ripple effect: vacaville

d84 Mission Possible
June 30, 2007, 12:26 pm
Filed under: 1 samuel, ahijah, god, jonathan, samuel, saul

Read 1 Samuel 14:1-23.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Saul defended the men of Jabesh-gilead against the Ammonites.

* Saul was crowned as king.

* Samuel made a final speach in which he talked about God’s faithfulness and how them asking for a king was faithless. Then he caused thunder and rain to come down on Israel.

* Samuel finally warns the people that they and the new king must follow God.

* The Israelites, led by Saul and his son Jonathan, beat up on the Philistines.

* Saul was supposed to wait seven days in the midst of battle to have Samuel perform a sacrifice, but Saul jumped the gun and did it himself. When Samuel found out, he told him that Saul’s reign would not last–that God was looking for a man after God’s own heart.

* To set the stage for the next chapter, the Bible tells us that the Israelites weren’t allowed to have blacksmiths (to keep them from making weapons); so when they went to battle they had no real weapons (except for Saul and Jonathan).]

1. I wonder why Jonathan didn’t tell his dad that he was going to sneak over to the Philistine camp.
2. From what I can tell about Jonathan here, he seems to be full of faith. Not only that, his armor-bearer seems to believe in him too.
3. Jonathan looked for the “sign” from God, and killed a bunch of guys. This freaked out the Philistines. It kind of seems like Jonathan is the leader here, doesn’t it?
4. Basically, Jonathan’s bravery inspired all the rest of the Israelites to fight against the Philistines.


What do you think of:



d83 I’m the King of the World (Well…Israel)
June 29, 2007, 5:25 pm
Filed under: 1 samuel, god, kish, samuel, saul

Read 1 Samuel 10:1-27.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Saul a eats this meal with 30 other people, sleeps on the roof, and is told that he will be told all that is on his mind by Samuel.]

1. Whoah…what an elaborate “sign” that Saul was annointed by God to be the king of Israel: hear about the donkeys, get some free food, see soldiers, and see musicians.
2. What do you think it means that the Spirit will come upon Saul, he’ll prophesy, and “be a new man”?
3. At that point, Saul will be “full of the Spirit;” so he wouldn’t need directions from that point on–the directions come from within. Do you think this applies to all people, or just to Saul in this particular situation?
4. Alright, so Saul has to wait seven days for Saul to make sacrifices for him. Simple plan, right?
5. God gave Saul a new heart. Kind of makes you wonder what he was “prophesying,” doesn’t it? If I grew up around Kish’s kid, I’d be wondering by now what was up too.
6. Interesting that Saul doesn’t tell his uncle that he’s going to be the king. Why?
7. So, Samuel tells the Israelites that they have rejected Saul to want a king. So, uh, how would you feel if you were Saul, being THAT king?
8. Then Saul goes through the “random” process of picking THAT new king. And it just so happens that the lot falls to Saul. When it comes time to see Saul, he’s hiding behind the luggage? What’s up there?
9. Oh…so that’s where “long live the king” came from…
10. So…then everyone goes home; and Saul gets some cool “men of valour” to be his sidekicks (it says God touched their hearts.)
11. But it ends with some “worthless fellows” talking smack. Bum bum bum…

So…what do you see about Saul that you like so far?
What do you see that makes you a little nervous?

d82 That’s Saul, Folks!
June 28, 2007, 10:29 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, benjamin, kish, samuel, saul

Read 1 Samuel 9:1-21.

1. So a rich guy had a tall, handsome son named Saul. Geez. I guess he would be the poster king.
2. I love how Saul is looking for donkeys when he first meets Samuel. Weird. Not only that, Saul is planning on paying Samuel to tell him where his donkeys are.
3. Meanwhile, God had been working too–He tipped off Samuel that a young man was coming his way around lunch time and that he’d be the king of Israel. And, just like a juddge, he will save the people from the Philistines.
4. As if Samuel hadn’t had enough confirmation already, God told him at the moment that Saul arrived that he was the guy.
5. Samuel says to not worry about donkeys and eat with him because he is honored. This is kind of weird because, at this point, the people of Benjamin are pretty low in the eyes of the other tribes (remember the incident where they were all about to get wiped out???).

What do you think about Saul so far?

d81 Reign Over Me (Well…Not God…How About a King?)
June 27, 2007, 5:42 pm
Filed under: 1 samuel, god, moses, samuel

Read 1 Samuel 8:6-22.

1. Samuel was peeved by the demand for a king; but, instead of blasting the people, he went to God first. God gives Samuel perspective about it. This isn’t about people rejecting a man’s ways–this is about the people rejecting GOD’S ways (just like when the people grumbled against Moses).
2. God lets them have their way. Like a loving Father who knows that His kid’s making a huge mistake (but still lets him because he’s got to learn), He let’s Israel get their way. God does tell them to lay out what’s going to happen, though.
3. Samuel warns them about the downside to having a king– he will require people to build an army for him, work for him, and pamper him. And let’s not forget about taxes! And, unlike a tithe which goes to God’s work, this will just go to making the king kingly.
4. Check out why the people wanted a king: a) they wanted to be like other nations (why, wasn’t Israel supposed to be different?) b) they wanted a judge (why, didn’t they already have judges appointed by God) c) they wanted someone to go out and fight their battles (why, didn’t God fight battles for them?).
5. I can’t even imagine how frustrated Samuel was at watching all of this take place. But, in the end, this is what they did. It’s almost as it if they are wanting to remove God from the equation in favor of a man-made government…can you say USA anyone?

d80 Dagon, and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
June 26, 2007, 6:59 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, abijah, abinadab, asherah, baal, dagon, eleazar, eli, god, hophni, ichabod, joel, pharaoh, phinehas, samuel

Read 1 Samuel 8:1-5.

[Stuff we’re skipping over…

* OK, so Israel gets their butts kicked by the Philistines. And, in the words of the leprechaun, they asked themselves, “Where’s me lucky charms?” They try, along with Eli’s moron sons, to use the ark of the covenant as a luck charm or a weapon (see the Nazis in Indiana Jones); and they end up getting the thing captured! Also, our boys Hophni and Phinehas died that day. When a messenger told Eli what had happened, he fell back, broke his neck, and died (the Bible says he was old and “heavy”). Phinehas’ wife ended up having a baby that day and naming him Ichabod.

* Meanwhile, the Philistines had brought the ark to the temple of Dagon (a fish-man). The next day, they went inside and the statue of Dagon had fallen face first (prostrate?) before the ark. They put it back; and then, the next day, it fell on its face with its head and hands falling off. Also, every Philistine town that housed the ark became cursed—the men would get tumors and die. They’d move the ark from town to town, but wherever they went they would get sick and die. So they decided that they should probably give the ark back.

* OK, so they had the ark for seven months; and it wasn’t really working out for the Philistines. So the “holy” guys of the Philistines decided that they way to go would be for them to give the ark back (taken by two cows) and with a box containing five golden TUMORS and five golden MICE. Yeah…those Philistines had style. Interestingly enough, the leaders cite Pharaoh’s stubbornness and all that happened to him in Egypt as the reason that they should “glorify” God with a guilt offering and give the ark back.

* The men of Beth-shemesh saw the ark coming over the hill on the backs of some cows, and they called up the Levites. They killed the two cows as a sacrifice right then and there. Seventy men from Beth-shemesh died, though, because they tried to peek inside the ark. Because they got scared to “possess” the ark, they had some guys from Kiriath-jearim take it. They held it in the home of a man named Abinadab. His son Eleazar was set apart as a priest to care for the ark. It stayed there for 20 years. All of Israel mourned the loss because they now couldn’t have the ark in a central place like Shiloh (where it was before).

* Samuel told the people that they needed to get rid of their idols to Baal and Asherah and get real with God. They said they would at a large gathering. During this gathering, the Philistines attacked; but, since the people offered sacrifices and humility to God, God caused the Philistines to get thrown into confusion and be defeated. Then it says that Samuel went on to judge Israel by going from city to city throughout his life. Whew…]

1. OK…down to the nitty gritty. Samuel seemed to have the same problem Eli had: bad sons…Joel and Abijah were supposed to be priests, but they took bribes instead.
2. Major transition…the Israelites realized that this whole “judge” thing wasn’t going to work for them if Samuel’s sons were idiots…so they decided that they wanted a king instead. Like little children, their plea included, “Everybody else is doing it!” Uh oh. Was Israel ever supposed to be like everybody else?
3. What do you think could be some positives of having a king? I mean, in a way, are the Israelites “proving” that this whole judges thing doesn’t work for them?
4. Then again, what are the negatives?

d79 Whispers in the Dark
June 25, 2007, 6:44 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, eleazar, eli, elkanah, gad, hannah, hophni, phinehas, samuel

Read 1 Samuel 3:1-21.

[Stuff we’re skimming over…

* Hannah rocks a prayer that is actually really powerful (kind of reminds me of a psalm of David…only she was around first!) It also goes on to say that Elkanah went home and left Samuel to be raised by and serve with Eli.

* We get an inside look at Eli’s sons, who basically take bigger portions of the meat offerings to God than was right. The tradition was to take a little bit with a fork while it was boiling—these jokers asked for the meat before it was even cooked, taking the fat (which was always to be set apart for God).

* We also find out that Hannah and Elkanah saw Samuel every year; and, when they did, his mom would give him a new robe to wear. Eli blessed Hannah, and she ended up having three more boys and two girls.

* It seems as if Eli’s sons were more than just hungry for food—these guys had sex with the women in front of the tent of meeting. Eli chewed them out, but they didn’t listen. (It says that God wanted to put them to death). It also says that Samuel grew up to be a good guy.

* A “man of God” comes to Eli to tell him that God has made his judgment on Eli and his sons. Because Eli let his sons continue to be priests, his whole family would be cut off from being priests forever. He will also see his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, killed on the same day. He says that they will raise up a new priest. I wonder if it’s the guy that this book is named after?]

1. Interesting phrase, “the word of the Lord was rare in those days.” Do you think it was because His priests weren’t honoring Him, or do you think it was something else?
2. So God calls out to Samuel twice, and both times he thinks it’s Eli calling him. Silly rabbit. Interestingly, it says that Samuel didn’t even know God at this point. I think he will real soon.
3. Quick question…what do you think of the phrase “God told me _________.” It’s used a lot in Christian culture. What do you think people really mean when they say that?
4. OK…so Eli’s a smart guy, and he realized God was speaking to Samuel. That’s good. You know, it should be all old people’s responsibility to help the young folks learn how to “hear God.”
5. Whoah. Imagine being Samuel. He’s kind of like Cinderella. He’s got his new “dad.” He’s got two “wicked stepbrothers.” And God tells him that a) “dad” is going to get judged and b) the “wicked stepbrothers” are going to die. I can see this one coming…would this be news that would make your ears tingle or your palms sweat?
6. Wow. You have to like Eli’s response. He knew it was God, and he accepted the judgment. Would you have tried to “fight” this verdict?
7. What a cool thing to say about Samuel: “none of his words fell to the ground.” God knows I talk a little too much. But, I think I get the gist of what’s being said here. His words were always from God. His words were never said just for the sake of saying something. His words meant something. God, help me and anyone else who’s reading this to seek a life like that. No words hitting the dirt. They all stick to the ears and hearts of those who listen.

Up in the Air
June 25, 2007, 6:25 am
Filed under: god

Just letting you know that I’ll be traveling to North Carolina today in the air with my wife and cat. So…the post’ll be late, but I’ll get it on here this evening.