Mark 9:2-50; 2 Samuel 22; Hosea 2:2-23

Mark 9:2-50

The Transfiguration

2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) 7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” 8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” 12 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”

Jesus Heals a Boy Possessed by an Impure Spirit

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time

30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. 33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” 36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us

38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” 39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

Causing to Stumble

42 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where “ ‘the worms that eat them do not die,and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 Everyone will be salted with fire. 50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

2 Samuel 22

David’s Song of Praise

1 David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me. 4 “I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies. 5 The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 6 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 7 “In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. 8 The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. 9 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. 10 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. 11 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 12 He made darkness his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. 13 Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth. 14 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. 15 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. 16 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils. 17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. 20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. 21 “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. 22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I am not guilty of turning from my God. 23 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. 24 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 25 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight. 26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, 27 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. 28 You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. 29 You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light. 30 With your help I can advance against a troop ; with my God I can scale a wall. 31 “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. 32 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? 33 It is God who arms me with strengthand keeps my way secure. 34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. 35 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 36 You make your saving help my shield; your help has made me great. 37 You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. 38 “I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 39 I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 40 You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. 41 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. 42 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them— to the LORD, but he did not answer. 43 I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets. 44 “You have delivered me from the attacks of the peoples; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me, 45 foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. 46 They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds. 47 “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior! 48 He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me, 49 who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. 50 Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. 51 “He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”

Hosea 2:2-23

Israel Punished and Restored

2 “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. 3 Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst. 4 I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery. 5 Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’ 6 Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. 7 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’ 8 She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold— which they used for Baal. 9 “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her naked body. 10 So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands. 11 I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals. 12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. 13 I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the LORD. 14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. 16 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ’ 17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. 18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. 19 I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. 21 “In that day I will respond,” declares the LORD— “I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ”