The Heart of A Woman Bible study, based off of the promises found in Isaiah 54, is for every woman who has a place of barrenness, emptiness, lack of faith, or fear keeping her from experiencing fruitfulness in her life.
If this is you, won’t you join us as we journey to a deeper more abundant life of faith together? The Heart of a Woman is all about finding the heart of the Father towards the daughters He lovingly calls His own.
Welcome to the 2nd Week in the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood Summer Bible Study: The Heart of a Woman. You are here for a purpose, on purpose, with a purpose dear woman of God … and it is good. I hope you were able to spend some time singing into those barren places last week. If you are just joining us, it is ok; you can just start here, or go ahead and get caught up on the 1st lesson. Either way, I am so very thankful you have decided to sojourn in Isaiah 54 a bit with me. Are you ready to jump into the next 2 verses of this awesome chapter from the Evangelical Prophet, Isaiah? Get your Bibles, your journal, and don’t forget the coffee (or tea, or whatever makes you smile) and let’s go!
His Heart beats for you to intimately know Him.
Did you realize that His heart beats with joy and anticipation for you? You are the daughter of the King and because of that we can approach the throne of grace with boldness and assurance that He, who is both righteous and just, is also gracious and merciful. He actually anticipates our approach, and that just excites me as I consider it. As His child we are assured of His love, which fills us with hope, leads to expectation, and strengthens our faith. Continue to look into the hope that He is setting before you so that you can grab onto those sure and precious promises that are waiting to be found.
Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the children of God: and it is not yet clear what we shall be: but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him as He really is. And everyone who has this hope is cleansed. ~1 John 3:1-3
Look for the Images Scripture Reveals:
We are going to continue our study by looking at the images these 1st four verses in Isaiah 54 represent. Verse one pointed out the Image of Hope in our barren situation. We need to believe that God is exactly who He tells us He is and that He is ultimately faithful. ( Heb. 11:6, 1 Thes. 5:23-24) The next 2 verses give us an Image of Redemption where God is rescuing us out of the burden of the empty barrenness.
Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. ~ Isaiah 54:2-3
It is easy to see how these 2 verses go together in this chapter, united by a cause and effect relationship that we see repeated often in scripture: the initial command and the resulting promise.
The beautiful message that Isaiah 54 reveals to us, is that God is not just focused on answering the void which barrenness creates, an emptiness that seems hollow and unfulfilled, just by bringing comfort; He has a purpose towards full redemption. Isaiah’s message to Israel can also be our message from the heart o f the Father. Isaiah foretold of the future redemption and exponential growth of the Church. We can literally see the redemption we have been given in Christ because we are engrafted into the vine that gives life.
It is imperative you hear and understand this concept of the vine and the branches. Jesus said in John 15:4-5 that we need to abide in Him because He is the vine and apart from that connection we cannot fully bring forth fruit for the harvest.
When we are grafted into the vine that is full of life, barrenness can have no foothold. It cannot take over in a life that is fully infused with Holy Spirit power. If you are feeling broken today, barren, disappointed, or empty, then lift your eyes up to the hills from where your help comes and ABIDE. Spiritually, physically, emotionally God will always make a way where there is no way, because He CAN. (Psalm 121, Is 43:19)
Let’s start with the History behind the way Isaiah is teaching us about the Father:
- Verse 2-3 work together… Enlarge and Spread Out
In ancient Israel, the women were the tent builders and were responsible for the maintenance of both the dwelling and the family. These 2 verses are a huge leap of faith for the barren woman. When God tells the barren woman to stretch out her cords and strengthen her stakes, He is asking her to act in faith. Why? Because a barren woman would have no need for a tent of her own, and certainly no need to expand that tent.
- Here, God is not only asking, but commanding, her to enlarge and spread out when there is no family (or need) to care for. It was a visible declaration of the just walking and living by faith. An action like this would have easily incited more shame, reproach, and indignation towards her. Much like Hannah’s prayer seemed out of the ordinary to Eli, choosing to act in ‘faith’ like this would put the barren and empty woman in a place where condemnation and harsh words were easily given.
Have you ever stepped out in faith and consequently received ridicule, condemnation, and judgment for those actions?
The wording in verse 2 and 3 is repetitive. If you pay attention to the word of God you will see patterns in it which are there to provide clarification. This command is written in the imperative tense, so that means it is important, and since it is repetitive it shows us that He is trying to get our attention.
In lesson 1, we learned that Isaiah was prophesying the coming exile to Babylon, yet it also included the sojourn in Egypt and the trial faced there. We will be able to see that the shame of youth (Egyptian bondage), and the barrenness of exiled living (Babylonian captivity and returning remnant), represent a picture, or an allusion, of Israel’s passage from bondage to promise.
The message for you as the child of God is: THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE.
In the transition of the wilderness walk, God fully protected the Israelites. This scripture in Isaiah promises that He can do that in addition to the blessing that lead them towards prosperity.
God is fully able to bless even in the midst of the wilderness experiences in our life.
Consider with me the promise of exponential growth through verse 3. The concept of spreading out means to increase in direction. When you read ‘right and left’ in this verse it actually means on all sides. While we know that Isaiah is speaking figuratively to the prophetic fulfillment of Gods’ Word, as the spiritual seed, which will bring the increase of the church through the dispersion of the Jews scattered to the four corners of the world, additionally we see yet another important fact. The inclusion and acceptance of the Gentile church, brought into the fold, which dramatically changed the face of the church. It was no longer limited, but open to all who freely come believing truth.
Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we know that he will meet us, in our wilderness places and bring us from bondage to the promised land of our destiny.(Heb. 13:8)
- One of the most beautiful images, I think, is the promise of expansion here in our verse. Though it directly applies to the church, indirectly… yet just as powerfully, it applies to the hopelessness of difficult situations in our lives. Like the childless wife, who is a picture of a woman with no seed to sow, there is an emptiness when our dreams and our hopes end. We feel as if there is nothing we can do and nowhere to go. Yet, hopelessness can also produce fruit, James Oswalt says, “it is a fruit borne from a seed that God did not plant in our lives.” (Oswalt’s Commentary on Isaiah)
Philippians 2:13 reminds us that with God all things are possible and we can hope against hope.
Don’t give into hopeless despair over the empty places because God is waiting to fill them with a measure of Himself.
Like the barren woman, we can be burdened with shame and disgrace at our lack of fruitfulness. We need to abandon the sorrowful tunes that we play, like dirges to a funeral, when we look at the bleak places and instead sing with joyful melodies towards God’s promises of hope. He is a creative God able to make something out of nothing. Remember what he calls that creative process? He says it is GOOD.
He will expand the need in your habitation to enlarge your tent, and then faithfully bring in the abundance to fill that space which is empty. Sweep out the cavity of your heart Woman of God. Sweep it clean and prepare the tent of this tabernacle meant for God alone to dwell within. Shout and sing with joyful expectation that He is going to do something amazing as He fills up those empty and, perhaps, pain-filled spaces. Let Him do the rescuing and you continue to rest in the promises of His Word. We know that it will stand forever.( Is. 40:8)
Prayer Box Activity:
This week, along with your journal, I want to encourage you to make a prayer box as a constructive and literal way of cleaning up the caverns of our hearts. We need to pull all those things off the shelves of our hearts that are keeping us from being productive in life. Only you and the Lord can know what these issues are, but what I can tell you is that we all have them they just wear different masks.
- Unproductive Words
( and the list can go on……)
What is it that keeps your heart from fully engaging with the Lord every day? Pray about it and write it down on a note card or a piece of paper to put in your prayer box.
Prayer is the tool that God will use to cultivate the Garden of Your heart.
Psalm 37:3 ~ Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
What does it meant to cultivate? To cultivate means to prepare, acquire, develop or apply towards improvement.
The importance of cultivation to the farmer is visible in the effort he takes to prepare his fields for the seed so it is profitable and successful: Cleaning up the field of debris, plowing and tilling the soil to prepare to receive the seed, spreading fertilizer to ensure the best growth opportunity.
Where there is no work, there is no growth.
Laziness leads to lack and death of the seeds, making the field useless. If we do not guard against decay and chaos, it is bound to happen. So we have to continually plow the soil of our heart with reflection upon the Word of God. We must tend and keep the garden of our hearts because we can lose the gifts and zeal we had when we first knew God.
God created us to live in the garden. In the beginning, the garden was a place of relationship with Adam tending the garden. We were not created to live in the dry arid desert places of wandering. Through prayer we allow God to tend the soil of our hearts and make it ready to receive the seed of His Word.
Release the burdens:
- When we hold on to the burden and dwell in the barren places we are holding back from God.
- In our empty places there is promise waiting. Our God is in the business of fullness and with Him there is no lack.
- Heaven’s storehouses are full of every spiritual blessing intended for our reception.
Practical Application and Tools: Making a Prayer Box
Early on in my walk with Christ, a dear friend introduced me to the concept of a prayer box. When I was struggling to let something go or couldn’t break past the fear, I was reminded to apply this exercise.
- Create a box of your own that you have made in a way that makes your heart smile. Pick something that is pretty,fun, or bold, whatever blesses you. You could even have an envelope. The point is: you need something to hold your notes.
- To start, write down 1-3 areas in your life that are barren,empty or lacking on the note cards or paper.
- Pray and ask God to take this burden from your heart, thank Him for hearing your prayer, and put it in box.
- At the end of the day, before you go to bed, take the pieces of paper out, and holding them in your hands rip them up, then throw them away. Throughout the process, thank God for answering your prayer and meeting you in your lack and insufficiency with His sufficiency and abundance.
As we go through this study, every time that burden comes back, write it down and slip it in the box (envelope, etc). When you get a chance to get quiet before God, pray and thank Him for taking this from you. Tear up the pieces of paper and throw them away. (You need to physically get rid of them.)
Take time as you are writing down the worry, concern, fear, or whatever it is. Then look for the promises in God’s Word which will help you to contend and deactivate the power of that lack in your life. In your quiet time ask God to fill up that broken barren place by confessing His truth over your life. Cultivate the garden of your heart as you come to the Throne of Grace.( Hebrews 4:16)
I am praying for each of you! Don’t forget to leave a message in the comment box so we can see how you are doing, if you need a prayer request, or have some thoughts to share.
Author, writer and speaker, Dawn is passionate about many things: God, Family, Prayer, Food, and the Word. You can find her writing about those hard questions, reasoning and rejoicing in God’s grace and mercy for those who are walking this journey to grace on her website, Journeys In Grace.(www.journeysingrace.com)
Lesson 2 Printables or links:
Linked to Journeys In Grace
©dawnboyer 2014 Journeys In Grace www.journeysingrace.com
Originally published on Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood www.solideogloriasisterhood.com.