ripple effect: vacaville

d162 A Long Time Coming…
September 30, 2007, 2:50 pm
Filed under: anna, god, jesus, joseph, luke, mary, simeon

Read Luke 2:21-39.

1. And the baby’s name was Jesus… And, like a good Hebrew boy, Jesus was taken to the Temple after eight days to be cicumcised. Even God’s own Son got the sign of the covenant between God and man.
2. So…Jesus was taken to the Temple because the first son was always supposed to be set apart for God. So Joseph and Mary took him to the Temple to make sacrifices on His behalf (again…this is more an act of obedience of the parents…because, I mean, does Jesus really need to make any sacrifices of animals?)
3. Simeon was “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” That means that this guy was a heavy believer in all the prophets teaching that there will be a day when things are made right. This dude was full of faith. And, even though there were many people like him who never got to see this in person, he does!
4. Imagine this wise man picking up your baby and saying the things that he said! Notice that this is a devout Jewish man, and he exclaims that Jesus will bring salvation to Jewish and non-Jewish (Gentile) people! Whoah.
5. I bet Joseph and Mary marveled a lot.
6. Anyone want to take a stab at the meaning of what Simeon is saying to Mary?
7. And then you have this old lady, Anna. The worshipped, fasted, and prayed all night and day for decades. Imagine that. Decades. And she knew what was going on at that very moment and could not keep quiet about it. Redemption. Buying back. What does “the redemption of Jerusalem” mean?
8. Then they went back to Nazareth. (I like that song “Love Hurts,” by the band Nazareth.)


d30 Jacob’s Blessings
May 7, 2007, 9:46 pm
Filed under: asher, benjamin, dan, gad, genesis, issachar, jacob, joseph, judah, levi, naphtali, reuben, simeon, zebulun

Read Genesis 49:1-33

[Back to skipping some stuff…

*Joseph brings his family to Egypt.

*Jacob and Joseph are reunited.

*Jacob’s family settles is Goshen.

*Joseph makes Egypt very wealthy during the famine.

*Jacob ends up giving Joseph a double-blessing by blessing each of his two songs, Ephraim and Manasseh.]

OK…so here we go with the blessings of Jacob’s sons:

1. Reuben gets a weak blessing because he decided to have sex with one of his dad’s women. Big no no.
2. Simeon and Levi get a weak blessing because they retaliated against the men of Schechem when their sister was raped.
3. Judah gets the awesome blessing. The “lion” comes up here. Jesus is later referred to as “the lion of Judah.” Lion’s are king of the jungle. Um…and it also says that rulers will come out of Judah’s descendents. Yeah…later on, that’ll be David…and even later on…that’ll be Jesus. Do you think Judah “deserved” this blessing?
4. Zebulun’s people are sea-people. Cool…the pirates of Zebulun!
5. Issachar’s people will be in forced labor? Um…I don’t consider that a blessing!
6. I don’t get Dan’s blessing. He will be a viper and bite the heels of horses? Then it says that he will wait for God’s salvation? What’s up with that?
7. Gad would have liked Oakland because it seems that he will be a “raider” nation.
8. Asher’s people will have good food. Yesssss!
9. Naphatali’s descendents will apparently be good looking?
10. Joseph gets a cool blessing. It’s like he was hit at with arrows, but he always stood firm. It says that he will have blessings that surpass his father’s. I like that Joseph gets a lot of good in the end.
11. Benjamin is a wolf? Hmm…

Yeah…so…what do you think about these blessings? Rank who you think got the best/worst deals.

d27 A Change of Plans
May 4, 2007, 7:35 pm
Filed under: benjamin, genesis, jacob, joseph, judah, simeon

Read Genesis 43:1-34

More from the life of Joseph…

1. So…they run out of food, and Jacob (Israel) tells them to go and get more. Judah explains that they can’t go back without Benjamin. It’s all about the Benjamin.
2. Israel (yeah, they’re calling Jacob Israel now) then says that they basically should have lied and not said that they had brother #12. Think about it, though, what would have happened if they did that?
3. Judah steps up to the plate and pledges for Benjamin’s safety. He might have been in on the plot to get rid of Joseph, but he’s redeeming himself now.
4. Israel tells him to bring a bribe and double the money that they still had.
5. So…Joseph makes a feast for the brothers (because he sees Benjamin). I like what the brothers are scared of…he might “assault us…make us servants…and SEIZE OUR DONKEYS?!?” Random.
6. So..freaked out, they tell the truth about the money. Why is it that we sometimes wait until we are about to fall off a cliff to tell the truth?
7. The steward tells them it must have been a miracle because they got their money the first time. I guess he doesn’t know what Joseph has been up to or is he in on it?
8. So…all the boys are eating (Simeon is free), and they are preparing to butter him up with their gift. Hey, I like pistachios.
9. Bowing to the ground. Sounds familiar.
10. Joseph starts to lose it: he asks about his dad, he sees Benjamin and blesses him, and he goes off and cries. How would you feel if you saw Benjamin grown up, so many years later? Do you think they looked alike?
11. So…Joseph still plays some head games. He won’t eat with them (because Egyptians didn’t eat with Hebrews), and he served Benjamin 5 times as much as the older guys (normally, the oldest would get at least twice as much as the rest…not the youngest!)

So…what do you think about?

The rest of the brothers?

d26 Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt
May 3, 2007, 3:45 pm
Filed under: benjamin, genesis, god, jacob, joseph, simeon

Read Genesis 42:1-38

So now we all of a sudden remember that life went on without Joseph back in Jacob’s house, and we see what they are up to…

1. That’s how widespread the famine is. These guys live in Canaan and they need the food from Egypt too.
2. Notice that Jacob would not send Benjamin. Why do you think he held back Benjamin specifically? (I know the Bible says that harm might happen to him…but that could have happened to any brother…so why Benjamin?)
3. Joseph’s brothers bowed themselves to Joseph. Does this remind you of anything?
4. So…Joseph chooses to be rough with his brothers. What would you have done in this situation?
5. The brothers say they are “honest men.” Again, what do you think Joseph was feeling when they said this.
6. The brothers say that brother number twelve is “no more.” Again, what do you think Joseph was thinking when they said that?
7. Interesting scene here…Joseph says that he wants to see Benjamin, to prove they are not spies. Then the brothers discuss amongst themselves, in Hebrew (thinking that Joseph only spoke Egyptian), about that this is all because of what they did to Joseph back in the day. Reuben busts out a little “I told you so.” Notice who Joseph chooses to imprison. Any guesses on why it was him?
8. Then Joseph sets them up by giving them the grain but also hiding the money in their sacks. Why do you think he did that?
9. Interesting that when these guys are panicking, they finally mention God’s involvement in their life. Things suck…oh, it must be God’s fault! Do you know people who do that…give God the glory…when something goes wrong?
10. What occurs from here out is pretty dramatic. In a cartoon, this is skipped over. Realize that, when Jacob is told of what’s going on, he acknowledges that Joseph is dead and Simeon is as good as dead. He is not wiling to send Benjamin to die too. So…he is willing to accept the fact that Simeon is gone. Whoah.
11. Also notice that Reuben offers two of his own sons to be killed if he can’t bring back Benjamin and Simeon. Wow.

OK…at this point, what do you think about:


d21 Joseph, King of Dreams
April 28, 2007, 6:57 pm
Filed under: benjamin, bilhah, dinah, esau, genesis, god, isaac, jacob, joseph, levi, potiphar, rachel, reuben, simeon

Read Genesis 37:1-36

[Wow…we’re skipping like crazy…

*Jacob finally got settle back in Canaan (the land promised to his grandpa) in a place called Shechem.

*Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, was raped by one of the local guys of Shechem. This guy, whose named happened to be Shechem (the prince of Shechem), told his day to arrange a marriage with Dinah for him. Jacob tried to keep this from Dinah’s brothers; but, while the king was there with Jacob, the boys came in from the fields and heard about the rape. Schechem wanted to make a deal for her to be his wife. The guys had a trick up their sleeves and told the men of Schechem that the only way they’d go through with it was if the men of Schechem were all cicumcized. They agreed; so, after they had cut their stuff, Simeon and Levi went into the city and killed all the men while they were “sore.” Jacob was mad that they took revenge like this; but, in a famous line in the Bible, they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”

*God spoke to Jacob directly and told him to purify himself and his family (get rid of idols, etc.). God blessed Jacob and told him that his new name would be Israel. The cool thing about this is that HE gets the blessing directly.

*Rachel died shortly thereafter, giving birth to her second son (Jacob’s 12th son), Benjamin.

*Out of nowhere, we get a litle anecdote that Rueben (the oldest son) decides to sleep with Bilhah, his father’s concubine (a couple of his brothers’ mom…weird!).

*Jacob finally visited his father again, and Isaac died soon after that.

*Esau’s family got huge, so he went off to live farther away from Jacob in Edom. Have fun reading the list of all the people in his family. I’m sure this would have meant a lot to the people at the time…it’d kinda be like, “Oh, so that’s where Louisianna came from!” But, to us, we don’t really care.]

It just so happens, that I have an expert in the Joseph story with me today as I do this…so…I will infuse my thoughts with Logan’s (since he was in “Jospeh and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”):

1. Joseph was a bit of a tattle tale.
2. Preferential treatment…Jacob loved Joseph more. I don’t know how that coat became a “technicolor” dreamcoat in the musical. My favorite version of the Bible says it was a “varicolored tunic.” Have you ever had a sibling with something cooler than what your parents gave you?
3. So, yeah, the brothers are ticked at Joseph…
4. I wonder why the brothers hated these dreams? Yeah…so…they’ll all bow down to me! What’s the problem? No problem if you’re Joseph.
5. Interesting that dad chewed him out for telling the dream, but it says that he kept it all in his mind. Hmm…I’m sure he doesn’t like the idea of bowing to his son, but at least he respects God enough to know that it could be from him (he did have a wrestling match with God…B.W.E.)
6. Joseph gets sent to check on his brothers…where? In Schechem. Where were they? In Dothan. What were they doing there?
7. Nice brothers, they want to kill him. Reuben rises up and says not to kill him (he was planning on going back to get him later). But, they mugged him and tore up his varicolored tunic and threw him into the pit. Geez. I used to get in fights with my brothers…but not this bad!
8. They sat around and had a meal while their brother was sitting in the bottom of a pit! That’s cruel!
9. Ishmaelites (yeah…the descendants of Ishmael) rolled up, and they decided to sell him to them; and Joseph was on his way to Egypt.
10. Apparently, at some point, Reuben didn’t stick around for lunch, because he went back to rescue Joseph; and he was already gone. One, he was trying to rescue him. But, two, as the oldest brother, he is responsible. So…they hatch the plan to dip his robe in blood and say that it was a wild beast that got him.
11. When they get back, it’s CSI Shechem…Jacob looks at the robe and they ask if it is “[his] son’s robe.” Not our brothers…his sons. They didn’t even acknowledge him as their brother.
12. You don’t even want to visualize what an old man in sackcloth looks like. But…it means that he was mourning for his dead son. When he says that he will go down to Sheol mourning–Sheol is like Hades or Hell…he’s basically saying that his life is over now that Joseph’s life is over.
13. To be continued…Joseph is sold to an Egyptian nobleman, Potiphar.

That’s a lot.

What do you think about?

Jacob’s treament of Joseph
The way Joseph handles his dreams
The way Reuben handles the “plot”
The behavior of all the other brothers

d20 Reuniting with Esau
April 27, 2007, 5:44 pm
Filed under: asher, bilhah, dan, dinah, esau, gad, genesis, god, issachar, jacob, joseph, judah, laban, leah, levi, naphtali, rachel, reuben, simeon, zebulun, zilpah

Read Genesis 32:1 – 33:16.

[Stuff we’re skipping over…

*Leah was a baby-making machine. Rachel was barren. It says that God did this because of how badly Leah was treated by Jacob. Leah has boy #1, Reuben. Leah has boy #2, Simeon. Leah has boy #3, Levi. And, Leah has boy #4, Judah. Like I said, baby-making machine.

*Rachel blames Jacob for not being able to have kids. Jacob says that’s God’s deal, not his. She gives him her servant, Bilhah, to make babies. Bilhah had boy #5, Dan. Bilhah had boy #6, Naphtali.

*Leah got jealous, so she let Jacob get with her maidservant, Zilpah. Zilpah had boy #7, Gad. Zilpah had boy #8, Asher.

*There’s also an interesting story in which Rachel trades one night with Jacob for some stuff (mandrakes) that apparently makes it more possible to conceive. Great idea. Only problem, Leah gets pregnant on that “one night” and gives Jacob boy #9, Issachar. And she had boy #10, Zebulun. Oh…and she had a daughter, Dinah, for good measure.

*Finally, Rachel gets a kid of her own; boy #11 is Joseph.

*Jacob wants to leave, and he makes a deal to get some sheep for all his trouble. Jacob basically works it so that he breeds stronger sheep for himself and weaker sheep for Laban. The trickster got it done again.

*This ticked off Laban and his sons, so God told Jacob to leave ASAP. Jacob told his wives it was time to go, and he headed for the hills. But, for some reason, Rachel steals Laban’s household god statues (apparently they weren’t followers of the Lord). Anyway, Jacob snuck out (trickster!), but Laban came looking for him. When he caught up with Jacob, he asked what the deal was (he would have thrown a going away party? yeah right!), and he said that Jacob stole his statues. Jacob said he would kill whoever stole them. So…they searched each tent for the gods, and Rachel sat with the gods hidden under a saddle in a tent. When her dad told her to get up, she said that she was (lie of all lies) on her PERIOD?!? At this point, they chewed each other out, and made a deal not to interfere with each other ever again.]

Yowza…that was a lot…

1. What do you think of Jacob’s “gift basket” for Esau? How do you think he should have responded?
2. What would you be thinking if you knew that the brother who wanted to kill you was showing up with 400 men! Oh, yeah, well Jacob had…um…well…4 ladies, some servants, and 12 kids? Uh oh…
3. This situation brings Jacob to his knees. He prays. Why do you think that it takes people stressful situations to finally go to God?
4. So…Jacob sends a “bribe” to his brother (please don’t kill me…please don’t kill me). I like how he sent the gifts in waves.
5. At this point, he’s sent his family away; and he is alone. And what happens? A “man” wrestles with him all night, knocking his hip out of joint. The “man” tells Jacob to let him go, but Jacob says he won’t let go until he’s blessed. Any thoughts on this part?
6. The “man” changes Jacob’s name to Israel (yeah…like the country named after him). From now on his name will mean “struggles with God.” Ironic. Do you find your faith to be a struggle or a wrestling match somtimes?
7. Jacob deduces that this “man” must have been God. Wow.
8. He bowed seven times…total submission…and then…
9. Esau runs up to him and kisses him and embraces him. Wow. I didn’t see that coming. Maybe God had Jacob’s back?
10. What do you think Jacob meant when he said that seeing Esau was like seeing the face of God? Interesting statement since he literally just saw the face of God the night before. What do you think he meant?
11. They part ways happily.

Sorry about the lateness of this post. I hope everyone has a chance to look at it though, because I know there is a lot of good stuff in these chapters. Joseph, the 11th son, the son of Rachel is going to be the focus coming up.