Mark 4:21-41; 2 Samuel 11; 2 Samuel 12; Daniel 6

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Mark 4:21-41

21 He also said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn't it to be put on a lampstand?
22 For nothing is concealed except to be revealed, and nothing hidden except to come to light.
23 If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!"
24 Then He said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured and added to you.
25 For to the one who has, it will be given, and from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away."
26 "The kingdom of God is like this," He said. "A man scatters seed on the ground;
27 he sleeps and rises-night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows-he doesn't know how.
28 The soil produces a crop by itself-first the blade, then the head, and then the ripe grain on the head.
29 But as soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because harvest has come."
30 And He said: "How can we illustrate the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it?
31 It's like a mustard seed that, when sown in the soil, is smaller than all the seeds on the ground.
32 And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the vegetables, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade."
33 He would speak the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand.
34 And He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, He would explain everything to His own disciples.
35 On that day, when evening had come, He told them, "Let's cross over to the other side [of the lake]."
36 So they left the crowd and took Him along since He was [already] in the boat. And other boats were with Him.
37 A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.
38 But He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him up and said to Him, "Teacher! Don't you care that we're going to die?"
39 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Silence! Be still!" The wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 Then He said to them, "Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?"
41 And they were terrified and asked one another, "Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

2 Samuel 11

1 In the spring when kings march out [to war], David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and strolled around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing-a very beautiful woman.
3 So David sent someone to inquire about her, and he reported, "This is Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite."
4 David sent messengers to get her, and when she came to him, he slept with her. Now she had just been purifying herself from her uncleanness. Afterwards, she returned home.
5 The woman conceived and sent word to inform David: "I am pregnant."
6 David sent orders to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite." So Joab sent Uriah to David.
7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the troops were doing and how the war was going.
8 Then he said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king followed him.
9 But Uriah slept at the door of the palace with all his master's servants; he did not go down to his house.
10 When it was reported to David, "Uriah didn't go home," David questioned Uriah, "Haven't you just come from a journey? Why didn't you go home?"
11 Uriah answered David, "The ark, Israel, and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my master Joab and his soldiers are camping in the open field. How can I enter my house to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As surely as you live and by your life, I will not do this!"
12 "Stay here today also," David said to Uriah, "and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next.
13 Then David invited Uriah to eat and drink with him, and David got him drunk. He went out in the evening to lie down on his cot with his master's servants, but he did not go home.
14 The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.
15 In the letter he wrote: Put Uriah at the front of the fiercest fighting, then withdraw from him so that he is struck down and dies.
16 When Joab was besieging the city, he put Uriah in the place where he knew the best [enemy] soldiers were.
17 Then the men of the city came out and attacked Joab, and some of the men from David's soldiers fell [in battle]; Uriah the Hittite also died.
18 Joab sent someone to report to David all the details of the battle.
19 He commanded the messenger, "When you've finished telling the king all the details of the battle-
20 if the king's anger gets stirred up and he asks you, 'Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn't you realize they would shoot from the top of the wall?
21 At Thebez, who struck Abimelech son of Jerubbesheth?Didn't a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the top of the wall so that he died? Why did you get so close to the wall?'-then say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.' "
22 Then the messenger left. When he arrived, he reported to David all that Joab had sent him [to tell].
23 The messenger reported to David, "The men gained the advantage over us and came out against us in the field, but we counterattacked right up to the entrance of the gate.
24 However, the archers shot down on your soldiers from the top of the wall, and some of the king's soldiers died. Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead."
25 David told the messenger, "Say this to Joab: 'Don't let this matter upset you because the sword devours all alike. Intensify your fight against the city and demolish it.' Encourage him."
26 When Uriah's wife heard that her husband Uriah had died, she mourned for him.
27 When the time of mourning ended, David had her brought to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. However, the Lord considered what David had done to be evil.

2 Samuel 12

1 So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When he arrived, he said to him: There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor.
2 The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle,
3 but the poor man had nothing except one small ewe lamb that he had bought. It lived and grew up with him and his children. It shared his meager food and drank from his cup; it slept in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him.
4 Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man could not bring himself to take one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for his guest.
5 David was infuriated with the man and said to Nathan: "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die!
6 Because he has done this thing and shown no pity, he must pay four lambs for that lamb."
7 Nathan replied to David, "You are the man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
8 I gave your master's house to you and your master's wives into your arms, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah, and if that was not enough, I would have given you even more.
9 Why then have you despised the command of the Lord by doing what I consider evil? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife as your own wife-you murdered him with the Ammonite's sword.
10 Now therefore, the sword will never leave your house because you despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own wife.'
11 "This is what the Lord says, 'I am going to bring disaster on you from your own family: I will take your wives and give them to another before your very eyes, and he will sleep with them publicly.
12 You acted in secret, but I will do this before all Israel and in broad daylight.' "
13 David responded to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." Then Nathan replied to David, "The Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die.
14 However, because you treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you will die."
15 Then Nathan went home. The Lord struck the baby that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill.
16 David pleaded with God for the boy. He fasted, went [home], and spent the night lying on the ground.
17 The elders of his house stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat anything with them.
18 On the seventh day the baby died. But David's servants were afraid to tell him the baby was dead. They said, "Look, while the baby was alive, we spoke to him, and he wouldn't listen to us. So how can we tell him the baby is dead? He may do something desperate."
19 When David saw that his servants were whispering to each other, he guessed that the baby was dead. So he asked his servants, "Is the baby dead?" "He is dead," they replied.
20 Then David got up from the ground. He washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the Lord's house, and worshiped. Then he went home and requested [something to eat]. So they served him food, and he ate.
21 His servants asked him, "What did you just do? While the baby was alive, you fasted and wept, but when he died, you got up and ate food."
22 He answered, "While the baby was alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, 'Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let him live.'
23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I'll go to him, but he will never return to me."
24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba; he went and slept with her. She gave birth to a son and named him Solomon.The Lord loved him,
25 and He sent [a message] through Nathan the prophet, who named him Jedidiah, because of the Lord.
26 Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal fortress.
27 Then Joab sent messengers to David to say, "I have fought against Rabbah and have also captured the water supply.
28 Now therefore, assemble the rest of the troops, lay siege to the city, and capture it. Otherwise I will be the one to capture the city, and it will be named after me.
29 So David assembled all the troops and went to Rabbah; he fought against it and captured it.
30 He took the crown from the head of their king, and it was [placed] on David's head. The crown weighed 75 pounds of gold, and it had a precious stone [in it]. In addition, David took away a large quantity of plunder from the city.
31 He removed the people who were in the city and put [them to work] with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, and to labor at brickmaking. He did the same to all the Ammonite cities. Then he and all his troops returned to Jerusalem.

Daniel 6

1 Darius decided to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, stationed throughout the realm,
2 and over them three administrators, including Daniel. These satraps would be accountable to them so that the king would not be defrauded.
3 Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm.
4 The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him.
5 Then these men said, "We will never find any charge against this Daniel unless we find something against him concerning the law of his God."
6 So the administrators and satraps went together to the king and said to him, "May King Darius live forever.
7 All the administrators of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, advisers, and governors have agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an edict that for 30 days, anyone who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions' den.
8 Therefore, Your Majesty, establish the edict and sign the document so that, as a law of the Medes and Persians, it is irrevocable and cannot be changed."
9 So King Darius signed the document.
10 When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel petitioning and imploring his God.
12 So they approached the king and asked about his edict: "Didn't you sign an edict that for 30 days any man who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions' den?" The king answered, "As a law of the Medes and Persians, the order stands and is irrevocable."
13 Then they replied to the king, "Daniel, one of the Judean exiles, has ignored you, the king, and the edict you signed, for he prays three times a day."
14 As soon as the king heard this, he was very displeased; he set his mind on rescuing Daniel and made every effort until sundown to deliver him.
15 Then these men went to the king and said to him, "You as king know it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or ordinance the king establishes can be changed."
16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing in regard to Daniel could be changed.
18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting. No diversions were brought to him, and he could not sleep.
19 At the first light of dawn the king got up and hurried to the lions' den.
20 When he reached the den, he cried out in anguish to Daniel. "Daniel, servant of the living God," the king said, "has your God whom you serve continually been able to rescue you from the lions?"
21 Then Daniel spoke with the king: "May the king live forever.
22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths. They haven't hurt me, for I was found innocent before Him. Also, I have not committed a crime against you my king."
23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to take Daniel out of the den. So Daniel was taken out of the den, uninjured, for he trusted in his God.
24 The king then gave the command, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the lions' den-they, their children, and their wives. They had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
25 Then King Darius wrote to those of every people, nation, and language who live in all the earth: "May your prosperity abound.
26 I issue a decree that in all my royal dominion, people must tremble in fear before the God of Daniel: For He is the living God, and He endures forever; His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His dominion has no end.
27 He rescues and delivers; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth, for He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions."
28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.