Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Week 1

Summary notes from Week 1 of A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place 

After the fall, God’s word tells us that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5-6). Apart from fellowship with God, the human heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17: 9-10) God’s answer to this increasing corruption on the earth was to confuse our language and scatter humankind throughout the earth. (Genesis 11:7-8)

Yet even though we were no longer in Eden, and our wickedness and corruption grieved the very heart of God (Genesis 6:6), God still pursued us for fellowship with Him! This was the reason behind God’s command to Moses to “let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.” (Exodus 25:8-9)

Even more exciting, we can see amazing evidence of how God preached the gospel of Christ “beforehand” (reference Galatians 3:8) to both Abraham and Moses (this is so amazing to me!):

Consider the following details in the story of Abram/Abraham:

1. God’s covenant with Abram: “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3)

2. God’s test of Abraham regarding the sacrifice of his son Isaac: “He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:2)

• This is the first instance of the word “love” in the Bible, and is used to describe the unique feeling of a father towards his only son.

3. Isaac’s question and Abraham’s response: “And Isaac said to his father Abraham, … ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.'” (Genesis 22:7-8)

• God does provide for himself the lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) because this is how much he loves the world (John 3:16).

4. God provides a sacrifice instead of Isaac: “And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns…So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The LORD will provide’…” (Genesis 22:13-14)

• Many sources say that the thicket described in this passage was likely a thornbush. The prophet Zechariah spoke of Jesus as “the horn of salvation for us” (Luke 1:69). God did provide a sacrifice instead of us, the horn of our salvation whose head was also wrapped in thorns.

Consider the following details in the story of God revealing His Name to Moses:

1. God’s initial call of Moses: “And he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” (Exodus 3: 6)

• God initially reveals His identity in terms of Israel’s forefathers, the Patriarchs. He sets the stage so Moses and the people of Israel will recognize that He is already in relationship with them as a people.

2. God’s continued explanation of His identity: “Then the LORD said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry…I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them…” (Exodus 3: 7-8)

• God continues to reveal Himself with the details of His pursuit of the people of Israel.

3. Moses’ question to God and God’s response: “Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM…This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.'” (Exodus 3:13-14, 15)

• God is not being intentionally vague here or providing a riddle for Moses to solve. In Hebrew, the last part of this name “WHO I AM” is similar to using an active verb form (like adding -ing to the end of a verb, ex. “talking”or “running”). God is describing himself by His actions and these actions are continual. Not only that, but this is His name forever and His name will always mean all of these things.

• And what are His actions? One could say He is seeing, He is hearing, He is knowing, and He is coming down to save (vs 7-8). 

This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. God sees us in our sin, He hears our prayers for mercy, He knows our hearts, and He comes down to save us through the sacrifice of His only son, Jesus. He does this now and forever.

Viewer Guide answers (pages 28 & 29 of your study book):

  1. tree, river, mountain
  2. serve, wilderness; walking back, forth, presence, tabernacle; work, care, Eden, tabernacle; naked, crafty
  3. visible earth, visible heavens, dwelling of God

Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Introductory Session

Summary notes from the Introductory Session to A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place

In the Introductory Session, we focused on Exodus 25:8-9 where God provides the following instruction to Moses: “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell [Hebrew: “tabernacle”] in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.”

This scripture reminds us of the amazing fact that God is in absolute, relentless, pursuit of his creation. God pursued Adam even after his disobedience in the garden (“Where are you?” Genesis 3:9). God desired a dwelling place with man and showed Moses specifically how this could happen through the tabernacle. Even now, He is continually in pursuit of us! No matter who we are, where we are, or what season of life we find ourselves, God is pursuing relationship with us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The tabernacle is referenced throughout the Bible, from the first mention in Exodus 25 to the last mention in Revelation 21:3. What does the tabernacle provide for the Israelites? Access, approach, worship, and the very presence of God. Their attention to every detail of construction would be paramount, and we will see why!

The pattern for the tabernacle that God “caused Moses to see” (Exodus 25:40) on the mountain is literally a copy and shadow of a heavenly reality.  God also caused the apostle John to see the tabernacle in Revelation 15:5, “After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent [tabernacle] of witness in heaven was opened…” We will worship God and Christ for eternity in this heavenly tabernacle.

We also thought about the notion that “awe precedes faith.” May this study of the Old Testament tabernacle increase our wonder and awe of God. And just as God “caused” Moses and John to see and opened their minds to understand, may He open our minds to understand the meaning of the Old Testament tabernacle.

Viewer Guide answers (page 7 of your study book):

  1. wonder, pursuit.  Where are you?
  2. beauty; consistency; verses, devoted, object; caused to see; copy, heavenly, exhibit, imitation, sketch, tracing
  3. glory, Son; open, mind

Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Welcome Notes

I am so blessed to be leading the women’s Bible study at Grace Chapel this semester. We will be going through the Beth Moore study “A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place.” I attended this DVD taping when I lived in Houston and attended Houston’s First Baptist, so I can tell you without a doubt that it is fantastic. I am so excited to think about what the Lord will be teaching us! I can’t wait!

For those of you attending the study at Grace, here are some notes and helpful reminders that I provided to the women at our first meeting:

Study Book

  • While a study book is not required, the lessons are an essential companion to the DVD lesson series and are highly recommended. You will quadruple what you learn of God’s word by using the study book!
  • Each week consists of 5 daily homework lessons that should take approximately 45 minutes each to complete. Many women use their daily quiet time to complete the lessons, or use the lessons as a great way to establish a daily quiet time.
  • Cost of the study book plus shipping and handling is $17. Please do not put your payment in the Sunday offering bag as it may get lost in the shuffle and I need to keep track of those who have paid. Payment can be made by cash or check made out to Grace Chapel. Payment can be made at Bible study.

Monday Meetings

  • This study is 11 weeks long, so we will be meeting every Monday night until March 31. Our meeting time will be 7:30-9:30 pm.
  • Please plan to meet for approximately 2 hours on Mondays to discuss questions from the previous week’s lesson (30-45 minutes) and watch the current week’s DVD lesson (~1 hour). I also want to include time for prayer before and/or after each meeting.

Blog Review

  • For those who may have to miss a Monday meeting, please visit this blog where I plan to summarize the lesson from Monday night. Look for the heading “Notes from A Woman’s Heart” under Categories in the left sidebar. I’ll go over the main points so that you won’t feel lost or behind the following Monday.
  • Please feel free to leave messages or comments on the blog, or contact me by email or telephone anytime.

Feeling the fire

My husband is very fond of a statement that we heard Beth Moore say many times during Sunday morning class at Houston’s First Baptist: “God burns away the fake.” I find that when I am feeling mired in depression, confusion, loneliness, and near desperation for God to make our path clear, that my thoughts often turn to the very strong possibility that God is using the murkiness of our life right now to “burn away the fake.”

What do we want from our life? What do we want from our marriage? Who is God molding us to be in His purpose-plan? And what does it take to get there? Who will we choose to be on this path? How will we respond to God?

There are 2 places in God’s word that are speaking to me clearly about this struggle:

“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (I Corinthians 3:12-15)

“…In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:6-7)

And finally, what prompted this post today, are the lyrics of one of my favorite Nichole Nordeman songs (“Burnin” on the album Wide Eyed 1998):

Started rubbing sticks together

Thought a spark would take forever

Never dreamed this fire would appear 

When Moses saw the bush in flames

And heard the branches speak his name

I wonder if he felt this kind of fear

 

Cuz I’m burnin’, yeah I’m burnin’

And I know I’m gonna blister in these flames

But I’ll stay here till this smoke clears

And I’ll find You in the ashes that remain

 

Used to be that I could say

My faith was one arm’s length away

From any flame that ever felt too warm 

Asked for matches, but I received

A gallon full of gasoline

And now my cozy campfire days are gone 

“Knock with caution at the door,” they said

“Beware of what you’re praying for”

So I’ll stand with my whole desire

In the middle of this forest fire

Till I’ve nothing left to show

And new life begins to grow

A prayer for today 1/4/08

Father God,

You are sovereign over every square inch of my life. Even when I don’t seem to know it or don’t want to admit it. Even when I am so concerned about advancing my own kingdom that I forget that my deepest and greatest desire is to advance Your Kingdom. Thank you for providing sisters in Christ who lift my spirits, provide support and friendship, and remind me that you are present when two or three are gathered together in Your name (Matthew 18:20). Lord, you are everything to me.