Mark 9:33–50; 2 Corinthians 1:1–11; Psalm 95; 1 Samuel 1–2

Who Is the Greatest?

33 And zthey came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house ahe asked them, What were you discussing on the way? 34 But they kept silent, for on the way bthey had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, cIf anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all. 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and dtaking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 eWhoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and ewhoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.

Anyone Not Against Us Is for Us

38 fJohn said to him, Teacher, we saw someone gcasting out demons in your name,1 and hwe tried to stop him, because he was not following us. 39 But Jesus said, Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 iFor the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, jwhoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

Temptations to Sin

42 kWhoever causes one of lthese little ones who believe in me to sin,2 mit would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 nAnd if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to ohell,3 to pthe unquenchable fire.4 45 qAnd if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into ohell. 47 rAnd if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into shell, 48 where ttheir worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. 49 For everyone will be salted with fire.5 50 vSalt is good, wbut if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? xHave salt in yourselves, and ybe at peace with one another.


2 Corinthians Illustration

2 Corinthians

Greeting

Paul, aan apostle of Christ Jesus bby the will of God, and cTimothy our brother,

To the church of God that is at Corinth, dwith all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

eGrace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God of All Comfort

fBlessed be the gGod and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and hGod of all comfort, iwho comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in jChrist’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.1 kIf we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you lshare in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers,2 of mthe affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us nrely not on ourselves obut on God pwho raises the dead. 10 qHe delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. rOn him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 sYou also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf tfor the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.


Let Us Sing Songs of Praise

95  Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;

let us fmake a joyful noise to gthe rock of our salvation!

Let us hcome into his presence with thanksgiving;

let us fmake a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

For the Lord is ia great God,

and a great King jabove all gods.

In his hand are the depths of the earth;

the heights of the mountains are his also.

The sea is his, for khe made it,

and his hands formed kthe dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

let us lkneel before the Lord, our mMaker!

For he is our nGod,

and we are the people of his opasture,

and the sheep of his hand.

pToday, if you qhear his voice,

rdo not harden your hearts, as at sMeribah,

as on the day at tMassah in the wilderness,

when your fathers put me to the utest

and put me to the proof, though they had seen my vwork.

10  wFor forty years I loathed that generation

and said, They are a people who go astray in their heart,

and they have not known xmy ways.

11  Therefore I yswore in my wrath,

They shall not enter zmy rest.


1 Samuel Illustration

1 Samuel

The Birth of Samuel

There was a certain man of aRamathaim-zophim of bthe hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, can Ephrathite. He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Now this man used to go up dyear by year from his city eto worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts fat Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, ghe would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.1 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? hAm I not more to you than ten sons?

After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of ithe temple of the Lord. 10 She was jdeeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she kvowed a vow and said, O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed llook on the affliction of your servant and mremember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, nand no razor shall touch his head.

12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you. 15 But Hannah answered, No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but oI have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as pa worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation. 17 Then Eli answered, qGo in peace, and the God of Israel rgrant your petition that you have made to him. 18 And she said, sLet your servant find favor in your eyes. Then the woman twent her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at uRamah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord vremembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, I have asked for him from the Lord.2

Samuel Given to the Lord

21 The man Elkanah and all his house wwent up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord xand dwell there forever. 23 yElkanah her husband said to her, Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; zonly, may the Lord establish his word. So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 And when she had weaned him, ashe took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull,3 an ephah4 of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to bthe house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, Oh, my lord! cAs you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, dand the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.

eAnd he worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah’s Prayer

And Hannah prayed and said,

fMy heart exults in the Lord;

gmy horn is exalted in the Lord.

My mouth derides my enemies,

because hI rejoice in your salvation.

iThere is none holy like the Lord:

for there is none besides you;

there is jno rock like our God.

Talk no more so very proudly,

let not arrogance come from your mouth;

for the Lord is a God of knowledge,

and by him actions are weighed.

kThe bows of the mighty are broken,

but the feeble bind on strength.

Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,

but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.

lThe barren has borne seven,

mbut she who has many children is forlorn.

nThe Lord kills and brings to life;

he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

oThe Lord makes poor and makes rich;

phe brings low and he exalts.

qHe raises up the poor from the dust;

he lifts the needy from the ash heap

rto make them sit with princes

and inherit a seat of honor.

sFor the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,

and on them he has set the world.

tHe will guard the feet of his faithful ones,

but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,

for not by might shall a man prevail.

10  uThe adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;

vagainst them he will thunder in heaven.

wThe Lord will judge the ends of the earth;

he will give strength to his king

xand exalt the horn of his anointed.

11 Then Elkanah went home yto Ramah. zAnd the boy5 was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest.

Eli’s Worthless Sons

12 Now the sons of Eli were aworthless men. bThey did not know the Lord. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, cbefore the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw. 16 And if the man said to him, Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish, he would say, No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force. 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great din the sight of the Lord, efor the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.

18 fSamuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy gclothed with a linen ephod. 19 And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year hwhen she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, May the Lord give you children by this woman ifor the petition she asked of the Lord. So then they would return to their home.

21 jIndeed the Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. kAnd the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord.

Eli Rebukes His Sons

22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who lwere serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him? But they would not listen to the voice of their father, mfor it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.

26 Now the boy Samuel ncontinued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man.

The Lord Rejects Eli’s Household

27 And there came oa man of God to Eli and said to him, Thus says the Lord, pDid I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? 28 qDid I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, rto wear an ephod before me? sI gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29 Why then do you tscorn6 my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel? 30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: vI promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever, wbut now the Lord declares: Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, xthe days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 Then yin distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, zand there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his7 eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants8 of your house shall die by the sword of men.9 34 aAnd this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die bon the same day. 35 cAnd I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. dAnd I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before emy anointed forever. 36 And everyone who is left in your house shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and shall say, Please put me in one of the priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.