ripple effect: vacaville

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?


d41 Crossing the Red Sea
May 18, 2007, 9:56 pm
Filed under: exodus, god, moses, pharaoh

Read Exodus 13:7 – 14:31.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* The Israelites leave Egypt after living there for 430 years. Cool picture, it says that all the angels guarded the Israelites as they left.

* God explained that the Passover would be a traditional meal every year.

* God had Moses set aside all the firstborn people and animals for Himself.]

OK…so here we go. Sorry about the delay. The yard sale was a killer!

1. OK…so they weren’t to eat bread with yeast as a reminder that they left Egypt quickly. They didn’t wait for their stomachs- they left because God told them too.
2. I’ll be honest, I’m not too sure about the setting aside of the firstborn to redeem. I know it’s basically following the idea that (if God didn’t spare them) all the firstborn would have died in the 10th plague. So…I get that. And I think there’s something about having a uni-brow. Sweet.
3. God spared the Israelites of going past the Philistines. Good idea. They were big and liked to fight. They might have scared them straight back to Egypt.
4. The Israelites left, ready to fight and with Joseph’s bones.
5. How cool is this: God led the people with a pillar made of clouds in the daytime and a pillar of fire in the nighttime. Could you imagine knowing exactly where God is leading you?
6. God basically tells Moses to back the Israelites into a corner up against the Red Sea. This was to make Pharaoh cocky about it. Wow…Pharaoh had his time in the sun, but God is really going to let him have it now. Do you feel sorry for Pharaoh at all?
7. I talk about the games we play on Sunday night, and you guys always ask, “Well, what the prize?” And I say, “Glory.” In this passage, God does what He does for glory. It must be a big deal!
8. I love Pharaoh…it was like he was drunk when he let them go. All of a sudden, he’s hungover and thinking, “Whoah! Did I just let my workforce leave?”
9. People cried out to God when the Egyptians came a running, but they also complained to Moses. Interesting. Must not have been praise “cries” to God…probably more on the complaining side. What would you have done?
10. Whoah…I love Moses’ speech before the big drama. “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord…the Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Wow… Boy, we could all learn a lot from that kind of faith. Is it hard for you to sometimes “be silent”?
11. Then Moses parted the Red Sea (well, actually God did it). You know the rest. Wow. What else can you say?
12. Yeah…that would get me to believe in God…and Moses.

d40 The Passover
May 17, 2007, 5:02 pm
Filed under: exodus, god, moses, pharaoh

Read Exodus 11:1-10 and 12:29-36.

Today we have kind of weird day. I’ll fill in the blanks; but, as always, you can read it too.

1. God tells Moses that the last plague will to the trick; but first– God had the people collect silver and gold from their neighbors (and they gave it to them!) Again, this was God being in control. God made the people want to give to them. How do you think He did that? (First fundraiser in the Bible.)
2. Moses tells Pharaoh about the killing of the firstborn. Remember, this was because God considered the nation of Israel HIS firstborn, and this is His way of communicating what happens when you mess with God’s firstborn. Wow, the Bible says we serve a jealous God. Sounds like it!
3. Look how mad Moses had gotten! Then again, doesn’t it take confidence to get that mad in front of Pharaoh. Maybe he trusts what God is doing in him more now?

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* God reveals to Moses how Passover is supposed to be observed. Raise and kill a lamb according to specific guidelines. Spread its blood on the doorframes of your house. Roast the lamb with bitter herbs, and eat it with bread made without yeast. Eat as if you are prepared to travel: cloak tucked in, sandals on, staff in hand. The blood would be a sign to God on this first Passover that believers are in the home, and the plague would not affect them.

*God commands the Israelites to commemorate this for generations to come. They are not to eat bread made with yeast for a week. This is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

*Moses calls all the leaders to pick their lambs and do as God commanded. They worshipped God and followed Moses and Aaron.]

4. The plague of the firstborn. I always wondered about this one. Do you think there was an age-limit on who died? Like maybe all firstborn below the age of 18? I don’t know. It just seems that a lot of people would have died if it was everyone who was a firstborn.
5. Pharaoh lets Moses got that night (usually they met in the morning). And he tells him to leave and also asks for Moses’ blessing. Wow. I guess that means his hard heart has finally melted.
6. So it was time for the Israelites to leave. They took their dough, clothing, and money and headed out. Because God let the people have good hearts towards the leaving Israelites, the Hebrews had basically plundered the Egyptians. Hooray for Old Testament fundraisers!

d39 Mo’ Plagues
May 16, 2007, 5:18 pm
Filed under: exodus, god, moses, pharaoh

Read Exodus 9:8 – 10:29.

1. So…this one’s kind of like a magic trick. Toss soot in the air, and everyone’s got boils! Weird. Even the animals. Even the salukis– Egyptian dogs.
2. Interesting part to the next challenge: God says that He could have just wiped out all the Egyptians by now, but He hasn’t because He wants to show how utterly powerful He is. Yeah.
3. Hail yeah. God lets Pharaoh decide how he wants to proceed on the next plague. He can acknowledge God’s power and shelter everyone, or he can be a stubborn fool. He chose B. Can you admit you’re wrong?
4. Pharaoh then says that he has “sinned,” and he asks for Moses to intercede on his behalf for God. (Oh…and he’ll let them go…yeah right!).
5. Moses calls him out. He says, “Look, I know you don’t like hail. You don’t fear God.”
6. Nice details about the crops.
7. God adds some new stuff- He says He’s doing this so that their children and grandchildren will know how amazing He is. God values His people teaching their kids about God. Is that still going on today?
8. It’s locust time. Yay! They are my favorite. Grasshoppers on steroids. I think I’ll name them all Barry.
9. Interesting that the officials have clued in (as Atom Eve implied she would have back in the day); but, in Pharaoh’s defense, he can’t help it. GOD HAS HARDENED HIS HEART! Hey, here’s a controversial question. Do you think God hardens hearts today?
10. Pharaoh would only let the men go worship because he thought they might leave if they went with the women and children. Um…yeah…good call. But now it’s locust time!
11. Darkness. Not fancy, but imagine how scary this one was.
12. Moses can leave with the women and children but not the animals. Little problem: you need animals for sacrifices (sorry, Mary Kate). Not a hoof left behind because, apparently, they only know what animals to kill until they get there.
13. Then Pharaoh tells Moses to go away, for-ever ever. And he says that he’ll kill Moses the next time he sees him. Man.

Wow…so…what are you thinking at this point?

d38 "Can Pharaoh come out and plague?"
May 15, 2007, 4:39 pm
Filed under: aaron, exodus, god, moses, pharaoh

Read Exodus 7:15 – 9:7

How can you not love this part of the Bible? It’s so miraculous and mysterious.

1. Wow…that would be crazy for a river to turn to blood. All the fish would be dead. And it would stink! Wow…Moses wasn’t making red Kool-Aid.
2. So…it wasn’t just the Nile. Aaron spread his staff and it went everywhere. Insane.
3. How did the magicians pull that one off? Hmm…and, of course, Pharaoh’s heart was hard. This was all part of God’s plan.
4. Why frogs? I’ve heard before that it was to mock one of the Egyptian gods that was represented by a frog. Not sure. Still, this would have been freaky too.
3. So…how did the magicians make so many frogs? Anyway, it’s interesting that they could make frogs; but, apparently, they couldn’t get rid of them. Otherwise, why would Pharaoh ask for Moses to let up?
4. Interesting thing…Pharaoh could get rid of the frogs at any time…but he asks for tomorrow? Why do you think he wanted to live amongst frogs any longer than he had to?
5. OK…so the frogs didn’t just disappeared…they croaked (I couldn’t help myself). Dead frogs everywhere. Oooh…that had to stink. And then…Pharaoh goes back on his promise to let them go because he doesn’t see a problem anymore. Do we do that? Do we beg God for solutions to our problems (promising we will change)…and then, once the problem has been “fixed,” go back to our old ways?
6. Then the dust turned to gnats. The magicians couldn’t make gnats! Ha! Even they believed, but Pharaoh couldn’t.
7. Ooh…a miracle with a twist. Flies everywhere but Goshen. That should prove a point, right?
8. Pharaoh gives in, sort of. He lets them offer sacrifices in Egypt. Moses says that they have to do it out of Egypt. He lets them go. How interesting is this…Pharaoh asks Moses to pray for him. Why?
9. Moses says he’ll pray to get rid of the flies later and not to trick him. It didn’t work. Pharaoh changed his mind.
10. Dead livestock, but only dead Egyptian livestock. Crazy. I like that Pharaoh sent investigators to see if they Israelite livestock had not died. It hadn’t. He still didn’t let them go, though. Wow.

Which plague do you think is the coolest? The weirdest? The sickest?

d37 Moses & Aaron Before Pharaoh
May 14, 2007, 7:40 pm
Filed under: aaron, exodus, god, moses, pharaoh

Read Exodus 7:1-14

[Stuff we’re skipping:

*We get a genealogy…where did Moses and Aaron come from? It says that each of them are from the line of Levi (Jacob’s third son).]

OK…happy Monday. This Monday also happens to be my two year anniversary with Mary Kate! Wow. I can’t decide if I feel like we’ve been together forever or if our wedding feels like it was yesterday. A little of both–and both very good.

1. God says that Moses is going to be “like God” to Pharaoh–that everything he says is going to be from God. Wow. And Aaron will be the prophet. I guess that means he will speak for Moses like a prophet speaks for God. (Why do you think they didn’t include Aaron in all these scenes in “Prince of Egypt”?)
2. God rehashes that He wants His people OUT of Egypt…and He throws in this whole multiplying of signs and wonders…uh oh…
3. They didn’t look that old in the cartoon.
4. So…how do you think the magicians and sorcerers did the staff turning into a snake thing? I just saw “The Prestige” a little while ago, and it basically showed that magicians take twin doves and smash one to death while letting the other “magically” appear. Do you think there is a such thing as magic?
5. I love this part of “Prince of Egypt.” While the sorcerers are patting themselves on the back for their “illusion,” Moses’ snake eats their snake in the shadows on the wall. Good times.

God. Often imitated. Never replicated. Fo Sho.

d36 Moses Goes Back into the Huddle
May 13, 2007, 9:01 pm
Filed under: exodus, god, moses, pharaoh

Read Exodus 6:1-13

1. It’s almost as if God is stacking the deck against Moses, just to prove that He is totally in control. Do things have to look they are in control in order for them to be in control?
2. God is telling Moses that this is the same God who spoke to his forefathers. Interesting, though, that God only chose at this time to give His name (I AM). Why do you think He waited until now?
3. God tells Moses to be His go-between to the people. Although the people won’t have God speak directly to them (like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses), they will be directly placed in a covenant with God. He promises that He will be their God and that they will all experience the blessing that He promised Abraham. Cool.
4. Is it harder for you to listen when things aren’t going your way?
5. Moses is afraid to talk to Pharaoh because his own people aren’t listening to him…and he st-stutters. Yet again, why is Moses full of doubt?

Apparently the snake staff and the leprous/non-leprous hand are not enough… Apparently we’re going to have to see more…