June 29 - Mark 10.1-31, 2 Samuel 23 and Hosea 3

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Jesus Teaches about Divorce
(Matthew 19.1-12; Luke 16.18)

Mark 10 Then Jesus left that place, went to the province of Judea, and crossed the Jordan River. Crowds came flocking to him again, and he taught them, as he always did.
2Some Pharisees came to him and tried to trap him. "Tell us," they asked, "does our Law allow a man to divorce his wife?"
3Jesus answered with a question, "What law did Moses give you?"
4Their answer was, "Moses gave permission for a man to write a divorce notice and send his wife away."
5Jesus said to them, "Moses wrote this law for you because you are so hard to teach. 6But in the beginning, at the time of creation, 'God made them male and female,' as the scripture says. 7'And for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, 8and the two will become one.' So they are no longer two, but one. 9No human being must separate, then, what God has joined together."
10When they went back into the house, the disciples asked Jesus about this matter. 11He said to them, "A man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against his wife. 12In the same way, a woman who divorces her husband and marries another man commits adultery."

Jesus Blesses Little Children
(Matthew 19.13-15; Luke 18.15-17)

13Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. 14When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, "Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it." 16Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them.

The Rich Man
(Matthew 19.16-30; Luke 18.18-30)

17As Jesus was starting on his way again, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?"
18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him. "No one is good except God alone. 19You know the commandments: 'Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; do not cheat; respect your father and your mother.'"
20"Teacher," the man said, "ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments."
21Jesus looked straight at him with love and said, "You need only one thing. Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me." 22When the man heard this, gloom spread over his face, and he went away sad, because he was very rich.
23Jesus looked around at his disciples and said to them, "How hard it will be for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God!"
24The disciples were shocked at these words, but Jesus went on to say, "My children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! 25It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle."
26At this the disciples were completely amazed and asked one another, "Who, then, can be saved?"
27Jesus looked straight at them and answered, "This is impossible for human beings but not for God; everything is possible for God."
28Then Peter spoke up, "Look, we have left everything and followed you."
29"Yes," Jesus said to them, "and I tell you that those who leave home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and for the gospel, 30will receive much more in this present age. They will receive a hundred times more houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields--and persecutions as well; and in the age to come they will receive eternal life. 31But many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first."

David's Last Words

2 Samuel 23 David son of Jesse was the man whom God made great, whom the God of Jacob chose to be king, and who was the composer of beautiful songs for Israel. These are David's last words:

2The spirit of the LORD speaks through me;
his message is on my lips.
3The God of Israel has spoken;
the protector of Israel said to me:
"The king who rules with justice,
who rules in obedience to God,
4is like the sun shining on a cloudless dawn,
the sun that makes the grass sparkle after rain."

5And that is how God will bless my descendants,
because he has made an eternal covenant with me,
an agreement that will not be broken,
a promise that will not be changed.
That is all I desire;
that will be my victory,
and God will surely bring it about.
6But godless people are like thorns that are thrown away;
no one can touch them barehanded.
7You must use an iron tool or a spear;
they will be burned completely.

David's Famous Soldiers
(1 Chronicles 11.10-41)

8These are the names of David's famous soldiers: the first was Josheb Basshebeth from Tachemon, who was the leader of "The Three"; he fought with his spear against eight hundred men and killed them all in one battle.
9The second of the famous three was Eleazar son of Dodo, of the clan of Ahoh. One day he and David challenged the Philistines who had gathered for battle. The Israelites fell back, 10but he stood his ground and fought the Philistines until his hand was so cramped that he could not let go of his sword. The LORD won a great victory that day. After it was over, the Israelites returned to where Eleazar was and stripped the armor from the dead.
11The third of the famous three was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. The Philistines had gathered at Lehi, where there was a field of peas. The Israelites fled from the Philistines, 12but Shammah stood his ground in the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. The LORD won a great victory that day.
13Near the beginning of harvest time three of "The Thirty" went down to Adullam Cave, where David was, while a band of Philistines was camping in Rephaim Valley. 14At that time David was on a fortified hill, and a group of Philistines had occupied Bethlehem. 15David grew homesick and said, "How I wish someone would bring me a drink of water from the well by the gate at Bethlehem!" 16The three famous soldiers forced their way through the Philistine camp, drew some water from the well, and brought it back to David. But he would not drink it; instead he poured it out as an offering to the LORD 17and said, "LORD, I could never drink this! It would be like drinking the blood of these men who risked their lives!" So he refused to drink it.
Those were the brave deeds of the three famous soldiers.
18Joab's brother Abishai (their mother was Zeruiah) was the leader of "The Famous Thirty." He fought with his spear against three hundred men and killed them, and became famous among "The Thirty." 19He was the most famous of "The Thirty" and became their leader, but he was not as famous as "The Three."
20Benaiah son of Jehoiada from Kabzeel was another famous soldier; he did many brave deeds, including killing two great Moabite warriors. He once went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 21He also killed an Egyptian, a huge man who was armed with a spear. Benaiah attacked him with his club, snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with it. 22Those were the brave deeds of Benaiah, who was one of "The Thirty." 23He was outstanding among them, but was not as famous as "The Three." David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
24-39Other members of "The Thirty" included:
Asahel, Joab's brother
Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem
Shammah and Elika from Harod
Helez from Pelet
Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa
Abiezer from Anathoth
Mebunnai from Hushah
Zalmon from Ahoh
Maharai from Netophah
Heleb son of Baanah from Netophah
Ittai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin
Benaiah from Pirathon
Hiddai from the valleys near Gaash
Abialbon from Arabah
Azmaveth from Bahurim
Eliahba from Shaalbon
The sons of Jashen
Shammah from Harar
Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar
Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah
Eliam son of Ahithophel from Gilo
Hezro from Carmel
Paarai from Arab
Igal son of Nathan from Zobah
Bani from Gad
Zelek from Ammon
Naharai from Beeroth, Joab's armorbearer
Ira and Gareb from Jattir
Uriah the Hittite.
There were thirty-seven famous soldiers in all.

Hosea and the Unfaithful Woman

Hosea 3 The LORD said to me, "Go again and show your love for a woman who is committing adultery with a lover. You must love her just as I still love the people of Israel, even though they turn to other gods and like to take offerings of raisins to idols."
2So I paid fifteen pieces of silver and seven bushels of barley to buy her. 3I told her that for a long time she would have to wait for me without being a prostitute or committing adultery; and during this time I would wait for her. 4In just this way the people of Israel will have to live for a long time without kings or leaders, without sacrifices or sacred stone pillars, without idols or images to use for divination. 5But the time will come when the people of Israel will once again turn to the LORD their God and to a descendant of David their king. Then they will fear the LORD and will receive his good gifts.

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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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