Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Week 10

Summary notes from Week 10 of A Woman Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place

We complete our series this week by looking back at the Old Testament tabernacle and marveling that God would choose to dwell with his creation on earth!

God shared a vision of His heavenly dwelling when He created the Garden of Eden and placed the 1st Adam within it. When the Garden was lost, God again pursued man by providing instructions for building the tabernacle and filling it with His presence (Exodus 40:34; I Kings 8:10-11). Sadly, His presence did not remain with man until the last Adam, Jesus Christ, came to earth to fulfill God’s plan for salvation. After His crucifixion and resurrection, the promise of Christ was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit filled the believers and the church was born (Acts 2:2-4). At that moment, our lampstands were lit by the all-consuming fire of God, and each of us became the temples of God on earth.

Rest assured that there will be a final dwelling place of God with man, but this temple will not have 4 walls. Revelation 21 gloriously describes God’s finished plan: a New Jerusalem descending from heaven, in the perfect shape of a cube (recall that the Holy of Holies was also a perfect cube), made of pure gold as clear as glass, with entrances on all sides. And the temple? John tells us, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:22) New creation to new creation, an eternal Eden.

Let us recall all of the ways that Christ fulfilled each holy element of the Old Testament tabernacle:

Christ is the Door

  • I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

Christ is both the High Priest and the Sacrifice

  • He has no need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifice daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once and for all when he offered up himself. (Hebrews 7:27)

Christ is the Lampstand

  • I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)

Christ is the Bread of the Presence

  • I am the bread of life whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

Christ is the Altar of Incense

  • Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

Christ is the Veil

  • …by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh. (Hebrews 10:20)

Christ is the Mercy Seat

  • …whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25-26)

Christ is the Tabernacle!

  • And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Viewer Guide answers (pages 220 & 221 of your study book):

Solomon’s Temple; Christ; Believers’ Temples
Part I
The Tabernacle, cloud, filled, fire; The temple, filled, glory; The church, heaven, filled, fire, filled; tabernacle, temple, church, temple
Part 2
finished; shape (cube), material (gold); final temple; Eden

Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Week 9

Summary notes from Week 9 of A Woman Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place

Imagine Israel’s joy and excitement as they watched the finishing touches placed on the tabernacle! Had everything been prepared and constructed perfectly in accordance with God’s instructions? Would God approve?

Moses demonstrated exact obedience in preparing the sanctuary for God’s presence. Exodus 40 tells us over and over again that all preparations were made “as the LORD had commanded Moses.” (vs. 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, and 32) The strict instruction of God to make the tabernacle “exactly as I show you” could never have been far from Moses’ mind.

Finally, after Moses had finished the work, “the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34) The Hebrew word for “filled” can also be translated as satisfy, fulfill, accomplish, or complete (BDB Hebrew Dictionary). Recall God’s promise to Jeremiah, “I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” (Jeremiah 1:12) Word Biblical Commentary says that there is a notion of impatience or anxious expectation associated with the Hebrew word for “watching” in this verse.

Can you imagine? God was watching and waiting with anxious expectation for His word to be fulfilled and for His glorious presence to complete the work of the tabernacle. His perfect will was satisfied and He could dwell with His people! Even when the tabernacle moved from a tent in the desert to the lavish permanent dwelling of Solomon’s temple, God chose to fill the temple with His presence (2 Chronicles 5:14).

Sadly, the glory of God did not remain with His people. The book of Ezekiel describes the prophet’s vision of the departure of the glory of God from the temple that would occur when Jerusalem fell into captivity. First, Ezekiel sees the glory of God move from the Holy of Holies to the inner court (10:3), and then to the threshold of the temple (10:4). As God moved, His cherubim moved with Him, and the sound of their wings could be clearly heard (10:5). The New International Commentary of the Old Testament describes a restlessness in the sound of the wings as though the cherubim were gathering to depart. Ezekiel then sees the glory of God move to the entrance at the east side of the temple (10:19), and finally to above the mountain east of the temple (11:23). In Scripture, the mountain to the east of the temple is always the Mount of Olives.

Did the glory of God ever return to the temple? The next great temple was Herod’s; however, there is no description of God’s glory filling this temple in the way described in Exodus and 2 Chronicles. That is, until the 8th day in the life of the infant Jesus. Luke 2 tells us how, on the day that Jesus was presented at the temple, the man Simeon immediately recognized Jesus as “your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32)

And now we, as saved believers in Christ, can look forward with anxious expectation to the return of the glory of God. Just as Christ ascended into heaven in a cloud from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:8), we have received the promise that “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) The prophet Zechariah describes this phenomenal event: “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley.” (Zechariah 14:4)

Come Lord Jesus!

Viewer Guide answers (pages 200 & 201 of your study book):

  1. preparation; obedience, exactly; finish
  2. filling; rest, abide shekinah
  3. transfer
  4. departure; inner threshold; east gate; mountain east
  5. Herod’s; glory; Israel
  6. return

Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Week 8

Summary notes from Week 8 of A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place

Our journey into the tabernacle has now led us through the Holy Place (the home of the Golden Lampstand, the table for the Bread of Presence, and the Altar of Incense) into the innermost chamber, the Most Holy Place. Here we find the Ark of the Covenant, the most important object in the tabernacle proper. Covering the Ark was the mercy seat of pure gold with cherubim on either end, facing each other with their wings spread out above. At this very place God promised, “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.” (Exodus 25:22)

Remember that only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place, and only once a year on the Day of Atonement. The glory of God’s presence in the Most Holy Place was so powerful that it had to first be concealed by smoke from the incense placed under the heavy veil before the Priest entered or he would be killed. Israel believed that the Ark of the Covenant was the footstool of God on earth. (I Chronicles 28:2; Isaiah 66:1)

How do we as Christians find our way through the veil and into the very presence of God?

We accept the invitation offered to us by the shed blood of Christ. “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh…” (Hebrews 10:19-20) The flesh of our savior, both bruised and crushed, became the veil torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51), providing us with free access to the heart of God.

We recognize that our salvation is guaranteed and we rest on the security of an unchanging and immutable God. “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:17-20)

Viewer Guide answers (pages 180 & 181 of your study book):
  1. anchor, veil; promise; oath, confirmed
  2. invitation; confidence, authorization, access; new, living, similar, different, freshly killed, freshness, revelation

Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Week 7

Summary notes from Week 7 of A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place

This week we departed briefly from examining the different objects in the tabernacle to take a closer look at the holy priesthood. We saw how the New Testament book of Hebrews devotes a great deal of text to revealing Jesus Christ as the Great High Priest foreshadowed in the Old Testament. In particular, careful exegesis (critical analysis or interpretation) of Hebrews 7:25 reveals profound and moving truths about the position of Christ as both High Priest and intercessor at the right hand of God.

An important part of exegesis is understanding the context of the portion of text in question. We can accomplish this by backing up to read Hebrews 7:11-24. Here we learn that perfection was unattainable through either the Levitical priesthood or through the Law. Therefore, there was not only a need for a change in the Law, but also the need for another priest to arise in the likeness of Melchizedek (for further thoughts on Melchizedek see this post). This priest, however, would not be of the line of Aaron as priests traditionally came, but of the tribe of Judah — this priest was Jesus Christ. Jesus would not be a priest on the basis of the Law (a legal requirement), but “by the power of an indestructible life.” (7:16) He would be “a better hope…through which we draw near to God” (7:19) and “the guarantor of a better covenant.” (7:22)

So what does Hebrews tell us about the role of Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest? “Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (7:25) Let’s move further through the process of exegesis to look at the key underlined words in this verse.

“He is able“: The word able (Greek: “dunamai”) means “is powerful to.” Jesus Christ is fully empowered to carry out the role assigned to Him from before the foundations of the world (I Peter 1:20 Ephesians 1:4).

“to save“: The word save (Greek: “sozo”) means “to deliver, protect, heal, preserve, be or make whole.” The salvation provided by Christ is complete, providing deliverance, protection, healing, preservation, and wholeness.

“to the uttermost“: The word uttermost (Greek: “panteles”) is made up of two Greek words “pas” meaning “all” and “telos” meaning “completion.” Further, the word “telos” is from the root word “tello” meaning “to set out for a definite goal, result, or purpose.” Not only is the salvation provided by Christ whole and complete, this salvation is at all times, in all cases, and has a definite end result and purpose. This Greek phrase is used only one other time in Scripture, in Luke 13:11, where the woman who had been bent over with a disabling spirit for 18 years received complete and immediate healing in front of the rulers in the synagogue.

“He always lives“: The phrase “always lives” (Greek: “pantote zao”) means “has life always, at all times, forevermore.” Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise in Psalm 110:4 in that He would “[hold] His priesthood permanently, because He continues forever.” (Hebrews 7:24) And we are further guaranteed that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He will never change.

“make intercession“: The word intercession (Greek: “entugchano”) means “to confer with, entreat in favor or against, deal with.” We are told in Romans 8:27 that this intercession is according to God’s will. This intercession is a result of reflection and deliberation and is not only consistent with God’s will and word, but is also consistent with the purposes that God holds for us.

Our salvation is a process. Yes, we are saved once and forever when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and we can never be snatched out of His hand (John 10:28). But our salvation is also continual by the very nature of the eternal existence of Christ Himself — He has saved us, He is saving us, and He will continue to save us until we are finally with Him in the heavenly kingdom. Further, although we know that our salvation is secure, we can rest knowing that our purposes, our spiritual gifts, and the paths that lie before us in this life are being deliberated upon and discussed in the heavenly realm. Praise God!

*Note: Greek definitions are from Strong’s Greek Dictionary.

Viewer Guide answers (pages 158 & 159 of your study book):

  • save, uttermost, liveth, intercession

Part 1

  • protect, heal, whole; all, completion, definite, goal, purpose; utterly, quite; at all, completely

Part 2

  • will; reflections, first stage, thought, final; spiritual gifts

Notes from a Woman’s Heart – Week 6

Summary notes from Week 6 of A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place

This past week we moved further into the Holy Place and studied the second altar within the tabernacle: the golden altar of incense. Positioned in front of the heavy veil, the altar of incense was the site where the priests made atonement for Israel’s sin once every year with the blood from the sin offering (Exodus 30:10). While there was no “sacrifice” made on the altar of incense per se, the same word for altar (in Hebrew: “mizbeah”) is used for both the bronze altar and the altar of incense. Why? Because the only fire used for the altar of incense was from the bronze altar — whose coals had on them the blood of the sacrifice. Any other fire was “strange fire.”

The smoke of the incense burning on the altar represented prayers being offered up to God. The apostle John was given a vision of the altar of incense that exists in the heavenly kingdom where an angel “was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God…” (Revelation 8:3). The Scriptures tell us that it is Christ who lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25), presenting our prayers, petitions, and praise to God while sitting at His right hand.

Luke 1: 5-25 tells the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, who were righteous and blameless before God but had no children. Zechariah travels to Herod’s temple to serve his priestly duties as well as complete the special task of offering the yearly sacrifice on the altar of incense. There he is met by the angel Gabriel who proclaims that Zechariah’s prayer has been heard and Elizabeth would bear for them a son. We do not know if this was Zechariah’s prayer at the moment, or a prayer from years ago. But we are assured that God hears and answers prayer, although the answer may be realized much later in the future. In fact, the name Zechariah means “the Lord remembers.”

Jesus tells us that God always hears our prayers (John 11:42). The apostle Paul exhorts us to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17) and encourages us to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

May we be encouraged to build a powerful and effective prayer life! And may we be confident that our intimacy with God will grow immensely as we approach Him knowing “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18.)

Viewer Guide answers (pages 134 & 135 of your study book):

  • sacrifice
  • prayer
  1. blamelessness; have no
  2. Gabriel
  3. afraid, prayer, heard
  4. Lord, done this for me

Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Week 5

Summary notes from Week 5 of A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place

If last week was my favorite week of Bible study yet, this week might have been the most challenging. We have now entered the Holy Place, the area beyond the first curtain of the tabernacle that contains both the Golden Lampstand and the table of the Bread of Presence. I am overwhelmed by the rich, deep meaning and intricate symbolism of the Golden Lampstand. I really don’t know if I could ever reach the bottom of its meaning! I am grateful for the promise: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:12)

The lampstand is another object in the tabernacle fashioned according to God’s explicit instructions. It was hammered out of 75 pounds of pure gold. There were 7 branches, each with multiple almond buds, blossoms, and fruit. Every stage of the growth of the almond branch was represented on the lampstand: springtime, summer, and harvest. As with all other aspects of the tabernacle, the lampstand was a shadow of a heavenly reality. Many scholars believe that the lampstand represented the tree of life that existed in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) and exists eternally in the heavenly kingdom (Revelation 22:2).

What is the significance of the almond branch? God gives us a glimpse of the meaning in His call of the prophet Jeremiah, when God shows Jeremiah a vision of an almond branch. God asks Jeremiah, “What do you see?” Jeremiah replies, “I see an almond (in Hebrew: “shaqed”) branch.” God answers him, “You have seen well, for I am watching (in Hebrew: “shaqad”) over my word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:11-12) God is playing on words in Hebrew and uses the almond branch to illustrate to Jeremiah that He is watching to see that His word is fulfilled (NIV translation). How does God see His word fulfilled in us? When we remain in the true vine of Christ and bear fruit. “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:5,8)

God instructed that each of the 7 lamps on the lampstand were to burn continually with pure, pressed olive oil brought by the Israelites themselves (Leviticus 24:2). What is the symbolism behind the use of olive oil? Before His betrayal and arrest, Jesus went to a place at the foot of the Mount of Olives called Gethesemane (in Hebrew: “oil press”). Jesus described his overwhelming distress to His disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.” (Mark 14:34) There in the garden, He fell to the ground under the full weight of His humanity, praying to God, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…” (Matthew 26:39) Our Lord entered His darkest period, pressed from all sides, as the pure oil of sacrifice.

May we rejoice as we consider the Golden Lampstand, burning continually to cast its glow and light our way behind the heavy veil to the entrance of the Holy of Holies.

Viewer Guide answers (pages 112 & 113 of your study book):

  1. echo, Eden, Garden of Eden; cherubim, bar, God’s presence
  2. branches, buds, blossoms; time, springtime, summer; harvest; all at once, time
  3. almond flowers, watch, watchful, vigilant; earliest
  4. combined imagery
  5. tend, continually

Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Week 4

Summary notes from Week 4 of A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place

This is my favorite week yet of this Bible study! I am amazed and humbled at the realization that not only is every aspect of the Altar of Sacrifice in the tabernacle significant, but every element represented Jesus Christ. To realize that this knowledge is right there on the pages of Exodus fills me with joy that God is endlessly revealing His mysteries to us in His word.

We now find the Israelites beginning to construct the tabernacle but they are still moving through the wilderness at God’s prompting, following His pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. The tabernacle was a mobile structure. The walls of the tabernacle were pure white linen, the linens of the gate were embroidered with the colors blue, purple, and scarlet. There was only one gate through which to enter the tabernacle and it faced the east, reflecting the gate to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24).

God specifically located the tribes of Israel at different locations around the tabernacle. The group to the west of the tabernacle was the smallest (~108,000), the groups to the north and south of the tabernacle were slightly larger and approximately the same size (~150,000), and the group to the east of the tabernacle was the largest (186,400). The people remained in these locations and, when the camp picked up and moved, the tribe of Judah, located at the east in front of the gate, moved first. Can you picture this? The tribes formed a cross moving through the wilderness!

What was the Altar of Sacrifice? Positioned between the gate and the door of the tabernacle, it was the first structure one would have encountered upon entering. The altar was made of acacia wood, known for its ability to resist decay. This type of wood was also known for bearing large, sharp thorns. Like the acacia wood of the Altar of Sacrifice, the body of Christ never saw decay (Acts 2:27) and He bore a crown of thorns as He was made the sacrifice for our sins (Matthew 27:29).

God instructed that the altar should be hollow but the inside should be filled with earth (Exodus 27:8; 20:24). Recall that the word “Adam” in Hebrew means “groundling” or “of the ground.” The symbolism here shows us that, before Christ accomplished His work on the cross, the blood that poured from the sacrifices on the altar soaked into the ground to atone for man’s sin. We know that there could never have been enough blood to accomplish this task — until Christ shed His blood for all mankind.

A horn was placed at each corner of the altar, to both tie down the sacrifices and serve as a place where those seeking the protection of God could flee (I Kings 1:50-53). Jesus, the “horn” of our salvation (Luke 1:69) would provide us with eternal refuge in His salvation.

Do not forget that every aspect of the tabernacle, including the Altar of Sacrifice, was a copy of a heavenly reality. God chose to give the prophet Isaiah a glimpse of this reality in a vision in Isaiah 6. In this vision, Isaiah sees the Lord on His throne with His robe filling the temple. Around Him fly seraphim (“burning” or “fiery” ones in Hebrew), beings who continually praise and worship God Almighty. When Isaiah begins to despair at being “a man of unclean lips,” a seraph flies to him and touches him on the lips with a burning coal taken from the altar saying, “…your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” (Isaiah 6:7)

We can be sure that this burning coal was taken from the Altar of Sacrifice. Why? Because there was no atoning power in the coal, or even the altar from which it was taken. The only thing that could atone for sin was the blood that was on the coal — the blood of Christ, shed on the altar of the cross. How awesome to see Christ revealed on the pages of Isaiah!

Viewer Guide answers (pages 90 & 91 of your study book):

  1. awe
  2. relief; cover, reconciliation, sacrifice
  3. refuge
  4. joy

Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Week 3

Summary notes from Week 3 of A Woman’s Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place

After giving Israel both their freedom from Egypt and their sustenance in the wilderness, God invites the Israelites to participate in the construction of the tabernacle by the giving of a freewill offering. While the amount they could offer was unrestricted and should come “from every man whose heart moves him” (Exodus 25:2b), the items they could offer were very specific (Exodus 25:3-7). The response of the Israelites to the freewill offering was so overwhelming that the giving was halted because there was “much more than enough” (Exodus 26:3-7). Compare these passages in Exodus with Paul’s instructions for freewill offerings in 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. Think about the fact that God’s desire for our freewill offerings as a response to His goodness and provision in our lives has not changed.

We will see in the weeks to come that each of the items God instructed the Israelites to give was very symbolic and there are many reasons why each material was significant. Gold signified rarity and purity and represented God’s deity. Silver represented redemption and atonement. Bronze represented strength and judgment. The precious stones represented God’s children. The blue linens would remind Israel that the tabernacle was from the heavens. The purple linens represented royalty, kingship, and elegance. The scarlet linens represented bloodshed, pain, and sacrifice. And finally, God chose to fill Bezalel, a man from the tribe of Judah, with the Holy Spirit to enable him with the intelligence, ability, knowledge, and craftsmanship necessary to construct the divine sanctuary (Exodus 31:1-11)

But again, Israel was impatient. When Moses did not return from the mountain fast enough they demanded that Aaron create gods for them. Aaron did what they asked yet did not take responsibility for his actions (Exodus 32:24). Israel would soon realize that their grievous sin put their entire relationship with God at risk. God tells Moses that He would no longer be with Israel, as His very presence among them would destroy them in their sinful state (Exodus 33:3-5). At the same time, their sin would allow Moses to have “the most elevated glimpse of God [he] has ever had and will have” (NIV Application Commentary pg. 583).

What was the elevated glimpse of God that Moses was allowed to have?

  • God’s affectability: God gave His creation the ability to affect Him – He permits this to happen (Psalm 30:5a). He is omniscient, yet still participates in the human experience. He felt the effect of Israel’s sin (Exodus 33:1-6).
  • God’s friendship: Moses enjoyed the intimacy of friendship with God. God spoke with Moses face to face (or “presence to presence”) as a man speaks to his friend (Exodus 33:11). Compare this notion of friendship with Jesus’ words in John 15:13-15.
  • God’s presence: God’s presence was to accompany Israel and give them rest (Exodus 33:14) as well as distinguish them from all other peoples (Exodus 33:16). God’s presence meant both comfort and identity. Compare the importance of God’s presence to Israel and the promise of Christ’s presence in John 14:21.
  • God’s glory: God allowed Moses to affect His decision and chose to remain with Israel because His goodness and glory are inseparable and He is a God of compassion (Exodus 33:18-19).

Viewer Guide answers (pages 70 & 71 of your study book):

  1. affectability
  2. friendship
  3. Presence, anxiety; with; significance
  4. glory

Notes from A Woman’s Heart – Week 2

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):

  1. expecting, unexpected
  2. daily relationship
  3. daily, pride, fear

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