July 2 - Mark 11.15-33, 1 Kings 2 and Hosea 5.4-15

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Jesus in the Temple
(Matthew 21.12-17; Luke 19.45-48; John 2.13-22)

Mark 1115After Jesus and his disciples reached Jerusalem, he went into the temple and began chasing out everyone who was selling and buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those who were selling doves. 16Jesus would not let anyone carry things through the temple. 17Then he taught the people and said, "The Scriptures say, 'My house should be called a place of worship for all nations.' But you have made it a place where robbers hide!"
18The chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses heard what Jesus said, and they started looking for a way to kill him. They were afraid of him, because the crowds were completely amazed at his teaching.
19That evening, Jesus and the disciples went outside the city.

A Lesson from the Fig Tree
(Matthew 21.20-22)

20As the disciples walked past the fig tree the next morning, they noticed that it was completely dried up, roots and all. 21Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree. Then Peter said, "Teacher, look! The tree you put a curse on has dried up."
22Jesus told his disciples:

Have faith in God! 23If you have faith in God and don't doubt, you can tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it will. 24Everything you ask for in prayer will be yours, if you only have faith.

25-26Whenever you stand up to pray, you must forgive what others have done to you. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your sins.

A Question about Jesus' Authority
(Matthew 21.23-27; Luke 20.1-8)

27Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. And as he was walking through the temple, the chief priests, the nation's leaders, and the teachers of the Law of Moses came over to him. 28They asked, "What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?"
29Jesus answered, "I have just one question to ask you. If you answer it, I will tell you where I got the right to do these things. 30Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?"
31They thought it over and said to each other, "We can't say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn't believe John. 32On the other hand, these people think that John was a prophet. So we can't say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize."
They were afraid of the crowd 33and told Jesus, "We don't know."
Jesus replied, "Then I won't tell you who gave me the right to do what I do."

David's Instructions to Solomon

1 Kings 2Not long before David died, he told Solomon:

2My son, I will soon die, as everyone must. But I want you to be strong and brave. 3Do what the LORD your God commands and follow his teachings. Obey everything written in the Law of Moses. Then you will be a success, no matter what you do or where you go. 4You and your descendants must always faithfully obey the LORD. If you do, he will keep the solemn promise he made to me that someone from our family will always be king of Israel.

5Solomon, don't forget what Joab did to me by killing Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether, the two commanders of Israel's army. He killed them as if they were his enemies in a war, but he did it when there was no war. He is guilty, and now it's up to you to punish him 6in the way you think best. Whatever you do, don't let him die peacefully in his old age.

7The sons of Barzillai from Gilead helped me when I was running from your brother Absalom. Be kind to them and let them eat at your table.

8Be sure to do something about Shimei son of Gera from Bahurim in the territory of Benjamin. He cursed and insulted me the day I went to Mahanaim. But later, when he came to meet me at the Jordan River, I promised that I wouldn't kill him. 9Now you must punish him. He's an old man, but you're wise enough to know that you must have him killed.

David Dies

10-11David was king of Israel forty years. He ruled seven years from Hebron and thirty-three years from Jerusalem. Then he died and was buried in Jerusalem. 12His son Solomon became king and took control of David's kingdom.

Adonijah Is Killed

13One day, Adonijah went to see Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, and she asked, "Is this a friendly visit?"
"Yes. 14I just want to talk with you."
"All right," she told him, "go ahead."
15"You know that I was king for a little while," Adonijah replied. "And everyone in Israel accepted me as their ruler. But the LORD wanted my brother to be king, so now things have changed. 16Would you do me a favor?"
"What do you want?" Bathsheba asked.
17"Please ask Solomon to let me marry Abishag. He won't say no to you."
18"All right," she said. "I'll ask him."
19When Bathsheba went to see Solomon, he stood up to meet her, then bowed low. He sat back down and had another throne brought in, so his mother could sit at his right side. 20Bathsheba sat down and then asked, "Would you do me a small favor?"
Solomon replied, "Mother, just tell me what you want, and I will do it."
21"Allow your brother Adonijah to marry Abishag," she answered.
22Solomon said:

What? Let my older brother marry Abishag? You may as well ask me to let him rule the kingdom! And why don't you ask such favors for Abiathar and Joab?

23I swear in the name of the LORD that Adonijah will die because he asked for this! If he doesn't, I pray that God will severely punish me. 24The LORD made me king in my father's place and promised that the kings of Israel would come from my family. Yes, I swear by the living LORD that Adonijah will die today.

25"Benaiah," Solomon shouted, "go kill Adonijah." So Adonijah died.

Abiathar Is Sent Back Home

26Solomon sent for Abiathar the priest and said:

Abiathar, go back home to Anathoth! You ought to be killed too, but I won't do it now. When my father David was king, you were in charge of the sacred chest, and you went through a lot of hard times with my father. 27But I won't let you be a priest of the LORD anymore.

And so the promise that the LORD had made at Shiloh about the family of Eli came true.

Joab Is Killed

28Joab had not helped Absalom try to become king, but he had helped Adonijah. So when Joab learned that Adonijah had been killed, he ran to the sacred tent and grabbed hold of the corners of the altar for protection. 29When Solomon heard about this, he sent someone to ask Joab, "Why did you run to the altar?"
Joab sent back his answer, "I was afraid of you, and I ran to the LORD for protection."
Then Solomon shouted, "Benaiah, go kill Joab!"
30Benaiah went to the sacred tent and yelled, "Joab, the king orders you to come out!"
"No!" Joab answered. "Kill me right here."
Benaiah went back and told Solomon what Joab had said.
31-32Solomon replied:

Do what Joab said. Kill him and bury him! Then my family and I won't be responsible for what he did to Abner the commander of Israel's army and to Amasa the commander of Judah's army. He killed those innocent men without my father knowing about it. Both of them were better men than Joab. Now the LORD will make him pay for those murders. 33Joab's family will always suffer because of what he did, but the LORD will always bless David's family and his kingdom with peace.

34Benaiah went back and killed Joab. His body was taken away and buried near his home in the desert.
35Solomon put Benaiah in Joab's place as army commander, and he put Zadok in Abiathar's place as priest.

Shimei Is Killed

36Solomon sent for Shimei and said, "Build a house here in Jerusalem and live in it. But whatever you do, don't leave the city! 37If you ever cross Kidron Valley and leave Jerusalem, you will be killed. And it will be your own fault."
38"That's fair, Your Majesty," Shimei answered. "I'll do that." So Shimei lived in Jerusalem from then on.
39About three years later, two of Shimei's servants ran off to King Achish in Gath. When Shimei found out where they were, 40he saddled his donkey and went after them. He found them and brought them back to Jerusalem.
41Someone told Solomon that Shimei had gone to Gath and was back. 42Solomon sent for him and said:

Shimei, you promised in the name of the LORD that you would never leave Jerusalem. I warned you that you would die if you did. You agreed that this was fair, didn't you? 43You have disobeyed me and have broken the promise you made to the LORD.

44I know you remember all the cruel things you did to my father David. Now the LORD is going to punish you for what you did. 45But the LORD will bless me and make my father's kingdom strong forever.

46"Benaiah," Solomon shouted, "kill Shimei." So Shimei died.
Solomon was now in complete control of his kingdom.

Hosea 54Your evil deeds are the reason you won't return to me,
your LORD God.
And your constant craving for sex
keeps you from knowing me.

5Israel, your pride testifies to your guilt;
it makes you stumble, and Judah stumbles too.
6You offer sheep and cattle as sacrifices to me,
but I have turned away and refuse to be found.
7You have been unfaithful to me, your LORD;
you have had children by prostitutes.
So at the New Moon Festival,
you and your crops will be destroyed.

The LORD Warns Israel and Judah

8Give a warning on the trumpet!
Let it be heard in Gibeah, Ramah, and sinful Bethel.
Benjamin, watch out!
9I, the LORD, will punish and wipe out Israel.
This is my solemn promise to every tribe of Israel.
10Judah's leaders are like crooks
who move boundary markers;
that's why I will flood them with my anger.

11Israel was brutally crushed. They got what they deserved
for worshiping useless idols.
12Now I, the LORD, will fill Israel with maggots
and make Judah rot.
13When Israel and Judah saw their sickness and wounds,
Israel asked help from Assyria and its mighty king.

But the king cannot cure them or heal their wounds.
14So I'll become a fierce lion attacking Israel and Judah.
I'll snatch and carry off what I want,
and no one can stop me.
15Then I'll return to my temple
until they confess their guilt and worship me,
until they are desperate and beg for my help.

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

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