ripple effect: vacaville

d212 72 Is a Magic Number
December 3, 2007, 4:20 pm
Filed under: abraham, david, esther, god, jesus, job, luke, moses, satan

Read Luke 10:1-24.

1. Thirty-six pairs went out as workers. Do you think there was any significance in the number? I mean, 12 was always a good number. And three was too. So…twelve times three with two together. Hmm…seventy-two is a magic number.
2. Interestingly, Jesus is telling these 72 workers to pray for more “workers.” What is the “harvest”?
3. Who would send a lamb into a den of wolves? Hmm…following Christ is definitely risky.
4. Why not bring any supplies? Why not say “whassup” to people you saw on the road? Is Jesus trying to emphasize something here? Urgency? Focus?
5. So…stay where you are welcome. Don’t stay where you are not. Pretty clear. The idea, also, is that they would take whatever was provided for them. This is where that “the worker deserves his wages” comes from. What is the “work” that’s being done?
6. Why do you think it was important to stay in the same house?
7. “Eat whatever is set before you.” No problem.
8. They were to heal the sick and preach about the coming kingdom of God. What does the “kingdom of God is near you” mean?
9. Whew…wouldn’t want to be the town that wasn’t welcoming. Let’s do remember that Sodom that was destroyed, and that would be more enjoyable?
10. Uh oh…and then we get this list of places that rejected Jesus: Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Jesus says that the pagan towns of Tyre and Sidon would have repented at the coming of Jesus, but they didn’t flinch. Uh oh…
11. It’s crazy to think that a follower of Jesus is like Jesus Himself in the regard that, if a person rejects him or her, they are also rejecting Jesus. And, if anyone rejects the actual call of Jesus directly to them…even worse, that’s like rejecting God Himself. I guess that’s why those towns had it so bad. They heard Jesus firsthand and didn’t respond.
12. I’d be stoked if I was casting out demons.
13. Jesus saw Satan falling from heaven because this new force was on earth, a force of people empowered by God to change the world. Awesome.
14. These guys were apparently impervious to poison (unless I’m being to literal here). God made it so that they could go around without fear of being “bitten.” I guess this is why there are those crazy snake-handling churches. I guess they think that they also have this same authority. That brings up an interesting question, though. Is that authority that God gave those 72 available to us today?
15. Jesus also reminds them to get over themselves. They should be thankful that they are going to be able to go to heaven. Christians do have a hard time getting over themselves sometimes (including me).
16. Jesus is full of joy because these guys are getting it done in His name. He is happy that these “little children” (maybe uneducated Jews) were changing the world.
17. It’s amazing to know that it is even a miracle to be able to recognize WHO Jesus is. And I still think that we don’t know God like Jesus does.
18. No doubt they were blessed. I feel blessed to read this. And I know people like Abraham, Moses, Job, Esther, and David would have died to see this happening!


d131 Happily Ever After?
August 30, 2007, 10:20 am
Filed under: bildad, eliphaz, god, jemimah, job, keren-happuch, keziah, zophar

Read Job 42:1-17.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* God gives Job a whole lot more questions that He knows he can’t answer. Finally Job says he’ll stay quiet. God challenges Job even more just to bring home His point.]

1. Job basically says that he knows God can do anything, and he’s the guy who’s talking without knowledge here. So far, a humble confession.
2. Job says that he feels dumb because, before all he knew about God was what was told to him; but, now that he has seen God, he feels really dumb for questioning him like he did. Is there a difference between questioning God and wondering what He’s up to?
3. Job’s friends aren’t spared from God’s anger. Not only that, they are supposed to make sacrifices for Job to bless them. In other words, Job wasn’t completely right; but he was a whole lot more right than you quacks!
4. He got twice what he once had back. Amazing. That’s cool for donkeys and camels, but do you still feel bad that his original kids died?
5. All of Job’s family rallied around him. That’s nice.
6. Job went on to have three beautiful daughters (I guess the other three weren’t that great?). And one, the kids of Keziah and Keren-happuch had an Aunt Jemimah. She made really nice syrup. It’s interesting that it says that Job gave his daugters the same inheritance as her brothers. This was totally against the culture of the time. Why do you think he did that?
7. I like Job.

d130 God Talks Back
August 29, 2007, 11:07 am
Filed under: bildad, elihu, eliphaz, god, job, zophar

Read Job 38:1-41.

[What we’re skipping:

We’re skipping 36 chapters of discussion between Job and his friends:

* Job curses the day he was born. Eliphaz explains his theory that innocent people all prosper (so…apparently Job must have done something to tick God off). Job says that he didn’t do anything wrong, so he feels justified in complaining to God. He feels as if his life has no hope. Bildad tells Job that he should repent from whatever sin caused this. Job explains that there is no one to work any of this out with…where is God? Zophar tells him that he deserves even worse than what he got. Job says that God is the one who is causing this…not him. But he says that he will still hope in God because, shoot, everyone dies. Then Eliphaz says that Job doesn’t fear God. Job then tells him and the other two friends that they are pretty lousy friends. Job feels hopeless. Bildad says that God punishes the wicked. Job says that the One who can redeem him from all of this is alive. Zophar explains that wicked people suffer. Job says that all wicked people DO NOT suffer; some actually prosper. Eliphaz continues to say that Job must have done something wrong. Job asks where God is right then and there? Bildad says that it’s impossible for a man to be righteous. Job says that God’s ways are too difficult to understand, but he will still maintain his integrity. Job tries to figure out where to find the wisdom to deal with all of this because he thinks that he didn’t do anything wrong, still. So…he appeals to God.

* Then Elihu, a younger guy, had had enough of these old guys’ theories; and he told them that they were wrong to be harassing Job with stupid theories. Also, he rebuked Job for trying to justify himself. He reiterates that God is just…bottom line. He says that Job is not as holy as he thinks he is if he is so preoccupied with making himself look good. Elihu talks about how great God is. And then…]

God talks. All of these chapters upon chapters of man’s theories, and finally God talks.

1. God is talking out of a whirlwind. Wow.
2. God first says, who is trying to darken the light of knowledge with stupid theories. Bow up because I’m about to ask YOU some questions. Uh oh…
3. I’m just going to answer God’s impossible questions as best as I can from Job’s perspective: a) I wasn’t even an idea yet, b) um…I don’t know, c) don’t know, d) don’t know times two.
4. It’s cool to see that the “morning stars,” the angels, sang for the joy at the work of God’s hands (like that song, Shout to the Lord).
5. Again, don’t know who did all that with the ocean.
6. Nope…haven’t commanded the morning or the dawn. Have not done that thing with the sea…and I definitely don’t know how to see the gates of death. Also, don’t know the expanse of the earth.
7. You know…I have a sneaky suspicion that God is trying to prove a point by asking all these questions.
8. Don’t know how to control light and darkness.
9. Whoah! In verse 21, God is definitely being sarcastic!
10. Don’t control snow or hail or light or wind or rain or thunder or dew or ice or the constellations.
11. And I don’t know how to create intelligence. I also don’t know how to hunt for lions or ravens.

OK…so I’m thinking that there is a reason that God asks all these questions.

First of all…He doesn’t answer any questions from Job or his homies. What do you think of that?

Second of all…what do you think of him railing Job with these impossible to answer questions? I mean, I don’t know the answer. But I would say that most of the real answers would be: “you did it” or “you can.”

So…what are you thinking right now?

d129 “Do Your Worst!”
August 28, 2007, 4:24 pm
Filed under: bildad, eliphaz, god, job, satan, zophar

Read Job 2:1-13.

1. Yeah…so the next part begins just like the last part. Must be some kind of literary device…parallelism?
2. “He still holds fast to his integrity.” Cool. Don’t you wish God would say that about you?
3. So…Satan thinks that if God allows him to mess around with Job’s body that he’ll buckle. Interesting theory…
4. God doesn’t want him to die, but he tells Satan to do his worst.
5. Hmm…I bet these loathsome sores were not cool at all. Now, I know that when I had chicken pox when I was a kid that my mom told me not to scratch. This hurt so bad that Job swipes a piece of pottery to scratch with. Man…that had to hurt!
6. I joke around a lot and talk about when wives don’t support their husbands–I call them “curse God and die” moments. Boy, that Job’s wife. She sure does have a lot of faith, doesn’t she?
7. Man…I am so surprised at Job’s level-headedness. Should we only expect “good” things from God?
8. So then his three buddies show up: Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. It’s nice that they originally came to comfort their friend. Good guys…
9. Imagine how jacked up Job must have been! His own friends didn’t even recognize him!
10. Wow…they sat for seven whole days without saying a word. You know…sometimes, you don’t have to say anything…they’re going to get into real trouble once they start talking.

128 About as Depressing as a Country-Western Song
August 27, 2007, 12:14 pm
Filed under: esther, god, haman, job, mordecai, satan, xerxes

Read Job 1:1-22.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* The book of Esther wraps up with Mordecai taking over Haman’s house after Esther explains to Xerxes that he is her cousin. Esther is allowed to reverse the edict to kill the Jews. She actually writes it and the king signs off on it! After the edict had been reversed, people were converting to Judaism.

* The killing actually happened in reverse. On the day that the Jews were supposed to be killed, all those who wanted to have the Jews killed were killed (with support from the government). Even all of Haman’s sons were killed, along with 750,000 people who were against the Jews in the neighboring provinces. The holiday of Purim was inaugurated that day–a day to celebrate when disaster turned to rejoicing. In the end, both Mordecai and Esther were in powerful positions of influence to maintain the welfare of the Jews in Persia.]

And now…Job. This story is written by an unknown author and takes place somewhere around 2000 BC to 500 BC. Yeah, that’s a wide frame of time, but understand that this is a really old story, and it could occur anywhere from the time of Abraham to the time of the judges to the time of the kings to the time of the exile. Anyway, the story is definitely applicable to all who read…

1. So…first thing we learn about Job is that he had good character. Second thing…he had a lot of stuff.
2. It is obvious that Job loves God and loves his family. He blesses all his kids and offers sacrifices to God on their behalf. Good dad.
3. All of a sudden, the story gets zoomed way out to the cosmic level. We get to see an interaction between God and Satan! Whoah. This is rare.
4. From the interchange between God and Satan, we can glean some understanding of the role of Satan in the world. It appears that God has granted Satan permission to go “to and fro” on the earth. Also, it seems obvious that Satan is ultimately subject to God’s authority. What’s interesting, though, is that God “brags on” Job here. He seems like a proud Father, wanting to show off how cool his son is to Satan.
5. Satan doesn’t mess around. And it’s obvious that he doesn’t appreciate God’s way of doing things. He’s angry because Job is blessed. And he thinks that if that is taken away, Job will stop being so cool. First question: what do you think this “hedge” of protection God gives Job is? Do you think it’s some cosmic thing, or do you think it’s just the fact that Job doesn’t really want for anything?
6. So Satan thinks that Job is going to curse God if things stop going his way. He wouldn’t be the first or the last, would he?
7. God gives him permission to take everything away–just don’t touch him. I’m thinking this was an errand that Satan was looking forward to running.
8. Country song:

“The Sabeans sold mah oxens and donkeys;
Mah servants was hacked to death.
Far fell from heav’n and burned up mah sheep and shepherds;
Chaldeans stole mah camels and killed mah camel-riders;
But worst of all…
All mah chillins were havin’ a party
When a tornader swooped down and killed all of ’em.”

9. I think Hank Williams sang that song. Anyway…look at Job’s response! What would you do? Really, what would you do? Because, Job physically shows signs of mourning and WORSHIPS God!?!? What about you…really?
10. Then Job gets philosophical: born naked…die naked. Everything that is gained in this world is added by God, so when He takes it away, is it really like He’s stealing?
11. “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.” A great song written by Matt Redman and his wife after the events of 9/11. And here it is…the source. Job’s heart chose to worship God anyway…when it didn’t make sense! Wow.
12. And look at the comment. Job didn’t sin. Man.