ripple effect: vacaville

d48 God’s Home on Earth
May 25, 2007, 4:53 pm
Filed under: exodus, god, leviticus, moses

Read Exodus 40:1-38.

[Wow…a lot of skipping again. We’ll probably go into more detail about this after this year; but, for now, here’s a quick scan of what we’re missing:

* God says He will “blot out” the people from His book who sinned against Him. Then He sends a plague on the Israelites.
* God commanded the people to go from Mt. Sinai to the Promised Land. He told them He wasn’t going to lead them anymore (in a pillar) because if He did, He’d probably kill them for how “stiff-necked” they are. The people were sad and took off their jewelry as a sign of mourning.
* Moses set up a “tent of meeting,” where he would speak with God “as a man speaks to his friend.”
* Moses tells God that he doesn’t want to move on without God’s presence, and he asks to see God’s glory as a sign that He is with him. God tells Moses to look away; and, as he does, God’s glory passes by Moses.
* God gets Moses to bring up some new tablets to put the 10 commandments on.
* God renewed His covenant with Moses…the essense of it: follow God and it will go well when they settle in Canaan. Don’t, and all bets are off.
* Moses spent so much time with God that his face shone.
* More instructions from God regarding Sabbath regulations.
* They gather money to build the tabernacle (where God will dwell and be worshipped) and build the tabernacle and all the equipment.]

Alrighty then…
1. God explains how the tabernacle is to be set up. Every bit of what the priests would do in this tabernacle is symbolic about how to approach God (and later on, how Jesus made a way for us to approach God). Isn’t it amazing, though, how orderly everything was? Why do you think God created such a specific order?
2. So…anointing is a way to make something holy. Notice that Aaron and his sons also had to be washed with water (purified) before they were made holy. Isn’t it interesting that Aaron was given such a huge role after the cow incident?
3. Moses followed God in all the instructions. You have to appreciate Moses’ meticulous attention to God’s details.
4. Then the glory of the Lord appeared over the tabernacle. Pretty cool stuff. Check out the picture for reference here; but, basically, God had three things put in the ark (box): Joseph’s bones, the jar of manna, and the tablets containing the ten commandments. Over the box were the cherubim (angels) and in the middle was a little bowl (the mercy seat). This is where the high priest would bring in the sacrifices of Israel and the blood would drip down. That “room” was sealed off with a curtain, and then there were all those “stations” set up that you had to go through in order to even make it into the presence of God. Anyway, on this day, it “lit up” with the presence of God. And, from that time on, whenever God’s cloudy or firey presence moved, they new it was time to pack up and go. Complicated, but beautiful.

Pat yourself on the back. You’re done with Exodus. Tomorrow, we’ll start in Numbers. Since Leviticus is all an elaboration on the laws and regulations that God taught Moses on Mt. Sinai, we’re going to skip over that in the interest of time. I hope you don’t mind.


d47 Holy Cow!?!?
May 24, 2007, 3:58 pm
Filed under: aaron, exodus, god, moses

Read Exodus 32:1-29.

[We are skipping a lot of stuff. Most of it is from the set of instructions that God gave Moses on the top of Mt. Sinai. All important stuff, but things that we might take a closer look at in subsequent years:

* Laws about altars.
* Laws about slaves.
* Laws about restitution.
* Laws about social justice.
* Laws about the Sabbath and festivals.

* God confirms His covenant with Moses and the nation of Israel.
* Moses takes a collection to be used for the making of a sanctuary.
* God instructs the nation of Israel how to make: “the ark of the covenant,” the table for bread, the golden lampstand, the tabernacle itself, the bronze altar, and the court of the tabernacle.
* Also, it instructs how to supply: oil for the lamp and priests’ garments.
* There’s a section on how to ordain and consecrate priests.
* There are more commands concerning: the altar of incense, the bronze basin, the census tax, and the anointing oil and incense.
* God appoints artists, craftsmen, and priests.
* And there’s another reminder about the importance of keeping the Sabbath.]


Even though there are a couple of chapters in between, we’re still in real-time because all those things were things that God taught Moses on the top of Mt. Sinai (oh…and while we’re at it…this is also the time that people believe God taught Moses all the things to record in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).

1. Moses took awhile. The people freaked. They weren’t patient. They needed something certain to follow. Uh oh… What do you think about the people here? Can you blame them?
2. Check out Aaron taking the lead here. Does this seem like priestly behavior?
3. I can understand human nature in so many parts of the Bible: why this dude had sex with that girl, why that guy got mad and did something dumb, why that guy was scared…but I can never understand why these guys thought that a gold cow was the God in the cloud, the fire, the manna, the everything…maybe He is that God who’s up on that mountain in the smoke? Anyway…no comment on these guys. They just drive me nuts.
4. Aaron’s a tool.
5. Wow…how about an inside look at the heart of God. God is so fuming mad at the people that He tells Moses to duck because He’s about to smoke them all and make a new nation for Moses! Why do you think God is so angry?
6. Whoah! OK…controversy…can man change God’s mind? It appears that Moses convinces God to lay off. He says that it would look bad to the Egyptians. He also reminds Him of the promises He made to Abraham. Either way, God backs off. Did God change His mind because of Moses? Or is there something we’re not seeing here?
7. “The writing of God.” I wonder what that looked like.
8. Was Joshua with Moses the whole time?
9. OK…how would you like Moses to be your pastor? He made the people take the gold calf, grind it into powder, and made the people drink it! Whoah! That’s a lot worse that getting your mouth washed out with soap.
10. Boy, Aaron blew it. And all he could come up with was “They made me do it.”
11. So…here’s where it gets really wild. Moses asks, “Who’s with me?” And the descendants of Levi say, “We are.” And he says, “Prove it.” So they go and kill everyone who is close to them. I’m not kidding here. After killing 3,000 people, Moses says, “OK, you’re priests now.” Why do you think the Levites had to do what they did?

d46 Pre-Letterman Top 10
May 23, 2007, 4:10 pm
Filed under: exodus, god, moses

Read Exodus 20:1-22.

Because I’m about to go into a conference, let’s just focus on the ten commandments themselves. If you have any other observations, let me know.

1. No gods before God. I don’t think there are really other “gods,” so what do you think God means here?
2. No bowing down to images…notice why…it says that God is a “jealous” God. Now, before we get confused–there is a big difference between “envious” and “jealous.” Envy is when you want something someone else has. Jealousy is when you want to keep what you already have all for yourself. How does this make sense for God to be jealous?
3. What does it mean to take God’s name in vain? Does “Oh my God!” count? Does, “God, this sucks!” count? Does “Jesus, get off my back?” count? What does “vain” mean?
4. Honor the Sabbath. This one’s the hardest for me because the main part of my job is on Sunday. I have to find another day. Do you think that you could function if you actually took a day off each week? If no, does that mean that you might be too busy?
5. Honor mom and dad. Notice this one has a promise…life will be a whole lot better. What does “honor” mean?
6. Don’t murder. What do you think that entails?
7. Don’t commit adultery? What does “adultery” mean to God?
8. Dont steal. Does that include “ripping” and buying “pirated” stuff? Does it include lying about your birthday to get a free desert?
9. Bearing false witness against your neighbor. Does that mean lying in general or just lying about other people, like making up stories?
10. Don’t covet your neighbor’s stuff. Don’t want what others have. Why?

Alright, like I said, I’m in a hurry today. So I’ve got to go…

d45 He’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain
May 22, 2007, 5:25 pm
Filed under: aaron, exodus, god, joshua, moses

Read Exodus 19:1-25.

Questions, questions, questions…somehow I’ve been stuck in summarizing mode.

1. God was on top of a mountain?
2. How about God using poetry…He says that He brought the people out “on eagle’s wings.” A cool picture from a poetic God.
3. So, here’s the deal: obey God and Israel will be a treasured possession (a kingdom of priests). Is that deal still in place for us today? How so?
4. Moses coming down from the mountain reminds me of a youth retreat. Moses tells them what God said, and all the people say, “Sure, we’ll do that.” Why is it so easy to SAY we are going to follow God as opposed to DOING it?
5. God says He is going to let the people hear for themselves by coming in a thick cloud. Do we crave for God to be more visible?
6. The people have to make themselves ready for God coming. Why do you think that is? Do we have to do the same to approach God now?
7. Sign at Mt. Sinai: “Staff off mountain!” Why do you think God made the consequences so harsh for someone who touched the mountain when He came down?
8. “Do not go near a woman”? Hmm…apparently God didn’t want the people to be having sex on the third day. Why do you think God wanted the men to stay away from the women?
9. Who’s blowing the trumpet?
10. OK…imagine being Moses, climbing up this thundering, smokey mountain by yourself. Whoah!
11. God wants to make sure that Moses secures the perimeter. No one besides Moses and Aaron are allowed to come up. Why? (the answer is there…so this isn’t a guess)

d44 Jethro’s Advice
May 21, 2007, 6:22 pm
Filed under: exodus, jethro, moses

Read Exodus 18:1-27.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Cool story about Israel kicking butt against a king named Amalek. Basically, Joshua (a young soldier…will be famous later) when out and led the Israelites against the Amalekites. Moses went up on a mountain and raised his staff. Every time the staff was in the air, the Israelites were winning the battle…so they came up with some funny ways to keep Moses’ staff in the air.]

1. Interesting to think of Moses’ family in all of this. His father-in-law had taken in Zipporah and his two sons. Then Jethro came up to meet him in the wilderness. Imagine being Jethro, coming in after the fact, and hearing about all that God had done! He throws a worship service!
2. Wow…Jethro comes in and tells Moses that he needs to work on his delegation skills. In other words, it’s nice that God talks to Moses directly, but there is no possible way that he could meet everyone’s needs all the time. Jethro comes up with the idea to appoint trustworthy people in positions to help with the burden of meeting people’s needs. I know that, as a youth pastor, I sometimes want to be everything to everyone; but, as Jethro said, that ain’t good. That’s why I’m so thankful for all the volunteers in the youth ministry who are helping to meet the needs of everyone. Believe me, if it was just me, I’d be too worn out to help anyone (like Moses). God uses people. Amen for that.
4. Ultimately, including other people in your plans involves trust. Yeah, God spoke directly to Moses; but he had to trust that the people who were helping him out were sincere about trying to do the right thing. Involving other people involves trusting what God is doing in people. That’s cool that Jethro had the guts to give Moses some fatherly advice.

d43 Manna, Manna, Manna…
May 20, 2007, 10:43 pm
Filed under: exodus, god, moses

Go back and read Exodus 16:1-36.

New perspective on The Lord’s Prayer…brought to you by the Israelites in the wilderness…

1. OK…so after a couple of weeks the food runs out. What do you think the Israelites did? If you said, “Grumbled” you get a gold star. That’s what they did. OK…let me defend the Israelites for a second here. They might not be stupid. They have been told what to do and where to do it their whole lives. Maybe they just weren’t used to being free and making adult decisions yet? Oh…and I love how they were thinking back nostalgically about living in Egypt…AS SLAVES!
2. God told Moses that He was going to rain down bread from heaven. How cool is that?
3. He also said that He was going to see how well the Israelites listen. Yeah…good luck. The rule is that the Israelites need to get an amount of bread everyday, but on the sixth day they are to gather twice as much because the seventh day is for rest. Make sense…let’s see how they do.
4. Wow…pre-mission trip pep talk (or even just life in general). When you complain about the way things are going, a lot of the time you are complaing against God. Good point, Moses.
5. God came down in a cloud and told them that they are getting meat at night and bread in the morning. Yes…meat.
6. I have quail in my yard. That must have been a lot of quail because they are not big!
7. “What is it” in Hebrew is “manna.” So…they ate bread named “huh?” Frosted flakes.
8. They were supposed to follow the rules. Instead, they tried to hoard the bread (maybe because they didn’t trust God to bring more the next morning?). Then the food got rotten.
9. OK…so…the bread stinks during the week; but, on the Sabbath, the bread stayed fresh. Yes…God suspended the laws of chemistry in order to make this work. God is big.
10. Some people didn’t listen again! This time they didn’t save food. Hmm…can we say dense?
11. God wanted to keep an omer of manna in a jar for all the generations to see. Of course, it didn’t decompose (like a McDonald’s french fry).
12. They ate manna for 40 years! Nothing but manna! Would you forget that it was a miracle?

So…I’ve thought about this before. We pray, “Give us this day our DAILY bread.” This part about manna reminds me of a couple of things:

1. We need to seek God daily…He provides daily…but we need to “gather” what He has for us daily.
2. You can’t smush a bunch of days worth of “bread” together into one day. It doesn’t work. And God doesn’t want that. We have to seek God daily– be fed daily.

d42 Water World
May 19, 2007, 10:21 pm
Filed under: exodus, god, moses

Read Exodus 15:22-27 and 17:1-7.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Moses sings a praise song. Cool…I didn’t know Moses sang!

* Miriam, Moses’ sister, joins in on the tambourine and dances. She has a song too. Good times.]

1. Three days in the desert with no water. I would need some high quality H20. The waters of Marah were bitter. So, the people grumbled. Where does grumbling about stuff really get you? (If it was me in charge and not Moses, it might have got them kicked in the face.)
2. Anyway, Moses intercedes again on their behalf to God, and God said to throw a log (or tree) in the water to make it sweet. Who knew? God made a natural water softener / sweetener.
3. God then tells them to trust Him, and if they follow Him He’ll keep them healthy. He refers to Himself as a healer. Then, He leads them to even more water (minus the trees and logs).

[More skipping…

* I guess the reading plan I chose decided that these two stories went well together. Anyway, this in between story will actually be for tomorrow. So don’t fret.]

4. Did we really think good things were going to happen in a place called “the wilderness of Sin”?
5. Again, the people grumbles to Moses. Moses tried to tell them to shut up, but they kept at it. Do we blame Moses for getting annoyed with these people?
6. Moses is then told to strike a rock, so water will come out of it. He did, and it does. Cool.