July 6 - Mark 13.14-37, 1 Kings 7 and Hosea 9.1-16

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The Horrible Thing
(Matthew 24.15-21; Luke 21.20-24)

Mark 1314Someday you will see that "Horrible Thing" where it should not be. Everyone who reads this must try to understand! If you are living in Judea at that time, run to the mountains. 15If you are on the roof of your house, don't go inside to get anything. 16If you are out in the field, don't go back for your coat. 17It will be an awful time for women who are expecting babies or nursing young children. 18Pray that it won't happen in winter. 19This will be the worst time of suffering since God created the world, and nothing this terrible will ever happen again. 20If the Lord doesn't make the time shorter, no one will be left alive. But because of his chosen and special ones, he will make the time shorter.

21If someone should say, "Here is the Messiah!" or "There he is!" don't believe it. 22False messiahs and false prophets will come and work miracles and signs. They will even try to fool God's chosen ones. 23But be on your guard! That's why I am telling you these things now.

When the Son of Man Appears
(Matthew 24.29-31; Luke 21.25-28)

24In those days, right after that time of suffering,

"The sun will become dark,
and the moon will no longer shine.
25The stars will fall,
and the powers in the sky will be shaken."

26Then the Son of Man will be seen coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27He will send his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the earth.

A Lesson from a Fig Tree
(Matthew 24.32-35; Luke 21.29-33)

28Learn a lesson from a fig tree. When its branches sprout and start putting out leaves, you know summer is near. 29So when you see all these things happening, you will know that the time has almost come. 30You can be sure that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all this happens. 31The sky and the earth will not last forever, but my words will.

No One Knows the Day or Time
(Matthew 24.36-44)

32No one knows the day or the time. The angels in heaven don't know, and the Son himself doesn't know. Only the Father knows. 33So watch out and be ready! You don't know when the time will come. 34It is like what happens when a man goes away for a while and places his servants in charge of everything. He tells each of them what to do, and he orders the guard to keep alert. 35So be alert! You don't know when the master of the house will come back. It could be in the evening or at midnight or before dawn or in the morning. 36But if he comes suddenly, don't let him find you asleep. 37I tell everyone just what I have told you. Be alert!

Solomon's Palace Is Built

1 Kings 7Solomon's palace took thirteen years to build. 2-3Forest Hall was the largest room in the palace. It was one hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high, and was lined with cedar from Lebanon. It had four rows of cedar pillars, fifteen in a row, and they held up forty-five cedar beams. The ceiling was covered with cedar. 4Three rows of windows on each side faced each other, 5and there were three doors on each side near the front of the hall.
6Pillar Hall was seventy-five feet long and forty-five feet wide. A covered porch supported by pillars went all the way across the front of the hall.
7Solomon's throne was in Justice Hall, where he judged cases. This hall was completely lined with cedar.
8The section of the palace where Solomon lived was behind Justice Hall and looked exactly like it. He had a similar place built for his wife, the daughter of the king of Egypt.
9From the foundation all the way to the top, these buildings and the courtyard were made out of the best stones carefully cut to size, then smoothed on every side with saws. 10The foundation stones were huge, good stones--some of them fifteen feet long and others twelve feet long. 11The cedar beams and other stones that had been cut to size were on top of these foundation stones. 12The walls around the palace courtyard were made out of three layers of cut stones with one layer of cedar beams, just like the front porch and the inner courtyard of the temple.

Hiram Makes the Bronze Furnishings
(2 Chronicles 3.15-17; 4.1-10)

13-14Hiram was a skilled bronze worker from the city of Tyre. His father was now dead, but he also had been a bronze worker from Tyre, and his mother was from the tribe of Naphtali.
King Solomon asked Hiram to come to Jerusalem and make the bronze furnishings to use for worship in the LORD's temple, and he agreed to do it.
15Hiram made two bronze columns twenty-seven feet tall and about six feet across. 16For the top of each column, he also made a bronze cap seven and a half feet high. 17The caps were decorated with seven rows of designs that looked like chains, 18with two rows of designs that looked like pomegranates.
19The caps for the columns of the porch were six feet high and were shaped like lilies.
20The chain designs on the caps were right above the rounded tops of the two columns, and there were two hundred pomegranates in rows around each cap. 21Hiram placed the two columns on each side of the main door of the temple. The column on the south side was called Jachin, and the one on the north was called Boaz.
22The lily-shaped caps were on top of the columns.
This completed the work on the columns.
23Hiram also made a large bowl called the Sea. It was seven and a half feet deep, about fifteen feet across, and forty-five feet around. 24Two rows of bronze gourds were around the outer edge of the bowl, ten gourds to every eighteen inches. 25The bowl itself sat on top of twelve bronze bulls with three bulls facing outward in each of four directions. 26The sides of the bowl were four inches thick, and its rim was like a cup that curved outward like flower petals. The bowl held about eleven thousand gallons.
27Hiram made ten movable bronze stands, each one four and a half feet high, six feet long, and six feet wide. 28-29The sides were made with panels attached to frames decorated with flower designs. The panels themselves were decorated with figures of lions, bulls, and winged creatures. 30-31Each stand had four bronze wheels and axles and a round frame twenty-seven inches across, held up by four supports eighteen inches high. A small bowl rested in the frame. The supports were decorated with flower designs, and the frame with carvings.
The side panels of the stands were square, 32and the wheels and axles were underneath them. The wheels were about twenty-seven inches high 33and looked like chariot wheels. The axles, rims, spokes, and hubs were made out of bronze.
34-35Around the top of each stand was a nine-inch strip, and there were four braces attached to the corners of each stand. The panels and the supports were attached to the stands, 36and the stands were decorated with flower designs and figures of lions, palm trees, and winged creatures. 37Hiram made the ten bronze stands from the same mold, so they were exactly the same size and shape.
38Hiram also made ten small bronze bowls, one for each stand. The bowls were six feet across and could hold about two hundred thirty gallons.
39He put five stands on the south side of the temple, five stands on the north side, and the large bowl at the southeast corner of the temple.
40Hiram made pans for hot ashes, and also shovels and sprinkling bowls.

A List of Everything inside the Temple
(2 Chronicles 4.11--5.1)

This is a list of the bronze items that Hiram made for the LORD's temple: 41two columns; two bowl-shaped caps for the tops of the columns; two chain designs on the caps; 42four hundred pomegranates for the chain designs; 43ten movable stands; ten small bowls for the stands; 44a large bowl; twelve bulls that held up the bowl; 45pans for hot ashes, and also shovels and sprinkling bowls.
Hiram made these bronze things for Solomon 46near the Jordan River between Succoth and Zarethan by pouring melted bronze into clay molds.
47There were so many bronze things that Solomon never bothered to weigh them, and no one ever knew how much bronze was used.
48Solomon gave orders to make the following temple furnishings out of gold: the altar; the table that held the sacred loaves of bread; 49ten lampstands that went in front of the most holy place; flower designs; lamps and tongs; 50cups, lamp snuffers, and small sprinkling bowls; dishes for incense; fire pans; and the hinges for the doors to the most holy place and the main room of the temple.
51After the LORD's temple was finished, Solomon put into its storage rooms everything that his father David had dedicated to the LORD, including the gold and the silver.

Israel Will Be Punished

Hosea 9 Israel, don't celebrate or make noisy shouts
like other nations.
You have been unfaithful to your God.
Wherever grain is threshed, you behave like prostitutes
because you enjoy the money you receive.
2But you will run short of grain and wine,
3and you will have to leave the land of the LORD.
Some of you will go to Egypt;
others will go to Assyria and eat unclean food.

4You won't be able to offer sacrifices of wine
to the LORD.
None of your sacrifices will please him--
they will be unclean like food offered to the dead.
Your food will only be used to satisfy your hunger;
none of it will be brought to the LORD's temple.
5You will no longer be able
to celebrate the festival of the LORD.
6Even if you escape alive, you will end up in Egypt
and be buried in Memphis.
Your silver treasures will be lost among weeds;
thorns will sprout in your tents.

7Israel, the time has come. You will get what you deserve,
and you will know it.
"Prophets are fools," you say.
"And God's messengers are crazy."
Your terrible guilt has filled you with hatred.

8Israel, the LORD sent me to look after you.
But you trap his prophets
and flood his temple with your hatred.
9You are brutal and corrupt, as were the men of Gibeah.
But God remembers your sin, and you will be punished.

Sin's Terrible Results

10Israel, when I, the LORD, found you long ago
it was like finding grapes in a barren desert
or tender young figs.
Then you worshiped Baal Peor, that disgusting idol,
and you became as disgusting as the idol you loved.

11And so, Israel, your glory will fly away like birds--
your women will no longer be able to give birth.
12Even if you do have children, I will take them all
and leave you to mourn.
I will turn away,
and you will sink down in deep trouble.
13Israel, when I first met you,
I thought of you as palm trees growing in fertile ground.
Now you lead your people out, only to be slaughtered.

Hosea's Advice

14Our LORD, do just one thing for your people--
make their women unable to have children
or to nurse their babies.

The LORD's Judgment on Israel

15Israel, I first began to hate you
because you did evil at Gilgal.
Now I will chase you out of my house.
No longer will I love you; your leaders betrayed me.
16Israel, you are a vine with dried-up roots
and fruitless branches.
Even if you had more children and loved them dearly,
I would slaughter them all.

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

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