The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Bible for Sunday, November 19, 2006

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The gospels are amusing. For instance:

This week, the disciples regale Jesus with exclamations over something that impresses them (Breathless: “Woo-woo, Jesus, check this out!!”), something everybody knows is impressive – and he virtually yawns. Just like he wasn’t impressed with other things that impressed them: rich men and big name teachers and big cash donors.


He takes the moment to tell them (i.e., us) how their easily-impressed brains could get their geese cooked. You’ll see it.


Then, savor Hebrews, as the writer shows us how to stick to the knitting.

(Ah, international reader, please forgive these colloquialisms! “A cooked goose” is a person in trouble, and “stick to the knitting” means “keep doing what matters most.”)


Enjoy the Bible with me:

Mark 13

Doomsday Deceivers

1 As he walked away from the Temple, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at that stonework! Those buildings!”



2Jesus said, “You’re impressed by this grandiose architecture? There’s not a stone in the whole works that is not going to end up in a heap of rubble.” 3-4Later, as he was sitting on Mount Olives in full view of the Temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew got him off by himself and asked, “Tell us, when is this going to happen? What sign will we get that things are coming to a head?”



5-8Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming.



The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Hebrews 10:19-25


Don’t Throw It All Away


19-21So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.



22-25So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.



The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson


1 Samuel 1:4-20



3-7 Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.


8 Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?”


9-11 So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow:

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,

If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,

If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me

By giving me a son,

I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.

I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.



12-14 It so happened that as she continued in prayer before God, Eli was watching her closely. Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk. He approached her and said, “You’re drunk! How long do you plan to keep this up? Sober up, woman!”



15-16 Hannah said, “Oh no, sir—please! I’m a woman hard used. I haven’t been drinking. Not a drop of wine or beer. The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God. Don’t for a minute think I’m a bad woman. It’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain that I’ve stayed here so long.”



17 Eli answered her, “Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him.”


18 “Think well of me—and pray for me!” she said, and went her way. Then she ate heartily, her face radiant.


19 Up before dawn, they worshiped God and returned home to Ramah. Elkanah slept with Hannah his wife, and God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.


Dedicating the Child to God

20 Before the year was out, Hannah had conceived and given birth to a son. She named him Samuel, explaining, “I asked God for him.”




The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson


1 Samuel 2


1Hannah prayed: I’m bursting with God-news! I’m walking on air.

I’m laughing at my rivals. I’m dancing my salvation. 2-5 Nothing and no one is holy like God,

no rock mountain like our God.


Don’t dare talk pretentiously—

not a word of boasting, ever!

For God knows what’s going on.


He takes the measure of everything that happens.

The weapons of the strong are smashed to pieces,

while the weak are infused with fresh strength.

The well-fed are out begging in the streets for crusts,

while the hungry are getting second helpings.

The barren woman has a houseful of children,

while the mother of many is bereft.


6-10 God brings death and God brings life,

brings down to the grave and raises up.

God brings poverty and God brings wealth;

he lowers, he also lifts up.

He puts poor people on their feet again;

he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope,

Restoring dignity and respect to their lives—

a place in the sun!


For the very structures of earth are God’s;

he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation.

He protectively cares for his faithful friends, step by step,

but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark.


No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle!

God’s enemies will be blasted out of the sky,

crashed in a heap and burned.

God will set things right all over the earth,

he’ll give strength to his king,

he’ll set his anointed on top of the world!




The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson


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Written by Monte

November 14, 2006 at 5:47 pm

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  1. […] Bible for Sunday, November 19, 2006 […]

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