking around on the roof of his royal palace in Babylon, 30he said, "Look how great Babylon is! I built it as my capital city to display my power and might, my glory and majesty."
31Before the words were out of his mouth, a voice spoke from heaven, "King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to what I say! Your royal power is now taken away from you. 32You will be driven away from human society, live with wild animals, and eat grass like an ox for seven years. Then you will acknowledge that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses."
33The words came true immediately. Nebuchadnezzar was driven out of human society and ate grass like an ox. The dew fell on his body, and his hair grew as long as eagle feathers and his nails as long as bird claws.
Nebuchadnezzar Praises God34"When the seven years had passed," said the king, "I looked up at the sky, and my sanity returned. I praised the Supreme God and gave honor and glory to the one who lives forever.
"He will rule forever,
and his kingdom will last for all time.
35He looks on the people of the earth as nothing;
angels in heaven and people on earth
are under his control.
No one can oppose his will
or question what he does.
36"When my sanity returned, my honor, my majesty, and the glory of my kingdom were given back to me. My officials and my noblemen welcomed me, and I was given back my royal power with even greater honor than before.
37"And now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, honor, and glorify the King of Heaven. Everything he does is right and just, and he can humble anyone who acts proudly."
This reading is from The Holy
Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American
Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.
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