ripple effect: vacaville

d30 Jacob’s Blessings
May 7, 2007, 9:46 pm
Filed under: asher, benjamin, dan, gad, genesis, issachar, jacob, joseph, judah, levi, naphtali, reuben, simeon, zebulun

Read Genesis 49:1-33

[Back to skipping some stuff…

*Joseph brings his family to Egypt.

*Jacob and Joseph are reunited.

*Jacob’s family settles is Goshen.

*Joseph makes Egypt very wealthy during the famine.

*Jacob ends up giving Joseph a double-blessing by blessing each of his two songs, Ephraim and Manasseh.]

OK…so here we go with the blessings of Jacob’s sons:

1. Reuben gets a weak blessing because he decided to have sex with one of his dad’s women. Big no no.
2. Simeon and Levi get a weak blessing because they retaliated against the men of Schechem when their sister was raped.
3. Judah gets the awesome blessing. The “lion” comes up here. Jesus is later referred to as “the lion of Judah.” Lion’s are king of the jungle. Um…and it also says that rulers will come out of Judah’s descendents. Yeah…later on, that’ll be David…and even later on…that’ll be Jesus. Do you think Judah “deserved” this blessing?
4. Zebulun’s people are sea-people. Cool…the pirates of Zebulun!
5. Issachar’s people will be in forced labor? Um…I don’t consider that a blessing!
6. I don’t get Dan’s blessing. He will be a viper and bite the heels of horses? Then it says that he will wait for God’s salvation? What’s up with that?
7. Gad would have liked Oakland because it seems that he will be a “raider” nation.
8. Asher’s people will have good food. Yesssss!
9. Naphatali’s descendents will apparently be good looking?
10. Joseph gets a cool blessing. It’s like he was hit at with arrows, but he always stood firm. It says that he will have blessings that surpass his father’s. I like that Joseph gets a lot of good in the end.
11. Benjamin is a wolf? Hmm…

Yeah…so…what do you think about these blessings? Rank who you think got the best/worst deals.


d29 Family Reunion
May 6, 2007, 9:24 pm
Filed under: benjamin, genesis, god, joseph

Read Genesis 45:1-28

And more of Joseph…

1. Joseph clears all the Egyptians out of the room before he tells his brothers his identity. But he cried really loudly… Wouldn’t you?
2. He asks them about his dad, but they are all dumbstruck and can’t answer. Yeah, I’d be too.
3. Joseph refuses to be a slave to bitterness. He lets his anger towards his brothers go and tells them not to hate themselves for what they had done. Would you have had the strength to do that?
4. Then he tells them that God used all of it for good–to save lives. That’s perspective! He goes so far as to say that God put him in the position that he was in. What a unique perspective. Are you comfortable doing that in your life? I think of the things that blatantly seem like other people’s fault: my dad leaving when I was three and old friends betraying my trust–and I think I could so easily blame my dad or my friend for the fallout of those things. But Joseph would say that God caused my father to leave for good. Wow. Maybe it’s so I can understand the value of being a father. Maybe it’s so I can minister to teenagers (especially young guys) who are in the same boat as me. Wow. I guess Joseph’s perspective opens so much up. What do you guys think about all of that? Do you have things in your life that just seem like they were “hard luck” or “for no reason”? Could there be a reason?
5. So…Joseph tells the guys to go get his dad, so they can live in Goshen (a part of Egypt) for the next 5 hard years. His impulse is to take care of his family.
6. Then he hugs and kisses and talk to ALL of his brothers. Wow. Can you imagine?
7. Pharaoh hears about the family reunion and says he will hook up Joseph’s entire family. Extreme Home Makeover: Egyptian Edition.
8. Joseph gave Benjamin more than his other brothers. At this point, what do you think about that?
9. Check out Jacob’s reaction: his heart went “numb.” What does that mean? Does he faint? Anyway, he obviously is very excited about seeing Joseph.

So…can you comprehend the level of forgiveness that Joseph gives to his brothers?
Why doesn’t he take revenge?

d28 Joseph Tests His Brothers
May 5, 2007, 7:35 pm
Filed under: benjamin, genesis, god, joseph, judah

Read Genesis 44:1-34

More of Joe and his bros…

1. Joseph pulled the ol’ money in the sack trick again, but this time he stuck the fine china in Benjamin’s sack. Why do you think Joseph feels like he has to be deceptive here?
2. So…the steward is sent out to “catch” them on the road with the cup. Weird little detail: Joseph says to tell him that he uses the cup for the practice of “divination” (maybe by seeing how tea leaves land in the cup). That was something they did back in the day to study the will of the gods, like tarot cards. Anyway, it’s kind of weird that this godly guy is behaving in a ungodly way and that he is basically saying that he uses the cup for horoscopes.
3. The brothers spoke too soon (kill the guy you catch with the cup) because Benjamin was set up. It says that the brothers tore their clothes (a sign of great mourning or anguish). Why do you think the brothers were so upset?
4. Joseph messes with their heads a little more, and he basically says that he is going to punish Benjamin. Then Judah steps up to the plate and tells why Benjamin is so special. He also explains why Israel’s heart would be completely broken. Then he asks to be a servant in Benjamin’s place. He steps up to take his punishment. And his motivation seems to be pure– it seems that he is most concerned with breaking his father’s heart.

What do you think about (at this point in the story)…


d27 A Change of Plans
May 4, 2007, 7:35 pm
Filed under: benjamin, genesis, jacob, joseph, judah, simeon

Read Genesis 43:1-34

More from the life of Joseph…

1. So…they run out of food, and Jacob (Israel) tells them to go and get more. Judah explains that they can’t go back without Benjamin. It’s all about the Benjamin.
2. Israel (yeah, they’re calling Jacob Israel now) then says that they basically should have lied and not said that they had brother #12. Think about it, though, what would have happened if they did that?
3. Judah steps up to the plate and pledges for Benjamin’s safety. He might have been in on the plot to get rid of Joseph, but he’s redeeming himself now.
4. Israel tells him to bring a bribe and double the money that they still had.
5. So…Joseph makes a feast for the brothers (because he sees Benjamin). I like what the brothers are scared of…he might “assault us…make us servants…and SEIZE OUR DONKEYS?!?” Random.
6. So..freaked out, they tell the truth about the money. Why is it that we sometimes wait until we are about to fall off a cliff to tell the truth?
7. The steward tells them it must have been a miracle because they got their money the first time. I guess he doesn’t know what Joseph has been up to or is he in on it?
8. So…all the boys are eating (Simeon is free), and they are preparing to butter him up with their gift. Hey, I like pistachios.
9. Bowing to the ground. Sounds familiar.
10. Joseph starts to lose it: he asks about his dad, he sees Benjamin and blesses him, and he goes off and cries. How would you feel if you saw Benjamin grown up, so many years later? Do you think they looked alike?
11. So…Joseph still plays some head games. He won’t eat with them (because Egyptians didn’t eat with Hebrews), and he served Benjamin 5 times as much as the older guys (normally, the oldest would get at least twice as much as the rest…not the youngest!)

So…what do you think about?

The rest of the brothers?

d26 Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt
May 3, 2007, 3:45 pm
Filed under: benjamin, genesis, god, jacob, joseph, simeon

Read Genesis 42:1-38

So now we all of a sudden remember that life went on without Joseph back in Jacob’s house, and we see what they are up to…

1. That’s how widespread the famine is. These guys live in Canaan and they need the food from Egypt too.
2. Notice that Jacob would not send Benjamin. Why do you think he held back Benjamin specifically? (I know the Bible says that harm might happen to him…but that could have happened to any brother…so why Benjamin?)
3. Joseph’s brothers bowed themselves to Joseph. Does this remind you of anything?
4. So…Joseph chooses to be rough with his brothers. What would you have done in this situation?
5. The brothers say they are “honest men.” Again, what do you think Joseph was feeling when they said this.
6. The brothers say that brother number twelve is “no more.” Again, what do you think Joseph was thinking when they said that?
7. Interesting scene here…Joseph says that he wants to see Benjamin, to prove they are not spies. Then the brothers discuss amongst themselves, in Hebrew (thinking that Joseph only spoke Egyptian), about that this is all because of what they did to Joseph back in the day. Reuben busts out a little “I told you so.” Notice who Joseph chooses to imprison. Any guesses on why it was him?
8. Then Joseph sets them up by giving them the grain but also hiding the money in their sacks. Why do you think he did that?
9. Interesting that when these guys are panicking, they finally mention God’s involvement in their life. Things suck…oh, it must be God’s fault! Do you know people who do that…give God the glory…when something goes wrong?
10. What occurs from here out is pretty dramatic. In a cartoon, this is skipped over. Realize that, when Jacob is told of what’s going on, he acknowledges that Joseph is dead and Simeon is as good as dead. He is not wiling to send Benjamin to die too. So…he is willing to accept the fact that Simeon is gone. Whoah.
11. Also notice that Reuben offers two of his own sons to be killed if he can’t bring back Benjamin and Simeon. Wow.

OK…at this point, what do you think about:


d25 Joseph Rises to Power
May 2, 2007, 5:31 pm
Filed under: ephraim, genesis, god, joseph, manasseh, pharaoh

Read Genesis 41:37-57

1. Of course, Joseph would get the gig. He had just proven that God was in him. Did it probably tick off his magicians and “wise” men? Sure. But, by listening to God’s voice, Joseph rose above those guys. Are you confident in the wisdom that comes from God; or, as seems to be the case more and more in this culture, do you think that what God thinks is just another opinion?
2. Signet rings, gold chains, second chariots…awww…brings back freaky memories from Promise Keepers. He he he…inside joke.
3. Quick question: what do you think about the Egyptianizing of Joseph? Pharaoh gave him an Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah and an Egyptian wife (who was the daughter of an Egyptian priest).
4. So…Joseph had two kids with that Egyptian lady: Manassaeh (which means “forget,” like he forgot all the pain of his past) and Ephraim (which means “fruitful,” like he’s being now). These two names will be very important later.
5. Because Joseph had stored up all that grain (and no one else was expecting it), Egypt survived the famine and every other country came to Egypt to get grain during those seven years. Just imagine how powerful they became because of God revealing the meaning of Pharaoh’s dream.

What do you think of hte following in this passage:


d24 Pharaoh’s Dreams
May 1, 2007, 7:04 pm
Filed under: genesis, god, joseph, pharaoh

Read Genesis 41:1-36

OK…so, last time we checked, that cupbearer forgot about Joseph. Sheesh.

1. Weird dreams about 7 ugly things eating 7 healthy things. I used to have a dream that I was on Wheel of Fortune, and I guessed every letter in the alphabet, and none of them worked.
2. Two years. It’s one thing to forget to take out the garbage. The house might stink for a day. But this dude forgot about Joseph and he was stuck in prison for 2 years. Wow. Think of what you were doing two years ago at this time. I was getting ready to marry Mary Kate!
3. In one of the biggest “oops” parts of the Bible, the cupbearer remembers that Hebrew who could interpret dreams. Oops…almost forgot…two years! Dude was in a pit.
4. Joseph gives credit to God for his skillz. Amen.
5. So…God gives Pharaoh a preview for what is going to happen. Obviously, his dream was like a lock that only Joseph could unlock. So God wanted Pharaoh to have Joseph stand before him for this very reason.
6. Joseph tells Pharaoh to put someone in charge of the grain storing process. They will take 1/5 of everything in the seven good years to have enough food for the seven bad years.

For me, this passage reminds me of the need to always be asking God for a “heads up” to the future. As much as I enjoy the victories of today, I’m always trying to think about what God might have in store for the future. And I want to set things up to make the future awesome. Hey…in honor of that. Take some time to pray for the seniors who are going to graduate soon. I’m sure you know of a couple. Then, pray for those 6th graders who are going to be coming into the ministry next year. Also, pray for the 5th graders because they are going to be able to go to the middle school camp at Mt. Hermon.