ripple effect: vacaville


d113 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
August 12, 2007, 4:07 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, 2 kings, ahaziah, baal, baal-zebub, elijah, elisha, god, jehoram, jehoshaphat

Read 2 Kings 2:1-12.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* We get a closer look at Jehoshaphat, king of Judah for 25 years. He is known for being a good guy, ending male shrine prostitution. He wasn’t perfect, though, because people still made offerings at high places. After he dies, his son Jehoram takes the throne.

* We also learn that Ahaziah stunk as king of Israel for his two years. Still was as a punk who worshipped Baal. This provoked God to anger.

Entering 2 Kings…

* King Ahaziah took a fall and got sick. He wanted to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron (anyone else thinking of Bohemian rhapsody), to find out if he would live or not. Elijah intercepts these guys on the way and tells them that he’s going to die. It’s not like there isn’t a God in Israel! The guys went back to Ahaziah, and he realized that it was Elijah who had told them this. Ahaziah sent 51 soldiers to “get” Elijah. When they came, he said, “If I’m a man of God, let fire come down from heaven to consume you and your fifty.” Fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. This happened again. The third leader wised up and begged Elijah not to killing (after all, he was just doing his job!). So, Elijah went to Ahaziah and told him he was going to die. Another guy named Jehoram (popular name?) became king of Israel in his place because Ahaziah had no son.]

1. I love how casually the Bible mentions that Elijah is going to be taken into heaven by a whirlwind. Oh…that’s normal.
2. Elijah…Elisha…confusing I know. Eli Manning is an EliSHa, for anyone who cares.
3. Crazy how Elijah being taken up by God is common knowledge. Elisha knows and so do the sons of the prophets in Bethel. Elisha’s response: “Shhhh.”
4. Same thing happens when they go to Jericho.
5. Elijah causally parts the Jordan River with his cloak so the two can pass through. Dude…that’s three miraculous water partings.
6. Elisha wants a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Nice request. Um…any takers on what that really means?
7. Amazing image. Horses and chariots of fire swooping down to take Elijah to heaven. The guy doesn’t die. He’s just warped up to heaven. Anyone seen “Ghost Rider”? Yeah, I bet it was like that!
8. And, of course, Elisha is super-stoked because he saw the whole thing–meaning that he would indeed have a double-portion of his master’s spirit. Now, if only Eli Manning could get a double-portion of Peyton Manning’s abilities.
9. How cool is it that Elisha tears up his old cloak. I guess he’s going to need a new one. But that’s for tomorrow.

I want to go out like that. Just a small request. How cool would it be to get swept into heaven by a chariot of fire with lit up horses!?!



d112 Random Acts of God’s Will
August 11, 2007, 2:48 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, ahab, ahaziah, god, jehoshaphat, micaiah, zedekiah

Read 1 Kings 22:29-40.

[Stuff we’re skipping over:

* OK, so Ahab (king of Israel) and Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) are hanging out one day, when someone tells Ahab that they need to take a particular city back from the Syrians. Well, Ahab gets Jehoshaphat’s commitment to fight with him; and he asks 400 prophets whether or not they could win if they went to battle. In typical false prophet style, they assure him that they can win. Jehoshaphat smells something fishy and asks if there is another prophet to ask (maybe one not on the payroll?). They summon Micaiah, who is unpopular with Ahab because he never prophesies anything good about him (there might be a reason for that). Then some dude named Zedekiah makes props to show how much Israel and Judah are going to win. Micaiah first sarcastically tells Ahab that he’s going to win, but he eventually tells that truth. Zedekiah slaps him. Micaiah promises certain doom for both of them while he’s drug into a prison.]

Ah…here we go…

1. First things first. Um, why does Ahab get to go incognito while Jehoshaphat gets still wear his crown (aka TARGET) on his head?
2. Of course, the Syrians are gunning for the king. Wouldn’t you?
3. When Jehoshaphat cried out, the Syrians realized it wasn’t Ahab; so they let him go. Maybe they thought he was a decoy?
4. I love how is says that “at random” God’s will (Micaiah’s prohecy) is accomplished when Ahab gets shot.
5. Man, and then they scatter. And then they clean out the chariot, while the dogs lick up the blood and the prostitutes bath in the bloody water? Weird.
6. Important to note that Ahab’s son, Ahaziah takes over the throne of Israel.



d111 It’s a Dog Eat Queen World
August 10, 2007, 2:29 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, ahab, ben-hadad, elijah, god, jezebel, naboth

Read 1 Kings 21:1-29.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, tries to raid Samaria (the home of Ahab) and take all their goodies. But, a prophet came to Ahab to tell him that God was going to prove his power bu allowing them to withstand the attack of the Syrians. They did. And when the Syrians tried to regroup and attack again, the Israelites won again, to prove God’s strength. They ended up capturing Ben-hadad and making him swear to give stolen cities back. Then they let him go. A prophet came to Ahab and told him that he would die because he let the evil king of Syria go.]

OK…

1. Can you blame Naboth for not wanting to sell his family’s vineyard? So what that he could get a better one. This was his family’s vineyard.
2. Picture Ahab sulking. I bet it’s not as funny in your head as it is in my head.
3. Jezebel is the one wearing the pants in this relationship. Kind of leaves you hanging on HOW she is going to get him that vineyard.
4. Not very subtle killing approach. This story reminds me a lot of David trying to pry Bathsheba from Uriah. Jezebel takes the role of the one participating ill-gotten gain.
5. You wonder if Ahab knew how he got the vineyard…
6. How would you like to have Elijah’s job? He has to go to the king and tell him that a) he did wrong and b) he’s going to have his blood licked off the ground by dogs. Geez.
7. Nice message. Subtle. I especially like the part when Elijah says that Ahab’s wife is going to be eaten by dogs.
8. Ahab is really stressed for his own life and the fact that his whole line is going to be cut off. So he actually repents! Crazy. He actually heeds God’s words. But, when you think about it, wasn’t most of what he did egged on by Jezebel? I’m not saying that he’s a sympathetic character here. I’m just saying that he might have finally seen the true nature of the consequences of always following the elbowing in the ribs of his wife.



d110 How Majestic Your Whispers
August 9, 2007, 2:07 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, ahab, baal, elijah, elisha, god, hazael, jehu, jezebel

Read 1 Kings 19:1-21.

1. Imagine going home to tell your wife what happened on the top of Mt. Carmel, knowing full-well that Jezebel is a big-time Baal-worshipper. Shoot, she’s the one who got Ahab into him.
2. Elijah just put on an amazing show of God’s power. Shoot, he talked smack that would have put Shaq to shame, too. So, isn’t it amazing how scared he is of Jezebel now that “reality” is starting to sink in about the potential consequences of his actions?
3. Dude wanted to die. To die? This is hard to understand. Have you ever been worn out to this point, where you felt like if God decided to take you then and there that you’d be fine with that option?
4. God brought him an angel when he was down. The angel fed him. Fed him so much that it fueled a 40-day journey.
5. Elijah felt lonely, like he was the only one. But, God came to him.
6. Wind, earthquake, fire…no. A whisper, that’s where God chose to make Himself known to Elijah. Why do you think He chose a whisper?
7. Elijah covered himself up after the whisper. Why?
8. God basically tell Elijah that He’s going to clean house through more players, so he won’t be alone: Hazael will be king of Syria, Jehu king of Israel, and Elisha a new prophet. And, with this dynamic in place, all of the Baal worshippers will be vanquished.
9. Elisha is covered with Elijah’s cloak (a sign of a passing of responsibility). Then Elisha takes his former life and sacrifices it to God. Sounds kind of what Christ-followers need to do.



109 Carmelized Pagans
August 8, 2007, 2:26 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, ahab, asherah, baal, elijah, god, jezebel, obadiah

Read 1 Kings 18:16-46.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* God tells Elijah to go to Ahab, and He will being rain to the land. Ahab summoned a real prophet, Obadiah (this guy was hiding prophets from Jezebel because she was killing them all). Obadiah was supposed to be looking for grass for the king’s livestock, when he saw Elijah. Elijah told to Obadiah to tell Ahab that he’s in town. Obadiah was scared that he’d get killed for letting Elijah come around Ahab. Elijah said he won’t be long in coming to Ahab.]

Ooooooh…I love this story. Maybe my top five in all of the Bible!

1. I love how Ahab thinks that Elijah is the problem. Hmm… Couldn’t be that chick he’s sleeping with, could it?
2. I wonder where Elijah got the number 450 from. That’s a lot of prophets. So…he’s begging for a showdown. Mano a 450 manos.
3. How long do you think it took for this to happen? Do you think that in the mean time of gathering all the prophets Ahab thought long and hard about killing Elijah then and there?
4. You know, it’s easy to pick on the Israelites for worshipping Baal and Asherah. But we worship other gods like Money, Lust, Power, Ego… If God is God, follow Him. Right?
5. Big crowd. No words. What could they say?
6. Interesting that Elijah says that he is the only one of the Lord’s prophets left. What about Obadiah? Is this just a figure of speech meaning, “Hey, it’s just me here.”
7. Anybody wonder if Elijah is doing that whole “putting God to the test” thing here?
8. “What you say is good.” Those “people.” Hmm…good like entertaining or good like this will make it so that we no longer follow a pagan god?
9. Junk talking #1: “since there are so many of you.” He he he…
10. Has Baal ever done this before? I mean, did the prophets really believe that they were going to be able to call down fire from heaven? Had they had meals from ravens?
11. Morning till noon. That’s like six hours. That’s longer than a church service in Mexico (inside joke for the mission trip team). Dancing too.
12. Junk talking #2: “Shout louder!” He he he…
13. #3: “Surely he is a god!” He he he…
14. #4: “Perhaps he is deep in thought!” Chuckle…
15. #5: “or busy…” He he he… Baal is not hear at the moment, but if you leave a message, he’ll be sure to get back to you.
16. #6: “or traveling” He he he…Baal is in the Virgin Islands this weekend. Sorry.
17. #7: “maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So…the prophets of Baal end up trying to create a “holy” snooze alarm for their God. They also cut themselves up…I guess to show how willing they were to do anything for a sleeping god.
18. They went all day. All day. No response. No one answered. No one paid attention. He he he…I think the writer is getting a little sarcastic here too. Love it.
19. Four large jars of water! This is a drought! Is he crazy?
20. Again! Whoah!
21. Again! Nuts! Imagine how they all felt to see this guy doing this during a drought!
22. Boyscout tip #1: water doesn’t help wood burn.
23. I love that this is all about showing that God is God and turning people’s hearts toward Him.
24. And God sent fire. Wow.
25. The people fell on their stomachs and cried out that God is God. Hey, wouldn’t you!
26. There must have been a ton of spectators this day because it wouldn’t be easy to seize 450 men, no matter how cut up and tired they were.
27. Elijah had them all killed. Wow.
28. Then Elijah says rain is coming. And, although the “fire”works was something. This was what they really needed. And apparently Ahab was now a believer because he went and ate.
29. Elijah prayed. Then he sends his dude to check the weather report. And a cloud is coming.
30. Then Elijah does his Reggie Bush impersonation and jets down the mountain and beats a chariot to Jezreel. Crazy.

Dude…good times.



d108 That’s So Raven

Read 1 Kings 17:1-24.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Jeroboam got paranoid because he didn’t have a temple where was staying near Bethel, so he made two golden calves, shrines, and high places.

* Some guy from Judah came and prophesied that a man named Josiah would have all the false priests of Bethel killed over the altar. To show His power, God made it so that Jeroboam’s hand shriveled up; and the altar split in two. After the prophet from Judah left (because he said God told him that he couldn’t stop to eat), an old prophet who lived in Bethel went to track him down. This old prophet lied to him by telling him that God had told him to take him home and feed him. Then God was going to punish the prophet for eating when he wasn’t supposed to; He did by having a lion eat him. When the old prophet realized what had happened, he realized that this guy was a real prophet and that all that he said about the altar at Bethel was going to really happen. Even so, Jeroboam didn’t change.

* Abijah, Jeroboam’s son got sick. Jeroboam sent his wife in disguise to Ahijah, the prophet, to find out what would happen to his son. Ahijah told him that, because of his unfaithfulness to God, he will lose everyone of his heirs, including his sick boy. Also, Jeroboam’s going to lose the throne. He reigned for 22 years, died, and his son Nadab took over.

* In the meantime, in Judah, Rehoboam was king for 17 years. His mother was an Ammonite woman named Naamah. They, too, set up high places, sacred stones, Asherah poles, and male shrine prostitutes. In year five of his reign, Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Jerusalem and took all the treasures of the temple and the royal palace. Rehoboam and Jeroboam were constantly at war with one another. Abijah (this would be David’s great-grandson), Rehoboam’s son, succeeded him as king. (Yes, both kings had sons named Abijah…weird!)

* OK, so while Jeroboam was still king of Israel, Abijah became king of Judah. He only reigned for three years. He was also wicked; but, for David’s sake, he did end up having an heir to succeed him as king. He also had war with Jeroboam throughout his lifetime. His son, Asa (David’s great-great grandson), became the king after him.

* Asa was king for 41 years. He was a good guy. He cleaned out all of the male shrine prostitutes and got rid of all his father’s idols. He even got rid of his pagan grandmother. He never got around to getting rid of the high places but was still considered a committed guy. He also brought treasure back into the Temple. He had war with Israel (and their king Baasha) his whole life. Baasha actually circled the city of Asa, to make it impossible for anyone to leave or enter. Asa bribed the king of Aram to get Baasha away from him. It says that Asa died of a foot disease and his son, Jehoshaphat, succeeded him.

* OK, rewind to Israel. So, Nadab was the son of Jeroboam and king of Israel. He only reigned for two years, and it was an evil reign. Baasha became king by killing Nadab. He went on to kill Jeroboam’s whole family (according to the prophecy of Ahijah). Baasha reigned 24 years, and it was an evil reign. A prophet named Jehu prophesied that Baasha’s family will suffer the same fate as Jeroboam’s. Baasha’s son, Elah, succeeded him as king.

* Elah only reigned as king of Israel for 2 years. One of his officials, Zimri, killed him while he was drunk and succeeded him as king. He killed off Baasha’s whole family (to fulfill the prophecy of Jehu). Zimri reigned for seven days because Omri was declared king and laid seige to the town he was in. Zimri saw he was cornered and laid the whole place on fire, killing himself.

* Then Israel had two factions: 1) supporters of Tibni and 2) supporters of Omri. Omri’s supporters killed Tibni. Omri became king. He reigned 12 years, and he was more evil than any of the kings for before him (idols). When he died, Ahab, his son succeeded him as king.

* Ahab reigned over Israel for 22 years. And, as far as evil went, he took the cake. Ahab married Jezebel (a Baal-worshipping princes of Sidon), and he began to worship Baal too by setting up altars and temples. He also worshipped Asherah.

* Randomly, we also find out that someone had to lose two of his sons in order to rebuild Jericho.]

OK, so can you tell that the times are a little bit tumultuous?

1. Elijah is hitting Ahab where it hurts. Baal is supposed to be the god of rain and fertility. If God made a drought happen, that would be a direct insult to Baal.
2. Interesting command from God. Eat from a brook. Let ravens feed you. Do you think they squished up the food in their beaks too? I guess this is all to prove that God is more powerful than Baal.
3. Again, God gives a command. This time it’s to get food from a widow? Um…back then, widow’s didn’t have much food. Then again, when you get fed by ravens, you listen to God.
4. In a way it sounds like Elijah’s being demanding of this poor old widow; but, then again, isn’t he asking on faith that God is going to provide like He said He was going to provide?
5. It’s sad that she’s about to make her last meal. I guess it’s a God-thing that Elijah showed up right before this last supper.
6. Only until Elijah is there does God tell Elijah that He is going to multiply this grain and oil. He had to go first.
7. In the process of following God, Elijah was able to show a widow in the middle of Baal-country how powerful I AM is.
8. Then the boy dies. The widow thinks that it is because of her own sin. Interesting.
9. This must have been a strange picture: a grown man stretching himself on top of a boy three times. But, it works. Talk about seeing God’s power!
10. And a Baal-worshiper was converted.

I know that was a lot…any thoughts?



d107 Nothing’s Fine, I’m Torn
August 6, 2007, 4:59 pm
Filed under: 1 kings, god, hadad, jeroboam, rehoboam, rezon, solomon

Read 1 Kings 12:1-24.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* We learn that Solomon was one rich dude.

* We learn that Solomon liked women…foreign women…forbidden women (try 700 wives and 300 concubines). It says that these women turned his heart away from God. Oh oh… He also built places to worship other gods…uh oh.

* Because Solomon turned away, God promised to tear the kingdom from him (but, because of David’s faith, He wouldn’t do it during his lifetime and would also let the Solomon’s son have the throne in one tribe). Bottom line. This ain’t good.

* Then it says that God raised up adversaries for Israel. One was a guy named Hadad, whose entire family was destroyed by David and Joab’s army. He fled and ended up being raised in Egypt. Now that those two were dead, Hadad was thinking it was time to come home. Rezon, the king of Damascus, also wreaked havok during Solomon’s reign.

* But the big rival of Solomon was one of his own servants, Jeroboam. The reason he was a threat was because a prophet had told him that he was going to take and rule over ten of the twelve tribes of Israel. He escaped to live in Egypt until after Solomon died. And, eventually, Solomon died; and his son, Rehoboam took over as king.]

So…things just went from awesome to really bad. Let’s not forget the cause…Solomon chose the gods of his women over the God of his father…

1. Uh oh…the body isn’t even cold yet and Jeroboam is seeking to take the kingdom from Rehoboam. Not good…
2. The people take the opportunity to complain about how hard Solomon made them work. They basically say, “Lighten the load, and we’ll serve you.” Let’s see if Rehoboam is as wise as his dad when it comes to labor disputes.
3. The old school guys told him to lighten up, because then he could win the people over. But, Rehoboam decides to ignore that advice. Instead, he decides to go with advice of his homies. Uh oh…
4. And who was the genius who came up with the statement that his pinkie finger was thicker than his daddy’s thighs? Weird.
5. So…basically, Rehoboam makes the people hate him. Then again, this is what God had pre-ordained through that prophet who talked to Jeroboam. Uh oh… Then again, God is in control…
6. So basically the people leave “the nation of Israel.” They decide that life is better on their own. When Rehoboam tries to lay the smack down by sending his leader over forced-labor, they stone him to death. So…he does what any thinking man would do…he high-tails it out of Jerusalem.
7. And just like that, the people chose Jeroboam to be king. He was basically the default choice.
8. Thankfully, instead of starting a civil war, Rehoboam listens to God and doesn’t try to “take the power back.”

Questions…

What do you think of…

Solomon’s life?
Jeroboam’s rise to power?
Rehoboam’s loss of power?
God’s “behavior” during this time?