Mark 3:20-35; 2 Samuel 7; 2 Samuel 8; Daniel 4

Mark 3:20-35

A House Divided

20 Then He went home, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. 21 When His family heard this, they set out to restrain Him, because they said, "He's out of His mind." 22 The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul in Him!" and, "He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons!" 23 So He summoned them and spoke to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rebels against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished! 27 "On the other hand, no one can enter a strong man's house and rob his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he will rob his house. 28 I assure you: People will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they may blaspheme. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" - 30 because they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit."

True Relationships

31 Then His mother and His brothers came, and standing outside, they sent [word] to Him and called Him. 32 A crowd was sitting around Him and told Him, "Look, Your mother, Your brothers, and Your sisters are outside asking for You." 33 He replied to them, "Who are My mother and My brothers?" 34 And looking about at those who were sitting in a circle around Him, He said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother."

2 Samuel 7

The Lord's Covenant with David

1 When the king had settled into his palace and the Lord had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, "Look, I am living in a cedar house while the ark of God sits inside tent curtains." 3 So Nathan told the king, "Go and do all that is on your heart, for the Lord is with you." 4 But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: 5 "Go to My servant David and say, 'This is what the Lord says: Are you to build a house for Me to live in? 6 From the time I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until today I have not lived in a house; instead, I have been moving around with the tabernacle tent. 7 In all My journeys with all the Israelites, have I ever asked anyone among the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel: Why haven't you built Me a house of cedar?' 8 "Now this is what you are to say to My servant David: 'This is what the Lord of Hosts says: I took you from the pasture and from following the sheep to be ruler over My people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you. I will make a name for you like that of the greatest in the land. 10 I will establish a place for My people Israel and plant them, so that they may live there and not be disturbed again. Evildoers will not afflict them as they have done 11 ever since the day I ordered judges to be over My people Israel. I will give you rest from all your enemies. " 'The Lord declares to you: The Lord Himself will make a house for you. 12 When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod and with blows from others. 15 But My faithful love will never leave him as I removed it from Saul; I removed him from your way. 16 Your house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever.' " 17 Nathan spoke all these words and this entire vision to David.

David's Prayer of Thanksgiving

18 Then King David went in, sat in the Lord's presence, and said, "Who am I, Lord God , and what is my house that You have brought me this far? 19 What You have done so far was a little thing to You, Lord God , for You have also spoken about Your servant's house in the distant future. And this is a revelation for mankind, Lord God . 20 What more can David say to You? You know Your servant, Lord God . 21 Because of Your word and according to Your will, You have revealed all these great things to Your servant. 22 "This is why You are great, Lord God . There is no one like You, and there is no God besides You, as all we have heard confirms. 23 And who is like Your people Israel? God came to one nation on earth in order to redeem a people for Himself, to make a name for Himself, and to perform for them great and awesome acts, driving out nations and their gods before Your people You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt. 24 You established Your people Israel Your own people forever, and You, Lord, have become their God. 25 "Now, Lord God, fulfill the promise forever that You have made to Your servant and his house. Do as You have promised, 26 so that Your name will be exalted forever, when it is said, 'The Lord of Hosts is God over Israel.' The house of Your servant David will be established before You 27 since You, Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, have revealed this to Your servant when You said, 'I will build a house for you.' Therefore, Your servant has found the courage to pray this prayer to You. 28 Lord God , You are God; Your words are true, and You have promised this grace to Your servant. 29 Now, please bless Your servant's house so that it will continue before You forever. For You, Lord God , have spoken, and with Your blessing Your servant's house will be blessed forever."

2 Samuel 8

David's Victories

1 After this, David defeated the Philistines, subdued them, and took Metheg-ammah from Philistine control. 2 He also defeated the Moabites, and after making them lie down on the ground, he measured them off with a cord. He measured every two cord lengths [of those] to be put to death and one length [of those] to be kept alive. So the Moabites became David's subjects and brought tribute. 3 David also defeated Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, who went to restore his control at the Euphrates River. 4 David captured 1,700 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers from him, and he hamstrung all the horses, and he kept 100 chariots. 5 When the Arameans of Damascus came to assist King Hadadezer of Zobah, David struck down 22,000 Aramean men. 6 Then he placed garrisons in Aram of Damascus, and the Arameans became David's subjects and brought tribute. The Lord made David victorious wherever he went. 7 David took the gold shields of Hadadezer's officers and brought them to Jerusalem. 8 King David also took huge quantities of bronze from Betah and Berothai, Hadadezer's cities. 9 When King Toi of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, 10 he sent his son Joram to King David to greet him and to congratulate him because David had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him, for Toi and Hadadezer had fought many wars. Joram had items of silver, gold, and bronze with him. 11 King David also dedicated these to the Lord, along with the silver and gold he had dedicated from all the nations he had subdued- 12 from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Amalekites, and the spoil of Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah. 13 David made a reputation for himself when he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 14 He placed garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites were subject to David. The Lord made David victorious wherever he went. 15 So David reigned over all Israel, administering justice and righteousness for all his people. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was court historian; 17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was court secretary; 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada [was over] the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David's sons were chief officials.

Daniel 4

Nebuchadnezzar's Proclamation

1 King Nebuchadnezzar, To those of every people, nation, and language, who live in all the earth: May your prosperity increase. 2 I am pleased to tell you about the miracles and wonders the Most High God has done for me. 3 How great are His miracles, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.

The Dream

4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace. 5 I had a dream, and it frightened me; while in my bed, the images and visions in my mind alarmed me. 6 So I issued a decree to bring all the wise men of Babylon to me in order that they might make the dream's interpretation known to me. 7 When the diviner-priests, mediums, Chaldeans, and astrologers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not make its interpretation known to me. 8 Finally Daniel, named Belteshazzar after the name of my god-and the spirit of the holy gods is in him-came before me. I told him the dream: 9 Belteshazzar, head of the diviners, because I know that you have a spirit of the holy gods and that no mystery puzzles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I saw, and its interpretation. 10 In the visions of my mind as I was lying in bed, I saw this: There was a tree in the middle of the earth, and its height was great. 11 The tree grew large and strong; its top reached to the sky, and it was visible to the ends of the earth. 12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit was abundant, and on it was food for all. Wild animals found shelter under it, the birds of the air lived in its branches, and every creature was fed from it. 13 As I was lying in my bed, I also saw in the visions of my mind an observer, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He called out loudly: Cut down the tree and chop off its branches; strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it, and the birds from its branches. 15 But leave the stump with its roots in the ground, and with a band of iron and bronze around it, in the tender grass of the field. Let him be drenched with dew from the sky and share the plants of the earth with the animals. 16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man, and let him be given the mind of an animal for seven periods of time. 17 This word is by decree of the observers; the matter is a command from the holy ones. This is so the living will know that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of men. He gives it to anyone He wants and sets over it the lowliest of men. 18 This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because none of the wise men of my kingdom can make the interpretation known to me. But you can, because you have the spirit of the holy gods.

The Dream Interpreted

19 Then Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, was stunned for a moment, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king said, "Belteshazzar, don't let the dream or its interpretation alarm you." Belteshazzar answered, "My lord, may the dream apply to those who hate you, and its interpretation to your enemies! 20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, whose top reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth, 21 whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant-and on it was food for all, under it the wild animals lived, and in its branches the birds of the air lived- 22 that tree is you, the king. For you have become great and strong: your greatness has grown and even reaches the sky, and your dominion [extends] to the ends of the earth. 23 "The king saw an observer, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, 'Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump with its roots in the ground and with a band of iron and bronze around it, in the tender grass of the field. Let him be drenched with dew from the sky, and share [food] with the wild animals for seven periods of time.' 24 This is the interpretation, Your Majesty, and this is the sentence of the Most High that has been passed against my lord the king: 25 You will be driven away from people to live with the wild animals. You will feed on grass like cattle and be drenched with dew from the sky for seven periods of time, until you acknowledge that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of men, and He gives it to anyone He wants. 26 As for the command to leave the tree's stump with its roots, your kingdom will be restored to you as soon as you acknowledge that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, may my advice seem good to you my king. Separate yourself from your sins by doing what is right, and from your injustices by showing mercy to the needy. Perhaps there will be an extension of your prosperity."

The Sentence Executed

28 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of 12 months, as he was walking on the roof of the royal palace in Babylon, 30 the king exclaimed, "Is this not Babylon the Great that I have built by my vast power to be a royal residence and to display my majestic glory?" 31 While the words were still in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared that the kingdom has departed from you. 32 You will be driven away from people to live with the wild animals, and you will feed on grass like cattle for seven periods of time, until you acknowledge that the Most High is ruler over the kingdom of men, and He gives it to anyone He wants." 33 At that moment the sentence against Nebuchadnezzar was executed. He was driven away from people. He ate grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with dew from the sky, until his hair grew like eagles' [feathers] and his nails like birds' [claws].

Nebuchadnezzar's Praise

34 But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does what He wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can hold back His hand or say to Him, "What have You done?" 36 At that time my sanity returned to me, and my majesty and splendor returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and my nobles sought me out, I was reestablished over my kingdom, and even more greatness came to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and glorify the King of heaven, because all His works are true and His ways are just. And He is able to humble those who walk in pride.
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