Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where is God's Dwelling Place?

Debra E. Marvin

Where is God’s Dwelling Place?

Setting: Heaven
Moses: Shalom, Deb. Hey, I love what you’ve done with those olive trees.

Deb: Yo! Mo. Thanks. They say you can’t take it with you but I managed to bring my Felco pruning shears. You know how the Big Guy loves to prune.

Moses: Oi Vey, Don’t I?

Deb: Hey, gotta question for you. Parting the Red Sea--I get that. What always stumped me was how you remembered all those directions for the tabernacle.
I mean . . . the measurements alone! I’m not good with numbers and, really, how fast can you take notes with a stone tablet and a chisel?
A Woman’s Heart—God’s Dwelling Place is a bible study by the amazing Beth Moore, published by LifeWay Press. Beth is a Southern Baptist who says her heart was set for serving God at the age of 18. She is a powerful teacher, funny and candid, energetic and inspiring, and she has such a passion to delve into God’s word that it overflows onto her students.

Many people fail to see the relevance of the Old Testament, much less this strange tabernacle built by the desert-wandering Jews. Badger skins? Who knew they had badgers out there? And mirrored glass on the washbasin? What does that have to do with me?

Well, everything.

The precise guidelines for the building and use of the tabernacle reflects its importance to God. Why? Because He wanted a meeting place, a sanctuary where His children could come into His presence.

Tabernacle=Dwelling place. He didn’t just want to visit, but to be In Residence!

That knocks me out. I’m not sure I can grasp it. God wants to be with me just because He enjoys my company? No matter who I am and how undeserving I am?

Yes. Our God desires to fellowship with us. Enough to pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Okay, back to the basin covered in mirrored glass. Beth reminds us that before we come to be washed we must be able to see our true selves. Sinful. Are you a nice person? Sure. Me too. But when I see the wickedness in me, I know and appreciate that our holy God needs me to be washed clean for that ultimate fellowship. If we don’t admit to what is unholy about us, it’s a waste of time asking to be cleansed of it. Hence the mirrors. Take a good look.

The tabernacle moved with the people, surrounded by the twelve tribes. Do you recall all those passages counting the numbers of men in each tribe? I admit it can be really dry reading. Some camped to the east, some to the west, etc. Ho hum. Hard to get excited about. But consider this: As the tabernacle moved, its shape and the movement of the tribal camps, who stayed in their assigned position, represented the shape of Christ’s cross.

God could look down and see a cross—His ultimate sign of reconciliation. All the rules and laws that the Jews had to follow to have that tiny bit of intimacy with the Father would one day be fulfilled in the death of His son on a cross. All the rules were replaced by one single act. Instant access to the Holy of Holies.

Don’t you love those moments when the full glory of God astounds you?

Have you experienced one of those moments recently?

I feel this study of the tabernacle will give you some incredible insight into God's love for us. We no longer need to build a place where we can go to be in the presence of the Lord. He’s made a way for us to receive Him in our own sanctuary and enjoy the intimacy He desires and created us for. Remember, the meaning of the word Tabernacle is ‘residency’ or dwelling place.

Invite Him in.

Exodus 25:8
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them.”

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  1. Hey, Deb:
    Wonderful post. Now I know why I always look away when there's a mirror in the room. Not worthy, but still seeking. I always wondered! :-)) This makes me pause and think. Ouch, that hurts!


  2. I hear so much about Beth's books but have never read/done one. It sounds really good. I had no clue that the shape of the tribes resembled a cross. Hmmm.
    Thanks for the review Debra!

  3. Good Morning!
    Welcome to our new blog.

    Thanks for stopping in Jessica. It's good to see you, cause I know you are very busy with Booking It! Yesterday's subject was hairy, huh?

    Connie, my dear! I knew you'd be checking in early -- or is that 'late'! Thanks for holding my hand. Now we're bloggers officially.

    Of all days, today is a day I won't be at my computer much. You know . . . my 'real' job calls and I'll be outside working with Yellow Jackets. (Yes. The Wasp). I'll check in later to read all your clever comments and thank you for visiting.

    Have a great day!

  4. Deb, I enjoyed that. I love the way that our unique perspectives and personalities come through in our writing, even when it is a short blog piece. Can't wait to see what God does with us!

    One of the things I've heard is that the badger skins, (they were only on the outside, inside was hanging of the finest material.) Represents the way those who don't know about relationship with God view us. They see only what they think are rules or regulations, but miss the internal joy and grace that makes life really worth living. Definitely something to think about.

  5. Awesome Deb. Intimacy with God is one of my favorite subjects. It will be popping up in my devotional post this Sunday and also in my non-fiction post.

    Actually, my devotional will be a great follow up to this if anyone is interested in visiting us this Sunday the 6th.

    Do you think maybe God is doing something cool behind the scenes here? Hmm...


  6. I love Beth Moore, so I'll have to look into this one! Being a detail person myself, I love to study the details God deems important.

    Thanks for taking the time to highlight this book. My non-fiction "to read" list is growing, little by little!

  7. Great blog, Deb! I've got to say, I'm a huge fan of Beth Moore. My Mom's Bible study group did this book a while ago, and to my shame, I've forgotten so much of this. Well, that's my mind for you. Sharp as a rubber ball.

    I appreciate the reminders. God bless you today, Deb, and watch it with the wasps!

  8. kathylangdon @ yahoo.comSeptember 3, 2009 at 1:04 PM


    Love the blog! Having the blessing of living in Beth's hometown we have the privilege of taking her Tuesday night bible studies up close and personal. So glad you're putting her out there in blog land to let others know about her gift of exhortation.

  9. Thanks Inkies! I appreciate your support. This bible study was my favorite but I think that changes with each Beth Moore study. (I've heard that each one becomes your new favorite!)

    God is in the everyday details and we tend to think of Him being too busy with the big ones. We limit Him, don't we? Because we're so limited and can't imagine anything, anyone so beyond that.

    My email link messed up today when I wanted to invite people to the blog. Thanks to those who stuck with it and found us!

  10. Thanks Kathy! I'm glad you stopped in.
    I can't imagine going to a live Beth Moore study. I see how she interacts with the audience and gets them laughing, crying and into their hearts to help break down those walls we build around them!

    My fellow Inkies have a lot of great blog posts coming up, including devotionals, our "personas", and a lot more for writers and readers!

  11. I've heard so much about Beth Moore's Bible studies. Not sure but this one seems as good a one to start with as any.

    pwriter1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  12. Thanks, Patricia. I'm glad you stopped in and left your address (Again?). The more times you do the better your chances for our prize at the end of October. We're thinking it's going to be pretty good. Unfortunately we're out of the running for it.

    I'd have to suggest the bible study as a woman's group study. It's really nice to watch the video and discuss it as a group.

  13. Lovely, Deb. Just lovely. I've done several Beth Moore Bible studies and have loved them all. This summer I've been re-reading The Beloved Disciple book. If it weren't all the way upstairs with my kids whom I'm trying to ignore, I'd share some of my fav quotes.

    And I must ditto what Lisa said about our presonalities coming through in our blog posts. I can "hear" your voice as I read, just as I could hear Connie yesterday.

    Okay, I hear screaming and pounding. Must go parent.

  14. Great post, Debra. I love Beth Moore Bible studies. My favorite, I think, has been Esther.

  15. Hey Deb,
    That was fascinating! I have to agree with Connie about the mirror. I had no idea. I have read some of Beth Moore's books and will be taking the Bible study on Esther beginning this month. There is a lot to be learned, isn't there?

  16. Deb, loved your little convo with Moses!

  17. Hey, Deb, sorry it took me so long to get here. Loved your post. I did not know about the tribes being in the shape of the cross as they moved the tabernacle. What an interesting and awe-inspiring fact. I hope you didn't get any wasp stings today!


  18. Hey Deb, this sounds like an amazing book.

    I treasure the intimacy I share with God. We had a huge discussion over on the eHarlequin board last year about the amount of prayer in italics in Steeple Hill books. Through that discussion, we learned many church goers don’t have the same relationship with God that some of us do. For them, you do your praying in church. And that's it. For that reason, the practice of praying about ‘every little thing’ that appears in most Steeple Hill books was foreign and untruthful to some folk. I believe enough believers commented that we did indeed live our lives talking to God as if He were right there beside us. I’d like to add that many of those people who thought this was off the wall have since requested friendship with me on FB. :)

  19. Thank you for this wonderful reminder that we can invite our sweet Savior in and be in His presence. What a beautiful picture of His great love for us.

    CRead4 [@]

  20. Thanks Cheryl,
    This study really opened up my eyes to just how much He wants to simply be with us. Amazing.

    thanks for stopping in!

  21. Hi Debra, Finally found you. I love Beth Moore Bible Studies. They seem to come at a time when I really need to find something new within to deal with. Its exciting how God uses us.

    Love your blog. Looks really interesting. Best wishes.

  22. Hi again, Forgot to add email for drawing. { sandraleesmith ] at { cox dot net }

    Forgot to tell you I'm just starting her study on Esther. And yes, the Old Testament teaches us tons. Thanks Debra for the inspiring post.

  23. Beth Moore are one of the best studies out. She goes so indepth with all that she researches to share in her studies. Please enter me in this drawing. Thanks.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  24. Oh yeah, I loved the Moses conversation too and shared it with my family.

  25. Deb, I found you!

    Lovely, my friend. Just lovely. And I love the concept of being a dwelling place for God, a repository for Christ. Hence all those good teachings about taking care of ourselves, not indulgent, not self-absorbed.

    Wonderful stuff!

    You rock, woman. Sorry I didn't find you sooner. I'll be back.

    Very Arnold Schwarzenegger!




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