Summary notes from Week 2 of A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place
The Israelites find themselves in the wilderness, a solitary and vast desert landscape, filled with their own bitterness that they had been removed from the relative richness and luxury of Egypt. How quickly they had forgotten their lives as slaves, and how they “groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God.” (Exodus 2:23). How did God respond to the cry of His people? He was true to His name (“I AM WHO I AM “) and moved Israel into the wilderness with a promise of fellowship with Him. “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.” (Exodus 2:24-25)
God allowed Israel to taste their own bitterness when they were desperate with thirst. After 3 days without water, they finally came upon the water of Marah only to find that it was completely undrinkable. God illustrates Himself as the Healer of bitterness by showing Moses a log that would sweeten the water when thrown in, and leading Israel to the relief of the palms and springs of Elim. However, this healing came with a command for Israel to “diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statues…” (Exodus 15:26)
Israel’s grumbling continued in the wilderness of Sin, as they hungered for the full pots and full bellies of their past life in Egypt. God responded by providing manna (“man-hu” in Hebrew, meaning “what is it”) each day as the morning dew faded. Explicit instructions accompanied this bread from heaven: that they should only gather as much as they could eat for the day and not store it up, for the provision would perfectly meet their need. Not only that, but the provision on the 6th day (“lehem mishnah” in Hebrew, meaning “double the bread”) would be enough to allow for rest and observance of the holy Sabbath, which God had first introduced in Genesis 2 but had not instituted as part of law (“Torah” in Hebrew, meaning “law” or “instruction”) until Exodus 16:23.
God’s miracle of daily manna illustrates His desire for a daily relationship with His people. His provision was inviting them into His presence, and was not about creating dependency on Him but rather about creating depth of relationship. The freshness of the daily manna and their inability to store it up without consequences illustrated that God expected Israel to seek Him daily to meet their needs.
We serve a God who pursues us with passion each and every day. He is more than able to meet our need, and is vastly more than able to meet our want. He seeks relationship with us yet remains a mystery. “Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11b). So how do we respond? We respond based on who He tells us He is – knowing that we must seek in order to find (Matthew 7:7), that He grants to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3), and that we must get out of our tents and gather up what He so graciously and mercifully provides (Exodus 16:16).
Viewer Guide answers (pages 48 & 49 of your study book):
daily, pride, fear