ripple effect: vacaville

d209 Saint Nic
November 30, 2007, 2:52 pm
Filed under: david, god, jesse, jesus, john, nicodemus, saul

Read John 7:32-53.

1. Jesus was often in danger of being arrested. Kind of different than the picture you have of a serene dude in a white robe sauntering about the Israel countryside.
2. Jesus talks about His departure earth and reconnection with God up in Heaven, but the Jews didn’t get it. They thought that it meant that Jesus might go to Greece. Hmm…some people say Greece looks like heaven.
3. Jesus restates the idea that all who are thirsty can come to Him. And, John explains that this means that they will be given the Holy Spirit– the Holy Spirit can satisfy.
4. Who do you think you would have thought Jesus was back then?
5. “Christ” means anointed. I missed that one on a quiz. Why couldn’t the anointed come from Galilee? Did they forget that Saul came from a small tribe? Did they forget that David was the runt of Jesse’s litter?
6. If only people knew that Jesus was born on a “night in Bethlehem”…
7. Why do you think the people were afraid to “lay hands” on Jesus?

8. The guards seemed scared to take Jesus in. He he he…
9. Typical “people in power” philosophy: the Pharisees know what’s really going on– how could a “mob” know anything?
10. Hey, it’s Nicodemus again. He wants everyone to hear Jesus out. (It worked for him.)
11. What’s the difference between Nicodemus and the rest of the Pharisees? What can we learn from him?


d178 The AD 27 Amateur Draft
October 23, 2007, 3:31 pm
Filed under: abiathar, andrew, bartholomew, david, god, james, jesus, john, judas, mark, matthew, peter, philip, saul, simon, thaddaeus, thomas

Read Mark 2:23 – 3:19.

1. Wow…the Pharisees seem to be awfully picky at the disciples’ picking. Do they consider this to be “work”?
2. Hey…I remember that story now. David was on the run from Saul, and he needed food. And, indeed, he did eat the “consecrated” bread from Abiathar the priest. He basically ate a chunk of communion bread. Why? Um…because he needed it… So, maybe Jesus is saying that Sabbath is a day in which we shouldn’t be apologetic about getting what we truly need?

3. Boy…those guys were just focusing on the wrong thing. The guy was in need of healing, but I guess being “religious” was more important than being compassionate.
4. I love that Jesus doesn’t think like those guys.
5. I love the fact that Jesus was about meeting needs.

6. Imagine being Jesus. I remember watching stuff about ‘N Sync back in the day, where girls would swarm them wherever they went; but could you imagine how people swarmed Jesus, knowing that He could heal and drive out demons?

7. Jesus has a draft. He picks twelve guys for His team. I wonder if there were guys who were left out that wanted to be in. I’m sure that there were guys who were in that couldn’t believe that Jesus wanted him.
8. Purpose of Jesus’ disciples: be with Christ, go out to preach, and drive out demons.
9. A couple of guys we know, and a couple of new ones: Peter, James (son of Zebedee), John (I love that he and his brother got a cool nickname like “the sons of thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Batholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot (a revolutionary), and Judas Iscariot.
10. Mark tells us the end before we get there: Judas will betray Jesus. Maybe he put that here because he knew that Jesus must have known that this was going to happen?

Anyway, we’ve got the complete set now! Woo hoo…

(p.s. The picture of the mustachioed lad is up there in honor of the Relevant Gentleman’s Society, a group preserving the integrity of the mustache.)

d94 David Makes Good on His Promise to Jonathan

Read 2 Samuel 9:1-13.

[Stuff we’re skipping:

* David took more wives and concubines in Jerusalem and had more sons and daughters: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.

* David defeats the Philistines twice.

* David also brought the ark to Jerusalem from Abinadab’s house. Ahibadab’s sons, Uzzah and Ahio guided the ark on a cart, while David and all of Israel sang and played instruments alongside. The oxen dragging the ark stumbled, and Uzzah reached out to steady the ark…and God killed Uzzah right there for an irreverant act. Then David got mad and scared at God, so he placed the ark in the house of a guy named Obed-Edom. Since the ark’s presence blessed his household, David brought the ark to Jerusalem. This time they carried it properly (on poles…not a cart) and offered sacrifices every six steps. David even wore a linen ephod, which is a priestly garment. Meanwhile, David’s wife, Michal was looking out the window and thought that it was “below” a king to be dancing like a common priest. David offered sacrifices and gave free food to the people. When David got home, Michal gave him a hard time; and David said that he would “become even more undignified than this” in front of God. Right after that it says that Michal had no kids till she died. Was it because God struck her barren or David wouldn’t sleep with her?

* David wants to build a temple for God, but Nathan (his prophet) is told by God that it will not be David’s task to build the temple–it will be his son’s. God also promises David that He will never take his love away from David’s household, and He will be with his descendents. David offers up a prayer of thanks to God.

* David goes on to defeat the Philistines, the Moabites, the Zobahites, the Edomites, and the Arameans. He also got a ton of booty (treasures) and tributes from kings who were afraid of him. He dedicated all his winnings to the Lord.

* We also get a look at David’s officials: Joab (commander), Jehoshaphat (recorder), Zadok and Ahimelech (priests), Seraiah (secretary), Benaiah (supervisor), and his sons were royal advisors. David was getting organized!]

1. After all David has been through with Saul, trying to avoid death and live up to his anointing, he still remembers the promise he made to be kind to Jonathan’s family. What kind of man does that make David?
2. It’s sad that almost all of Saul’s family is dead. Then again, wasn’t that the consequence of all the wrong things Saul did in his life?
3. OK, so Ziba says there is one family member left– Mephibosheth, the cripple. Can you imagine how scared Mephibosheth would be to meet with David? Tradition would be to kill all the heirs of your enemy.
4. The mighty king David bows to Jonathan’s crippled son. Not only that, he gives him his inheritance. All the land of his dad and the priviledge to have a place at the king’s table.
5. Mephibosheth receives “God’s kindness” through David. And I love his response. Because the truth is that my response is the same when I stand before a holy God–“What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
6. David then has Ziba’s family work for Mephibosheth so that he doesn’t just exist, but he actually has a life. So, he lived as a son of David. How cool is that?

d93 Out with Saul, In with David

Read 2 Samuel 5:1-12.

[We’re going to do some serious skipping…so…

* David’s about to go to battle with the Philistines and King Achish, but the commanders tell him to go away. Achish had to send David home. So…we don’t know if he would have fought.

* When David returned to Ziklag, he saw that the Amalekites had raided the town and stolen all the women and children (including David’s wives, Ahinoam and Abigail). David asked God (through Abiathar, the priest) whether or not they could beat the Amalekites. God said they could; and, on the way to find them, David met an Egyptian servant of the Amalekites who promised to lead them to the bad guys. He did, and they beat them down and got everything back.

* The Philistines beat down the Israelites, killing Saul’s sons: Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchi-shua. Saul was struck by an arrow, and he begged his armor bearer to go ahead and kill him. He wouldn’t, so Saul had to kill himself. Then the armor-bearer killed himself. So…Saul’s whole unit got killed that day. Then the Philistines cut of Saul’s head and fastened his body to a wall in Bethshan. The men of Jabesh-gilead rescues Saul and his sons’ bodies and gave them a proper burial.

* 2 Samuel starts with David hearing of Jonathan and Saul’s death from some random guy. This guy lies and says that he killed Saul (thinking that David would like that). Instead, David mourns and has the guy killed for daring to lift his hand agains the Lord’s anointed.

* David sings a lament that includes the famous words, “how the mighty have fallen.”

* David then goes and becomes king of the tribe of Judah. He also commends the men of Jabesh-gilead for honoring Saul.

* Abner, Saul’s commander, made one of Saul’s other sons, Ish-bosheth, the king of Israel. He was the king for two years.

* Abner and Ish-bosheth’s men fought Joab (David’s commander…brother to Abishai) and David’s men. David’s guys won. Joab had another brother, Asahel, who was a fast guy. He followed Abner’s chariot on foot, and Abner ended up stabbing Asahel through with the butt end of his spear. Joab and Abishai hunted down Abner, but they ended up calling it off after Abner makes a speech about not killing fellow Israelites.

* Ish-bosheth’s army got weaker and weaker, and David’s army got stronger and stronger. We learn that David had sons through his many wives. Turns out David has a couple more than two wives. Here’s the breakdown: son #1 Amnon (mom is Ahinoam); son #2 Chileab (mom is Abigail); son #3 Absalom (mom is Maacah?); son #4 Adonijah (mom is Haggith?); son #5 Shephatiah (mom is Abital?); and son #6 Ithream (mom is Eglah?). Wow…six sons from six mamas!

* So…Ish-bosheth accuses Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines (big insult). Abner says the accusation is insulting and tells him that he’s going to go help David become king from now on! Abner sends a message to David, and David says that the only way he can join the good side is by bringing him Michal (Saul’s daughter). Ish-bosheth ends up allowing this, and poor Palti (her husband) cries the whole way as Michal leaves for David. Abner tells him to go home, so he does.

* Abner rallies all the leaders of Israel to David’s side. Joab catches wind of Abner helping David and refuses to trust Abner. Then Joab calls Abner for a “private meeting” and murders him. When David finds out about this, he places a curse on the house of Joab. David wins over the people by the way that he mourns for Abner. They realize that he didn’t assassinate him– Joab did.

* We are informed that Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth (who was crippled in the feet). He’ll come into play later.

* Two of Ish-bosheth’s captains, Rechab and Baanah, ended up murdering him. They brought his head to David, thinking he would be happy. Instead, David kills the two men because he considered Ish-bosheth “innocent.” David buried Ish-bosheth’s head with Abner’s body.

Wow…sounds like a soap opera.]

1. David finally becomes kind. Don’t you think the people would be happier to follow him?
2. The Jebusites (who were living in Jerusalem) talked smack to David because they didn’t think his army could get in the city. They went in though the sewers, and cleaned house. Then Israel became known as “the city of David.” It still is. The promised land is looking like it’s finally taking shape.
3. Hiram of Tyre sent lumber to build David’s home. Sweet. It says that David knew that he was blessed because of God.

So…we obviously have some unresolved issues…

1. What’s going to happen to Joab and Abishai?
2. What’s going to happen to Jonathan’s crippled son, the heir to Saul’s throne?
3. Are all the people going to buy in to David’s leadership?

Stay tuned…

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?

d90 Am I Not Merciful?
July 6, 2007, 11:56 am
Filed under: 1 samuel, abiathar, achish, ahimelech, david, doeg, gad, god, goliath, mizpeh, saul

Read 1 Samuel 24:1-22.

[Stuff we’re gliding past…

* David’s on the run from Saul, so he goes to a priest named Ahimelech. While there, he gets bread to eat (from the holy bread) and a sword (Goliath’s old sword). The lead herdsman of Saul, Doeg, sees David there.

* David flees to a foreign place to a foreign king named Achish. They recognize him as the dude who kills “tens of thousands,” so David cleverly acts like he’s insane so that they don’t kill him. He doodles on the walls and spits all over his beard. That David…

* David his in a cave, and people found out about it. The people who were sick of Saul’s reign joined him; and he ended up gathering about 400 men. Interestingly, David actually has his father and his family stay with Mizpeh, the king of the Moabites (bad guys?) until he knows that Saul is done trying to do him harm. Also, a prophet named Gad told him to leave the cave and go to the land of Judah.

* Saul’s feeling sorry for himself and talking smack about David when Doeg tells Saul where and when he saw him. Saul summons Ahimelech and all the other priests. He accuses them of being traitors and tells the guard to kill them. They won’t, so Doeg does. Doeg kills 85 priests and kills everyone who lives in their city. Jerk. But one of Ahimelech’s sons escapes– Abiathar. David takes care of Abiathar.

* The people of Keliah were being raided by the Philistines, so David took his group and beat down the Philistines with his little band of fugitives. Saul tried to ambush him in Keliah, but God had already tipped off David to leave.

* While David is hiding in Ziph, Jonathan comes to him and tells him that Saul won’t ever find him and that David will become king and he’ll stand beside him. The Ziphites told Saul that David was hiding there, and he pursued him. At one point, they were actually opposite sides of the same mountain; but Saul had to go because the Philistines were attacking his kingdom.]

Sounds like a big game of cat and mouse…

1. Saul goes into a cave to take a leak. Little does he know that David and his boys are hiding in that very cave! Time to kill, right?
2. Instead, David cuts off a piece of his robe; and he feels guilty about THAT?!?! His explanation is that he should not lift his hand against “the Lord’s anointed.” What do you think about that?
3. David follows Saul out of the cave and gives him a piece of his…respect?!?! Yeah, respect. He shows Saul mercy and tells him that he could have killed him, but he didn’t. He shows the little corner of his robe as “proof” he was close enough to kill him. If you were Saul, what would you be thinking at this point? (That I’m going to be like a girl and always bring someone with me to the bathroom.)
4. David says he didn’t do anything wrong, so why is he chasing him?
5. Wow…Saul cries. Why?
6. Strangely, Saul says that David is more righteous than him (because he doesn’t kill him when he had the chance). And he tells him that he knows that he is going to become king. His only request is to not kill all of his family. David agrees. And then, Saul just goes home. Wow…
7. Do you think that there are times in which you can do something so good (so different than what people expect) that it would shock them into doing the right thing too?

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?