Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Week Two--New Starts and Barren Hearts

It's time for another session of Fall Bible Study. We are studying A Woman's Heart:God's Dwelling Place, by Beth Moore. You can go here to find the guidelines--which BTW, are intended to give several options for you to participate. I know there are several people reading along with us and that is great. However, I do I hope that today someone will link up and give us your thoughts on the week's study--particularly if you are using the books and doing the homework. And--I must say this week's homework was easier!

We got a little behind the planned schedule when I had to take a week off--We completed Week Two in my at-home Bible study group on Monday, so that's where we are on the blog. If you post and link you might want to adjust to that schedule for continuity sake . But, you can, of course, just go with the week you are working on yourself. Feel free to grab the button above for your post.

Week Two: New Starts and Barren Hearts

Bible Study Buzz at My House

What a great time we had on Monday night! We were a smaller group than usual but we didn't let that keep us from enjoying the fellowship and study. Hopefully, the missing friends will be back next week.

In order to focus on what the Israelites were experiencing and where they were, we looked at a couple of maps and some pictures. Let's take a look. Here is a map of the the entire Exodus experience. Click on the map to enlarge it.

There is another map (black and white) here that shows the Exodus journey.
A book that I had available for our group Monday night is Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps and Reconstructions. I recommend this book if you are interested in adding to your library of Bible study aids.

I shared with my group some pictures from a trip to Israel that my husband and I were blessed to be able to take in 2000. The desert that I saw on that trip is not where the Israelites were; however it looks similar. The Israelites were in the Wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:1) on what we would call the Sinai Peninsula. My pictures were taken on our trip from Galilee to Jerusalem and in the area near the Dead Sea. Because Israel is not a really large country, these places are relatively close in terms of miles. It will give you an idea of what the Judean desert is like. Check the maps provided above above for reference points. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

These pictures show typical scenes on the trip from Galilee as you travel toward Jerusalem.

This is a scene near where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Note the caves and holes in the side of the hills. There are many openings throughout the hills--very rugged and somewhat treacherous.

Another shot showing the ruggedness of the Judean desert. Just imagine traveling over this land day after day! What a journey the Israelites had!

One last picture for this week. I did not take this one. It is a view taken in the area known as the Wilderness of Sin where the Israelites were traveling. Note the continuous hills. Not a flat desert at all! This is the backdrop for all that the Israelites were experiencing.

Studying God's Word
This is my personal reflection/review/summary of Week Two of A Woman's Heart, by Beth Moore.

As she always does, in this week's lesson Beth leads us through many scripture passages and gives us much food for thought. She helps us to explore connections between Old Testament and New Testament passages. This is just a review/summary. I cannot begin to give you all the meat of that in-depth study. I encourage you to get a book and study along with us if you not already doing that. It is proving to be a rich and rewarding time in The Word.

We will take a look at Beth's "principal questions" as the structure for our review. You can find these on page 30 in your study book.

1. How would you describe the physical surroundings of the wilderness?
Exodus 13-14
The pictures that we have already looked at gave us a pretty good idea of the physical barrenness of the desert. There were endless miles of rock, hills, and bare land. But within the relationship between God and His people we also see physical, visual means by which God revealed himself.

God gave the Israelites some very special, obvious, and vital physical elements as they traveled in the desert. They had constant visual manifestations of the presence of God. Exodus 13:21-22 tells us how God led the Israelites by day as a "pillar of cloud," and gave them light by night as a "pillar of fire." Furthermore the pillar of cloud came between the Israelites and their enemies (Exodus 14:19-31).

Just as God physically came between His people and the Israelite enemies in the desert, He is with us to give us the same protection and security (Psalm 139:1-6).

2. How did God make the bitter water sweet?
Exodus 15
Can you just imagine traveling in the dust and desolation of a desert days on end? Water would certainly become one of your most treasured possessions and something for which you would constantly search. Read Exodus 15 for the story of how the Israelites were experiencing great thirst and in need of refreshing water.

Finally they found water! Alas! It was bitter! Once again God provided for their need. He directed Moses to throw a piece of wood from a tree into the water. When Moses did as God directed, the water became sweet. I can almost feel the cool quenching of a parched throat as I envision the Israelites enjoying that wonderful water!

Beth leads us to compare what Christ did for us to what God did here for His people. Our sins (the bitter water) were forever forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (wood from a tree). We are offered the eternal life (sweet water). What an amazing God!

3. What did the Israelites long for in the desert?
Exodus 16
Have you ever looked back on a time in your past and yearned for the "good old days"? Unfortunately I have to admit to some "grumbling." How about you?

That is what happened to the Israelites.
They "grumbled" because they were missing what they had in Egypt. They talked (Exodus 16:1-4) about wishing they had never left Egypt where they "sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted" (v.3) . They longed for a place they once yearned to leave!

Beth helped us connect the story of the Israelites to our own situations. How can we reclaim joy in the Lord if we have allowed our spirits to stray--By seeking a close relationship with Him!
Psalm 51:12
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

Philippians 2:13
It is God who works in you
to will and to act according
to His good purpose.

4. What lesson did the manna demonstrate?
Exodus 16
Now, friends, I just have to tell you this is when this week's lesson got personal!

Exodus 16 is the story of God sending manna to the Israelites in the morning and quail in the evening. He gave them very specific directions about how to gather the food and prepare it. They were to gather enough on day 6 to have for two days.
On the seventh day, the Sabbath, they were to rest in their tents. God was providing for all of their needs--in proportion to what they needed. All they had to do was GATHER the food and FOLLOW HIS DIRECTIONS.

Of course the Israelites made some mistakes along the way. Does that sound familiar? Do we do that over and over? I don't know about you, but I certainly find enough ways to "mess" up.

But that is where the great part comes in! I can't tell you how many times I have studied this story--my whole life. But this time I GOT IT! It really did just hit me between the eyes!

God provides the bread of heaven, but we also have a part in making the plan work. We have to GATHER the manna. When God offers something to us, he also expects us to DO something. Read these verses and see what God gives and the action we are to take.

John 6:32-35 God gives "the bread of life" We must "come" to him and "believe"
Matthew 6:33 God gives "all these things" We must "seek"
Psalm 81:10 God will "feed" us We must "open our mouths"
Yes, He says, Open You mouth wide and I will feed you! I mean--How simple is that! How many ways can he say it, "
Get ready, I'm going to take care of you! "

5. How is Christ clothed in Revelation 19:13?
Christ is clothed in a robe that is stained with blood. Blood purifies and forgives.
Because he wore clothes stained with blood we will wear "fine linen, pure and white" (Revelations 19:6-8). Praise God!

God wants a relationship with us. He asks us for faithfulness and submission. He offers us eternal life and provides for us in wondrous ways!

Deuteronomy 8:2-3
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Looking Ahead

I am posting a summary each Wednesday based on the A Woman's Heart lesson my Monday night group is studying. We will be on Lesson Three next week.

If you choose to post about your study for the week, please link here and leave a comment. You can adjust to the week I am on or post about the week's lesson you are studying. Whatever works for you! If you are reading along with us and do not choose to do your own post, please leave a comment here. We would like to hear from you also. Share the Word with us!


  posted at 12:06 AM  


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The Father Cherishes
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I am a Christian woman who shares a blessed life with my precious husband, our two adult sons and their wives, and four grandchildren. We cherish the adventures God has allowed us to have together. I recently retired from an over thirty year career as an elementary teacher and administrator.

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