ripple effect: vacaville

d186 Real Authority
October 31, 2007, 10:41 am
Filed under: abraham, elijah, elisha, god, jesus, luke, naomi, ruth

Read Luke 7:1-17.

1. OK…things I’m noticing from this story. One, we are talking about a powerful guy’s servant who’s sick here. Not a family member. Also, it just says that he “valued” him. That could mean he either had compassion or needed someone to get the job done. And then, you’ve got the fact that this guy doesn’t go to Jesus himself. He sends important Jewish elders along. And, the elders (who you’d think would be thinking spiritually) say that Jesus should help him because he loves the nation (good) and built the synagogue (um…so, he is valuable to them?). To me, unless I’m reading this with a suspicious eye, I haven’t really seen a huge amount of faith or spirituality yet…
2. Wow…and then everything changes in the second paragraph. He sends out friends to stop Jesus from coming. He felt unworthy to see Jesus or even have Him under his roof. Whoah. I think I’m beginning to understand this guy. He’s a Roman leader in a Jewish nation. And he’s seeing God in their synagogue, and he’s seeing God in this Jesus. But, he feels unworthy, as a Gentile, to have Jesus near him. His only hope is for a long-distance relationship because of who he is. (I love that Jesus doesn’t think like that…)
3. How about this dude’s faith! He just asks (through his friends) to have Jesus “say the word.” He believes that when someone is in authority that a command is carried out. So…he believes that Jesus is in command over life and death, so why wouldn’t they do what He told them to do?
4. For Jesus to say this about a Gentile was an act of grace. It was faith that mattered to Jesus, not lineage to Abraham. So…this guy simply took Jesus at His word. I think we still squirm at Jesus’ teachings and promises. So…it’s refreshing to see someone who didn’t have childlike faith, but more like military certainty-like faith.

5. A widow (no husband) losing her only son (no heirs, no providers) would be up a creek without a paddle in this culture. (Kind of like Naomi in the book of Ruth and the widow that Elijah stayed with.) In the two previous cases, we know that God has compassion towards widows…
6. Jesus’ heart went out to this lady, while she was in the funeral procession. He tells her not to cry… What do you think her response was at that moment?
7. I love Jesus style here. Almost to reinforce what the centurion had said, he commands the boy to get up. He does! And he talks. I wonder what he says!
8. Prophets could do what Jesus just did (see Elijah and Elisha…of course, that was only with the power of God). So…it comes as no surprise that the people simply think that Jesus is a prophet. Oh…but He’s so much more…


d160 Jesus’ Family Tree

Read Matthew 1:1-25.

Some people get turned off by reading this genealogy. I say it is due to lack of the proper background. Oh, the stories that are embedded in this genealogy…

1. Jesus is referred to as the son of David and the son of Abraham. Why David? I’m guessing because he was the iconic king. This would imply that Jesus is going to be the King. Then you’ve got Abraham. He’s the father of the faith. Jesus isn’t just going to be the continuation of that faith…He’s going to be the fulfillment of it.
2. Notice that this geneology doesn’t start with Adam. It starts when the faith starts (with Abraham). I think that’s interesting.
3. OK…so we know Abraham (far from perfect), Isaac (not really perfect), Jacob (definitely not perfect), and Judah (not perfect either). These are all direct descendents of Jesus. Their stories are wrapped up in His DNA. Cool huh?
4. Then you’ve got Perez (don’t really know), Hezron (who?), Ram (nice name), Amminadab (don’t know), Nahshon (who?), and then Salmon. Now, you might think that Salmon is just a dude with a fishy name. But, look who his wife is…Rahab! Does anyone remember who she is? She’s the prostitute from Jericho who hid the Israelite spies. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus Christ comes from a line that includes a foreign former prostitute?
5. And that’s not all. Look who Rahab’s son was: Boaz. Remember him? If you guessed the husband of Ruth you would be right. How cool is that! The story of Boaz and Ruth getting together is the story of two people coming together who will eventually be ancestors of Jesus. Oh…and Ruth was foreign too.
6. They had Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. And Jesse was the father of David. He’s the rock star in the bunch. And it’s cool to see that David was a relative of Jesus too.
7. Interesting choice of words next: “David was the father of Solomon by THE WIFE OF URIAH.” I don’t think this is intended to belittle Bathsheba. But, it does remind us all that Solomon came from David’s sinful relationship with Bathsheba (at the expense of Uriah). Wow…it’s amazing to know that THIS is in the line of Jesus Christ as well.
8. Solomon had Rehoboam (remember the king who listened to his young friends over his older advisors and split Israel). Then King Abijah, King Asaph, King Jehoshaphat (a great king), King Joram, King Uzziah, King Jotham, King Ahaz, King Hezekiah (another good king), King Manasseh, King Amon, King Josiah (my favorite king), and King Jechoniah (the king who was taken away to Babylon). That’s a rich history, and Jesus is a direct royal heir to the kingdom of Judah.
9. Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, who was the father of Zerubbabel (who was in charge when they were allowed to come back to Jerusalem), who was the father of Abiud, the father of Eliakim, the father of Azor, the father of Zadok, the father of Achim, the father of Eliud, the father of Eleazar, the father of Matthan, the father of Jacob, the father of Joseph…this is the Joseph who is engaged to be married to Mary! Hmm…now this is the shocker…why does Matthew list the geneology of Joseph instead of Mary? I mean, technically, is Joseph REALLY Jesus’ father?
10. Nice symmetry. 14 generations from the beginning of the faith until the line of David. 14 generations of the line of David until getting exiled. 14 generations from the exile to Christ. Wow…
11. Then we get to the story of Jesus’ birth. This question can’t be asked enough: what do you think was going through Joseph’s mind when he found out that his woman was pregnant?
12. Joseph didn’t want to shame Mary, so he was going to break things off silently. Nice guy. Maybe nicer than you think. She could have been stoned for this “crime.”
13. Wow…I still would have wondered if I had eaten some weird lamb when an angel came to me in a dream. But, Joseph “gets it” to the best of his ability and mans up.
14. Can you imagine receiving that kind of message about the baby inside your fiance’s womb? (one that you didn’t make!)
15. Isaiah prophesied about this centuries earlier. Wow. Do you even think that Isaiah knew what he was predicting?
16. Immanuel…God with us. My favorite name for God.
17. Joseph is an amazing man. He really swallowed his pride for God.
18. And he also didn’t have sex with her UNTIL she gave birth to Jesus. I don’t know why that offends people to think of Mary having sex. But, after Jesus, she did (and made more babies). Anyway…Joseph was strong for not having sex. Again, maybe that had something to do with his sinful-nature seed not messing with the sinless baby forming in Mary’s womb?

d77 Fun with Flip Flops
June 23, 2007, 4:01 pm
Filed under: boaz, chilion, david, elimelech, god, jesse, jesus, mahlon, naomi, obed, ruth

Ruth 4:1-22.

1. Interesting…apparently Naomi had her husband, Elimelech’s land that she couldn’t possess (women weren’t allowed), so Boaz tells the kinsman-redeemer (k-r) that he can have it if he wants it. He says, “Sweet, land” and takes it.
2. OK…I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of why k-r rejects the land once he realizes that Ruth comes with it, but that is a BONUS for Boaz!
3. So…they echange flip flops for the “rights” to purchase Naomi’s land and have the hand of Ruth. Interesting. I hope they didn’t smell.
4. Boaz also gets the possessions of Elimelech’s kids, Mahlon and Chilion. BONUS again.
5. Cool blessing: may Ruth be like Rachel and Leah…aka a baby machine!
6. I love this part: Naomi is celebrated by the women for how awesome a turn of events has occured. They name the kid, Obed. Obed is the father of Jesse. And Jesse is the father of David (yes…THE David). That makes Ruth David’s great-grandmother. Cool. Extra bonus, Jesus will later on be a descendent of the house of David.

Alright…so…this is a cool story. I love that Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz are so blessed in the end. Do you have any additional thoughts or questions?

d76 A Perfect Fit
June 22, 2007, 11:58 am
Filed under: boaz, god, naomi, ruth

Read Ruth 3:1-18.

1. So…Naomi’s got a plan. Go to Boaz “after hours” and see where he’s laying. OK, so it seems like she’s going to seduce him; but that’s not the case. She has a right to demand that he takes care of her–he’s her kinsman-redeemer; but instead she is going to lie at his feet…total submission. Ruth is humble.
2. OK…so Boaz falls asleep, and wakes up to see a “dolled up” Ruth laying there. She says to cover him with her cloak. The understanding of this phrase is, “Hey, I’m a widow; marry me, and take care of me.” Then again, she tells him that she will do whatever he wants. Boaz could have taken advantage of her, but she knew he was a good guy.
3. It’s cool to see Boaz’s response. He is thankful that she didn’t rule him out because he was older. He probably had already grasped that he had a “right” to Ruth, but he didn’t want to demand it of her. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that a young woman of such noble character would want HIM. But she did.
4. Uh oh…there’s a closer guy who really has “dibs” on her. This is a complication, but notice that Boaz still takes care of her (by letting her stay instead of going out in the dark and giving her food).

At this point, how do you feel about…

a) Naomi’s master plan
b) Ruth’s approach to “getting” Boaz
c) Boaz’s approach to “getting” Ruth

Is there anything that we can gain from this story as it relates to finding your “soulmate” in this culture?

d75 How I Met Your Mother
June 21, 2007, 2:15 pm
Filed under: boaz, naomi, ruth

Read Ruth 2:1-23.

1. OK…so Naomi happens to be related to one of Israel’s most eligible bachelors, Boaz. And Ruth decides she is going to strut her stuff while gleaning in the field to perhaps catch her this man.
2. Gleaning: v. tr. “To gather (grain) left behind by reapers.” At this point, all Ruth can do to make a living is to go behing the grain reapers and get whatever they don’t gather themselves. You’d have to imagine that this would be a very humbling experience. But, what else could she do? You have to respect Ruth’s humility.
3. Well, Ruth must have been something because Boaz seems to notice her instantly (or maybe he didn’t have a lot of gleaners?). He also finds out that she had been working hard. Nice…
4. Then Boaz provides her with a safe place, a place where she won’t be sexually harassed, and where she can get water. Ruth can’t understand why he would be so nice, but he explains that he heard about all that she had done for Naomi. I guess her loyalty is paying off, huh? And I love how Boaz ties it all into God…that He is the one who is doing this for Ruth.
5. He even let her have a nice lunch. Then he tells the guys to leave more stuff for her too. Boaz was being a good guy on the sly.
6. Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer of Ruth. Being closely related to Naomi, he could have “dibs” on taking Ruth to be his wife if no one closer to her dead husband objected. I can see this getting good…

OK…not many questions again here…but…what do you think about?

1. Boaz’s kindness
2. Ruth’s approach to work
3. Naomi’s “strategy”

d74 Baby Ruuuuuuuuuth!
June 20, 2007, 10:21 am
Filed under: benjamin, chilion, dan, elimelech, god, judges, levi, mahlon, mara, micah, naomi, orpah, ruth

Read Ruth 1:1-22.

[OK…so we’re skipping the resolution of the book of Judges, but here’s a quick glance…

* We get a random story about a guy named Micah who build a shrine in his house and hired a Levite to be his priest. I guess the story is an example of how random the practice of worship had gotten during the era of the judges.

* OK…then, the tribe of Dan decides to steal the Levite from the house of Micah to be their priest. What’s weird is that they conquered some other people and did a “blended” worship with that Levite, Moses’ grandson, and some idols they had made for themselves.

* Then things get a little weird. A young Levite takes his concubine with him on a trip, but the men in a town (within the territory of the tribe of Benjamin) that they are staying in give him the “Sodom and Gomorrah” treatment. In his place, the Levite’s concubine gets raped and abused all night long. The next morning, she’s dead. So, the Levite cuts the woman into twelve pieces and mails them to all twelve tribes in Israel.

* This ends up being a battle cry that brings all the other tribes of Israel up against Benjamin. And, in a battle that suffers losses on both side, the tribe of Benjamin ends up getting decimated by casualties, having all the women and children and towns destroyed.

* Well, then the other tribes feel sorry for the tribe of Benjamin. And, although none of them would give their own women to them as wives, they didn’t want an entire tribe of Israel to go extinct. They then realized that the tribe of Jabesh-gilead hadn’t had any people fight in the battle, so they slaughtered the men of Jabesh-gilead and took all the virgins to give to the Benjamites as wives. They were also permitted to grab any dancing girls from Shiloh that they needed (kind of weird). Then everyone went home.

* Judges is left with the summary statement: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”]

And now we are in the book of Ruth.

1. OK, so Elimelech had a wife, Naomi. They had two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. They were all from the tribe of Ephraim, but they lived in the land of Moab. Dad dies, and the two sons take foreign wives, Orpah and Ruth. (Incidentally, there is an African-American tradition of naming one’s child by opening up a Bible and picking the closest name to whatever you randomly point to. There is a famous person named after Orpah, but they switched the lettering around a little: Oprah Winfrey.)
2. After the men die, these women are pretty helpless. There weren’t many viable options for a woman back in the day. So, Naomi decides to go back to the land of Israel because she heard that God was blessing the Israelites. Also, there are parts of the Law of Israel that state that the poor should be shown grace.
3. She releases the girls to go back to their families. She can’t really do much to help them. Orphah goes with her head, but Ruth sticks around (maybe going with her heart?).
4. It’s hard to tell why Ruth sticks around. I think it’s funny that the verses in this first chapter are used a lot in weddings?!?! It’s about a daughter-in-law’s loyalty to her mother-in-law…not a husband to wife. Oh well. Christians are funny. Boy, people wigged out at my wedding, though, when my wife and I used the commands about marriage in the New Testament as our vows. I guess the ideas of submission and sacrifice just aren’t as cute. Woops…tangent.
5. Boy, if Ruth made her decision based on faith, it doesn’t appear that Naomi has. Naomi even changed her name to “Bitter” because she thinks that God has done her in.

So…I don’t know what questions to ask here. This is more setting the stage than anything else…

But, what do you think of…

1. Naomi?
2. Orpah?
3. Ruth?
4. Wedding vows?