ripple effect: vacaville

d135 Broken
September 3, 2007, 3:10 pm
Filed under: bathsheba, david, god, nathan, psalms, samuel, uriah

Read Psalm 51:1-19.

This is one of my favorites. You know, I always wondered why God gives David the distinction of being a “man after His own heart.” I mean, the guy sinned…big time. Maybe this prayer is a clue. Keep in mind that this was written after Nathan the prophet confronted David about his affair with Bathsheba…

1. David doesn’t come with excuses. He first comes asking for mercy. He knows he doesn’t deserve and kind of gift from God.
2. David does appeal to God’s track-record of showing mercy, though. He asks that God would take away all the sins of what he has done. Think about what David has done. Do you feel like David doesn’t deserve this?
3. David says that he has only sinned against God (…not Bathsheba…not Uriah…not the people of Israel…not Samuel for anointing him…not Nathan, even though he is his prophet). Do you think that this is true? What do you think he means by this?
4. He says that this is so that God would be justified in His words and blameless in His judgment. Does this mean that he thinks that God is being glorified, even in his sin, because it is proving that man’s way just doesn’t work?
5. He’s saying that he was born sinful. That’s true.
6. But it also says that God loves to reveal His truths to David’s heart. Yet again, strange since we are sinful that God delights in doing that with us. What do you think?
7. I know sometimes when I have sinned, to pray while taking a shower really does help. I can see why David uses these images. Wash the filth away.
8. The broken bones thing is interesting. I wonder if this is an extention of the shepherd analogy. Shepherds would break the legs of sheep who wandered too much. So…by sending Nathan to David to confront him with the truth, maybe it’s like that. God doesn’t want David to stray away?
9. “Create in me a clean heart, O God. And renew a right spirit within me.” Great song. Started here with David. And if anyone can do it, it’s God.
10. David knows that God could technically eliminate him from His presence. But David asks to be able to still be hear Him, to still hear His Spirit.
11. I love that David shifts his attention in verse 13 and talks about how he could use this as an opportunity to teach others to follow God. His wish came true. It has helped me. Do you believe that your failures can be used for good?
12. He who has been forgiven much has all the more to sing about.
13. God doesn’t delight in the mere doing of “worship acts.” God is more interested in a broken heart. A heart that is ready to move on from sin. Yeah, I need to hear that.
14. Finally, David intercedes on behalf of his people, the people of Jerusalem (or Zion). He wants them to experience all the grace and mercy that God has given him. Leaders pray for their people.

Anything I’m missing here?


d92 The Witch of Endor
July 8, 2007, 11:58 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, abishai, abner, achish, ahinoam, david, god, michal, palti, samuel, saul, witch of endor

Read 1 Samuel 28:1-25.

[Things we’re breezing past…

* David also got another wife named Ahinoam. As far as Michal (Saul’s daughter) went, Saul actually gave her away to some guy named Palti.

* The Ziphites tipped off Saul again where David was. So Saul went with his army to track him down. He fell asleep surrounded by his soldiers, including his commander, Abner. David snuck into the camp with a guy named Abishai and got close enough to kill Saul. Of course, David wouldn’t do it; but he instead took his spear and water bottle. David goes a distance from the camp and shouts out to Abner, telling him that he deserves to die for not keeping a good watch on the king. He tells him to check out Saul’s spear and water bottle. What, oh…he must have snatched them! Saul heard David’s voice and cried out to him. David again asked why Saul was chasing him, and Saul replied that David was a good man for not killing him. Then he went home, again. Deja vu.

* David decided that Saul would leave him alone if he lived with the Philistines, in Achash’s palace. He did, and Saul did. Achish actually gave David a town to live in named Ziklag. He lived there for 16 months. David smartly raided the former inhabitants of the promised land to a) fulfill what God had called him to do in the first place and b) make it look like (to Achish) that David was a traitor to the Israelites (he wasn’t killing Israelites, though!)]

Ever wonder where George Lucas got the name for the planets where the Ewoks lived? Maybe it was from this story…

1. Achish wanted David to fight with him against the Israelites. He says ok, but do you really think he’s going to fight against his countrymen?
2. Samuel has died. Then again, it’s not like he would have helped Saul in the first place. Also, Saul had kicked out all of the mediums and necromancers (people who communicate with the dead); but he needed to talk to someone because God wasn’t talking to him. So…genius comes up with the idea to go to a medium (witch?) in Endor. This Saul isn’t really that bright…
3. Saul actually has to go in a disguise to this “spiritist.” She balks at summoning a spirit because it was outlawed, ironically by Saul.
4. When Saul tells her to summon Samuel, instantly she freaks out and realizes that this guy was no other than the king himself. OK…first question, do you think (apart from God) that it is possible to communicate with the dead?
5. Saul bows to the spiritist in reverence to Samuel? What an idiot.
6. Samuel says that if God is against him, how can he be for him. That’s kind of a spin on “If God is for me, who can be against me?”
7. Samuel tells Saul like it is…”You’re going to lose. Remember when you didn’t kill those sheep or the king of the Amalekites? You know you do. You’re going to lose! Oh, and ‘p.s.,’ you and your sins are going to die tomorrow at the hand of the Philitines!” Wow. Saul going to this witch is going to literally be “the nail in the coffin.”
8. So Saul almost passes out because of the news and because he had not eaten. The woman urges him to eat, and he finally does. I guess this is the first “last supper.”

Hey, to me this chapter opens up a pandora’s box of questions about spiritists and mediums. People ask me all the time, “Do you believe in ghosts?” And this story actually has the “ghost” of Samuel talking to Saul through a woman. So…the basis of my beliefs is the Bible, and I have to at least admit that there might be some credibility in it. But, also notice the fact that Saul is punished mightily for seeking to talk to a dead person. What do you think?

d91 Dear Abby
July 7, 2007, 11:15 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, abigail, david, god, nabal, samuel

Read 1 Samuel 25:1-42.

1. Samuel dies. Sadness.
2. OK, so David sends ten of his men to this guy named Nabal (who has a wife who he mistreats named Abigail), and they ask him for a place to crash while they are having a feast. We know that this guy mistreats his wife, so how do you think he treats strangers?
3. Some response. I guess David didn’t like that. What do you think Nabal’s response to the request meant?
4. Abigail must have been some woman. Notice how the servants go to HER with the problem. They even call Nabal worthless.
5. Apparently, David had been protecting Nabal’s men; so Nabal was being really ungrateful. It says that David is going to kill every one of Nabal’s men.
6. Wow…with a name like “Nabal” (which means fool), you have to think that he would end up being an idiot.
7. Abigail makes a pretty good speech. She basically steps in for her idiot husband and makes it so that David doesn’t kill all the men (who she says are innocent because they are stupid). What do you think about Abigail’s plea?
8. David is thankful that he didn’t have to kill anybody.
9. When Abigail told Nabal about all the had done, he died. Maybe he had a heart attack? We don’t know. All we know is that he died ten days from then.
10. Notice that David gives credit to God for killing Nabal. And by killing Nabal Himself, God made it so that David didn’t have to do it. God truly avenged David. Do you think it is right for people to take revenge?
11. The icing on the cake is that David sent for Abigail to be his wife. And she accepted. So…he got himself an awesome wife, and she got a man who would actually see her for what she was, an awesome woman.

d89 Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner
July 5, 2007, 10:41 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, david, god, jonathan, michal, samuel, saul

Read 1 Samuel 20:1-42.

[Stuff we’re flying through:

* Saul tells everyone in his household (including Jonathan) to kill David. Jonathan tips off David, and David hides. Jonathan talks Saul down, and David gets to move back in.

* David kicks more Philistine butt. Saul tries to throw another spear at David.

* Saul instructed the people of David’s household to kill David. Michal tips off David, and sneaks him out of the house.

* David flees to live with Samuel. Saul sends messengers to kill David; but everytime he does, they end up “prophesying” and not killing. Eventually Saul goes himself, and he ends up stripping naked and prophesying too.]

1. OK, so David’s great question is “What did I do to Saul?” I would imagine this would be quite confusing for David. Put yourself in his shoes. What would you be thinking?
2. Yeah, it makes sense that Saul isn’t going to tell Jonathan that he’s going to kill him at this point. It’s pretty obvious that Jonathan is on David’s side.
3. OK, so the plan is for Jonathan to have dinner with Saul. If Saul asks where David is (as he will inevitably do), Jonathan is going to say that he’s sacrificing in Bethlehem. (Hmm…does this mean that sometimes it’s ok to lie?) If Saul is cool, no problem. If he wigs out, more than likely he was planning on killing David. Nice plan.
4. OK, so the two young guys are making oaths and whatnot; and Jonathan interestingly notes that God is on David’s side. So…if it comes to the point that David kills all his enemies, please don’t destroy all of Jonathan’s family just because they were related to Saul.
5. Everything pans out as planned. Saul wigs out after two days and basically tells Jonathan that he’s stupid for choosing David (his rival) over Saul (his chance at becoming king). What does Jonathan get for talking back to his dad? A spear thrown at him! Wow…good thing Saul had such bad aim.
6. The whole sending a kid to pick up the arrows plan was pretty slick. Then he sends the kid back, so the coast is clear. At that point, they weep because they know that they’ll probably never see each other again. Why do you think it points out that David wept the most?

d86 David and Goliath
July 2, 2007, 9:12 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, david, eliab, god, goliath, jesse, samuel, saul

Read 1 Samuel 17:1-31.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* So Saul had an “evil spirit” that tormented him around that time, and Saul’s experts thought it would be calming for him to have someone play the lyre around him when he was struggling. Ironically, David was known for being good at playing the lyre; so Saul called for him. Saul ended up liking David so much that he made him his armor-bearer.]

And then…

1. The Israelites on one side and then Philistines on another. Reminds me of a fight in “Troy.”
2. OK, I don’t get all the ancient measurements. But, suffice is to say, Goliath was a bad mammer jammer. He was huge, had huge armor, and huge weapons. As the “champion” of the Philistines, he calls out the Israelites and mocks them, trying to get some poor schmo to come out and get his butt kicked (or so he thinks). Faith is one thing when you are hoping for something, but what about when a huge guy is calling you out like that? Would you be “full of faith” and be the fighter?
3. OK, so David wasn’t a little boy; it just says that, as the youngest, he wasn’t part of Saul’s military yet because he still had responsibilities to his dad, Jesse. So, he’s just making a food run for his brothers.
4. Imagine being in Jesse’s position, sending David off to feed his boys and get a token that they are still alive. Man…I bet that was tough.
5. Although no one wants to fight Goliath, they do discuss the rewards that would come from beating him–riches, the princess, and freedom. David hears all of this and gets to thinking…who dares to step to God?
6. David’s older brother Eliab chews him out for leaving the sheep to “check out” the battle, and so does everyone else…but somehow he brings his “who dares to step to God” message to King Saul. Word travels fast, apparently.

So…what do you think of Goliath at this point? What do you think of the Israelite army? How about King Saul? What do you think Samuel is doing (since he’s not near Saul)? What do you think David is thinking?

d85 Why Does the Statue of David Need to Be Naked?
July 1, 2007, 3:41 pm
Filed under: 1 samuel, abner, agag, ahinoam, david, god, jesse, jonathan, michal, samuel, saul

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Saul declares a “fast” of sorts until he annihilates the Philistines. Jonathan didn’t know about it and ate some honey. As a result, he is cursed by his own father. Jonathan said it was dumb to declare a fast–the people needed to eat. They proved it later by eating animals with the blood still in them after the battle (which is a sin). Saul built an altar for everyone to cook their animals on. Then it came time to destroy the Philistines, and Saul needed guidance from God (Samuel was gone by now)–but he didn’t get it. He cast lots to see why God wasn’t answering, and it landed on the fact that it was Jonathan’s fault. So…Saul was to kill him (Jonathan would have let him), but the people stood up for Jonathan and said that he was the deliverer…he shouldn’t be killed. The Philistines weren’t completely defeated that day.

* Saul fights against all of the enemies as the king. The only ones that he can’t beat are the Philistines. It describes his family and how Saul assembled an army of tough guys. Key new people: Michal (one of Saul’s daughters), Ahinoam (Saul’s wife), and Abner (Saul’s army commander).

* Samuel tells Saul that he must destroy all of the Amalekites (and their stuff) because of what they did when they wouldn’t let the Israelites “pass through” on their was to the promised land. Saul beat them down…only one problem…Saul decided to keep Agog, the king of the Amalekites, and all the good animals alive. God clued in Samuel on what was going on, and he showed up to chew out Saul. Saul tried to cover up what he had done (by saying that the live animals were for a “sacrifice), but Samuel doesn’t buy it…and God rejects Saul as king. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Saul begs to be forgiven, but Samuel says it’s over: his kingdom will be split and God will NOT have his back anymore. Oh, and Samuel cuts Agog to pieces; and Samuel leaves to never see Saul again.]

1. Interesting question that God asks Samuel. It’s as if God is already “over” Saul as king, but Samuel really was attached to him. Do you think that Samuel felt responsible for Saul in some way?
2. Samuel is genuinely scared of Saul; he’s afraid that if he goes to Jesse’s sons to find the new king that Saul will kill him. I guess that’s a testament to Saul’s unpredictable character.
3. None of Jesse’s studly older sons made the cut. What do you think was in their hearts?
4. So…David is off with the sheep and when we see him, we see that he is small, young, handsome, with pretty eyes, and red cheeks. God chooses him, and Samuel anoints him right then and there. It says that from that point on that David is full of God’s Spirit. Cool. What do you think that meant?
5. And then Samuel just goes off. So this ought to be interesting…a king (who was anointed but now sucks) and a new kid who was been anointed. Drum roll…

d84 Mission Possible
June 30, 2007, 12:26 pm
Filed under: 1 samuel, ahijah, god, jonathan, samuel, saul

Read 1 Samuel 14:1-23.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* Saul defended the men of Jabesh-gilead against the Ammonites.

* Saul was crowned as king.

* Samuel made a final speach in which he talked about God’s faithfulness and how them asking for a king was faithless. Then he caused thunder and rain to come down on Israel.

* Samuel finally warns the people that they and the new king must follow God.

* The Israelites, led by Saul and his son Jonathan, beat up on the Philistines.

* Saul was supposed to wait seven days in the midst of battle to have Samuel perform a sacrifice, but Saul jumped the gun and did it himself. When Samuel found out, he told him that Saul’s reign would not last–that God was looking for a man after God’s own heart.

* To set the stage for the next chapter, the Bible tells us that the Israelites weren’t allowed to have blacksmiths (to keep them from making weapons); so when they went to battle they had no real weapons (except for Saul and Jonathan).]

1. I wonder why Jonathan didn’t tell his dad that he was going to sneak over to the Philistine camp.
2. From what I can tell about Jonathan here, he seems to be full of faith. Not only that, his armor-bearer seems to believe in him too.
3. Jonathan looked for the “sign” from God, and killed a bunch of guys. This freaked out the Philistines. It kind of seems like Jonathan is the leader here, doesn’t it?
4. Basically, Jonathan’s bravery inspired all the rest of the Israelites to fight against the Philistines.


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