Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WONDERFALLS Bible Study Week 11

Episode 11: Cocktail Bunny

Judith 8:11-20
When the officials arrived, Judith said to them,
    Please listen to me. You are the leaders of the people of Bethulia, but you were wrong to speak to the people as you did today. You should not have made a solemn promise before God that you would surrender the town to our enemies if the Lord did not come to our aid within a few days. 12 What right do you have to put God to the test as you have done today? Who are you to put yourselves in God's place in dealing with human affairs? 13 It is the Lord Almighty that you are putting to the test! Will you never learn? 14 There is no way that you can understand what is in the depths of a human heart or find out what a person is thinking. Yet you dare to read God's mind and interpret his thoughts! How can you claim to understand God, the Creator? No, my friends, you must stop arousing the anger of the Lord our God! 15 If he decides not to come to our aid within five days, he still may rescue us at any time he chooses. Or he may let our enemies destroy us. 16 But you must not lay down conditions for the Lord our God! Do you think that he is like one of us? Do you think you can bargain with him or force him to make a decision? 17 No! Instead, we should ask God for his help and wait patiently for him to rescue us. If he wants to, he will answer our cry for help. 18 We do not worship gods made with human hands. Not one of our clans, tribes, towns, or cities has ever done that, even though our ancestors used to do so. 19 That is why God let their enemies kill them and take everything they had. It was a great defeat! 20 But since we worship no other God but the Lord, we can hope that he will not reject us or any of our people.

Jonah 1:1-16
One day the Lord spoke to Jonah son of Amittai. He said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and speak out against it; I am aware of how wicked its people are.” Jonah, however, set out in the opposite direction in order to get away from the Lord. He went to Joppa, where he found a ship about to go to Spain. He paid his fare and went aboard with the crew to sail to Spain, where he would be away from the Lord.
But the Lord sent a strong wind on the sea, and the storm was so violent that the ship was in danger of breaking up. The sailors were terrified and cried out for help, each one to his own god. Then, in order to lessen the danger, they threw the cargo overboard. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone below and was lying in the ship's hold, sound asleep.
The captain found him there and said to him, “What are you doing asleep? Get up and pray to your god for help. Maybe he will feel sorry for us and spare our lives.”
The sailors said to each other, “Let's draw lots and find out who is to blame for getting us into this danger.” They did so, and Jonah's name was drawn. So they said to him, “Now, then, tell us! Who is to blame for this? What are you doing here? What country do you come from? What is your nationality?”
“I am a Hebrew,” Jonah answered. “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made land and sea.” 10 Jonah went on to tell them that he was running away from the Lord.
The sailors were terrified, and said to him, “That was an awful thing to do!” 11 The storm was getting worse all the time, so the sailors asked him, “What should we do to you to stop the storm?”
12 Jonah answered, “Throw me into the sea, and it will calm down. I know it is my fault that you are caught in this violent storm.”
13 Instead, the sailors tried to get the ship to shore, rowing with all their might. But the storm was becoming worse and worse, and they got nowhere. 14 So they cried out to the Lord, “O Lord, we pray, don't punish us with death for taking this man's life! You, O Lord, are responsible for all this; it is your doing.” 15 Then they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea, and it calmed down at once. 16 This made the sailors so afraid of the Lord that they offered a sacrifice and promised to serve him.

Job 30:20-25
I call to you, O God, but you never answer;
    and when I pray, you pay no attention.
21 You are treating me cruelly;
    you persecute me with all your power.
22 You let the wind blow me away;
    you toss me about in a raging storm.
23 I know you are taking me off to my death,
    to the fate in store for everyone.
24 Why do you attack a ruined man,
    one who can do nothing but beg for pity?
25 Didn't I weep with people in trouble
    and feel sorry for those in need?

1 Kings 21:1-16
Near King Ahab's palace in Jezreel there was a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth. One day Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard; it is close to my palace, and I want to use the land for a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard for it or, if you prefer, I will pay you a fair price.”
“I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors,” Naboth replied. “The Lord forbid that I should let you have it!”
Ahab went home, depressed and angry over what Naboth had said to him. He lay down on his bed, facing the wall, and would not eat. His wife Jezebel went to him and asked, “Why are you so depressed? Why won't you eat?”
He answered, “Because of what Naboth said to me. I offered to buy his vineyard or, if he preferred, to give him another one for it, but he told me that I couldn't have it!”
“Well, are you the king or aren't you?” Jezebel replied. “Get out of bed, cheer up, and eat. I will get you Naboth's vineyard!”
Then she wrote some letters, signed Ahab's name to them, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the officials and leading citizens of Jezreel. The letters said: “Proclaim a day of fasting, call the people together, and give Naboth the place of honor. 10 Get a couple of scoundrels to accuse him to his face of cursing God and the king. Then take him out of the city and stone him to death.”
11 The officials and leading citizens of Jezreel did what Jezebel had commanded. 12 They proclaimed a day of fasting, called the people together, and gave Naboth the place of honor. 13 The two scoundrels publicly accused him of cursing God and the king, and so he was taken outside the city and stoned to death. 14 The message was sent to Jezebel: “Naboth has been put to death.”
15 As soon as Jezebel received the message, she said to Ahab, “Naboth is dead. Now go and take possession of the vineyard which he refused to sell to you.” 16 At once Ahab went to the vineyard to take possession of it.

Why does Jaye ‘torture’ the wax lion?
(Note: She’s trying to get the lion to reveal the reasons why everything is happening around her.)

Reflect on this quote: “tell me there’s a reason.”

What does Judith say about trying to force God to reveal His mind to us?
 (Note: She says it is a waste of time, since we cannot even understand our own mind, much less 

How do the people try to ‘hold themselves hostage’ before God?
(Note: They think that if they are in mortal danger, that God will save them anyways, so it is no use to actually try to do anything at all.)

What does Judith think about this?
(Note: She sees it as presumptuous, as if anyone could actually know God’s mind.)

What has become of Jaye? Where has everything taken her to this point?
(Note: She is a broken person, lost as to where she is or what she wants. Her missions are now causing her great pain, and she doesn’t understand. What hurts her most is the lack of understanding. She is so lost that she’s actually opening up to the therapist.)

Reflect on this quote: “he’s praying, and you know how he feels about that sort of thing.”

What does it say that Aaron is praying?
(Note: Obviously, Aaron’s views on things have radically changed. He’s a very different person than he was at the beginning of it all.)

What was the result of Jonah’s running from God, for the men on the ship? What is the significance of this change?
(Note: Jonah brought the men to God, they are now praying to Jonah’s God. It is ironic, because Jonah had been running from a mission to bring God’s Word to Gentiles, and that is exactly what he ends up doing.)

Reflect on this quote: “you’ll never get rid of all of us.”
(Note: The animals are not Jaye’s problem, but rather the Force behind them all. And that Force is not something Jaye can escape.)

How does Jonah try to run from God?
(Note: He tries to sail as far from God’s Temple as he possibly can.)

Why, do you think, Jonah believed this would work?
(Note: Jonah thinks God literally lives in the Temple, and that the Temple is real locus of God’s activity and power. But God is no more limited to the Temple than Fate is limited to the animals Jaye has in her house.)

How does God respond to this running away?
(Note: He creates a giant storm that stops the ship.)

How is Jaye’s situation similar to Jonah’s?
(Note: Jaye, too, is trying to escape the animals in various ways, to run from all that is happening to her. But the storm around her is just growing.)

How does Jaye see the events that have happened to her, according to her conversation with the doctor?
(Note: She thinks about the promotion, and then various conversations that led to the conversations with the animals, who wear her down and force her to do what she wants.)

Reflect on this quote: “Do you do everything [the animals] tell you to do…even if it causes you pain?’

What concerns Jaye’s parents about her situation? What do you think of these concerns?
(Note: They are worried that her episodes are indicative of a broad psychological disorder. They are concerned for her safety, but they also worry about how this reflects on them. They are good people, if a little self-centered.)

What do you think of Jaye putting on a brave face for her parents and others?
(Note: She isn’t doing a very good job of it.)

What is the scene like where Mahandra holds her as she grieves?
(Note: It is beautiful. Mahandra obviously cares about Jaye.)

What kind of service is it to grieve with a person?
(Note: The highest we can possibly know.)

What does it say that Job lists this as proof of his virtue?
(Note: It is a virtue that Job gave to others, that was not returned to him. The people around Job are trashing him in his suffering.)

Reflect on this quote: “my sins have been paid for.”
(Note: Heidi is full of it. She’s trying to salve her conscience. She wants to feel everything is alright.)

What do you think of Heidi’s attitude towards Jaye?
(Note: She is a nasty person. She is blaming Jaye for her problems, which are all her own fault.)

What kind of person is she?

Reflect on this in light of the Job passage.
(Note: Heidi is a terrible person who is winning. Job was a good person who lost. Jaye is a not-great person who lost because she did the right thing. Irony abounds.)

Why does Jaye react as she does to Aaron’s ‘shrine’?
(Note: She trusted Aaron to destroy these things, and instead he’s using them for his own ends. She wanted him to help her get rid of the problem, when he doesn’t see it as a ‘problem’ at all, but something he wants for himself. Is this selfish spirituality?)

What was Aaron doing with the shrine?
(Note: He was looking for evidence of the animals coming to life.)

What do you think of this?
(Note: Again, Aaron is looking the wrong place. The power is not in the animals, at all. Jaye is where the study needs to take place.)

How does Judith’s exposition reveal the difficulties of dealing with a God like Yahweh?
(Note: God does what God wants to do. You can’t figure it out simply, or contain it in some exact formula. There is no straightforward A-B-C route to getting where God wants you to go.)

What is the evil of framing someone? Why is watching it on film so particularly abhorrent?
(Note: To inflict injustice on another while hurting someone else is a compounded sin. The idea of getting pleasure from it, seeing someone else hurt for what you did, it is disturbing.)

What did ‘salvation’ mean for Jonah?
(Note: It meant living, surviving.)

What did it mean for Jaye?
(Note: It means understanding why things are happening the way they are.)

How did Jonah bring salvation to various people in spite of himself?
(Note: The sailors are brought to God as Jonah runs from him, the Ninevites are saved from destruction and change their ways despite Jonah’s hatred of them and God’s unambiguous warning to them.)

How did Jaye?
(Note: Jaye saved the psychologist though she was only focused on Eric and her own problem, she brought many people to an awareness that there may be something more to life than they thought.)

Reflect on this quote: “why me? Why do you talk to me?”

How and why could Jonah and Job have asked these same questions?
(Note: Jonah was a bad guy who had no reason to be chosen by God. Job knew God was there but God’s behavior makes God inscrutable to him. They both have very different reasons for asking the same question: “Why?”)

What do you think of the monkey’s answer?
(Note: It is perfect. There is something special about Jaye, but it is not that she is good, or smart, or capable. It is that she attuned. But the question is: “WHY is SHE attuned?” The monkey answered without really answering.)

How would this appeal to the Biblical prophets as well? How does this enlighten the lives of people like Job and Jonah?
(Note: The only thing that really sets prophetic figures apart, and the only thing that they have in common is that they can hear the voice of God. But why could they hear Him?)

Reflect on Jaye’s mother’s conversation with the killer.
(Note: Jaye’s mother is brilliant and wise. She says just the right things to the killers, realizes her own shortcomings. She opens up and makes herself vulnerable and thereby saves the day. Her statements about the profundity of life and her own penitence maker her monologue very moving.)

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