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. ©dawnboyer 2014 Journeys In Grace www.journeysingrace.com Originally published on Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood www.solideogloriasisterhood.com.
God is Restoring us in Priceless Beauty
Each week that we come together is a gift to my heart. I wish I could sit with each one of you personally, wrap my arms around you, and squeeze you close. I wish you knew how much you have been prayed for and how deeply you are loved by the Father. I pray that you receive only His heart for you today, and that all of His Word would be seed sown to produce an abundant harvest of beauty.
We are going to be looking at the last section of Isaiah 54 over the next 4 weeks with a final wrap up lesson on a few of my very favorite women from scripture in at the end of our study on week 13. I can’t believe we have come this far in what feels like such a short time of studying Isaiah 54 together. God is doing a mighty work, ladies… He is moving in hearts and pulling down strongholds of false ideas, unbelief, and lack in our lives revealing the purpose of His rescuing redemption. John 10:10 tells us that He came to give us abundant life and it lines up perfectly with what we are looking at in Isaiah this week. This final section reveals the restorative power of our Heavenly Father as He continues to work tenderly in the deepest part of our souls, establishing the firm foundation of our lives upon the solid cornerstone of truth.
As I prayed for you this week I was drawn to a song by The Afters which fits perfectly with the theme of our study, singing praise into barren places. The song called, “A Broken Halleljuah”, deeply resonates the offering we bring to Him when we are feeling broken, depressed, afflicted, forgotten, and basically … A MESS. I encourage you to take time to listen to it this week and consider your own peace offering that you will bring in your tossed and afflicted state.
Finally, I want remind you of a promise in scripture. It is my prayer for you as we start our study, and my hope for you as we close today. A revelation of HOPE is what He is leading us to, dear hearts. I pray today you will see the promise waiting for you to unfold.
And I will restore or replace the years that the locust has eaten – the hopping locusts, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust, My great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never be put to shame. And you shall know and understand, and realize that I am in the midst of Israel and that I the Lord am your God and there is none else. My people shall never be put to shame. And afterward I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh… (Joel 2:25-28)
God is in the business of Restoration… Be prepared to be renovated!
The word restore may carry multiple definitions for you. When someone restores a piece of furniture, it is brought back to its original state. However, I challenge you this week to see what God’s purpose and definition of restoration really means. When He restores us, we are better than before. Our original is a broken shell without Christ, but restored we are gloriously rebuilt because of Him.
There are many times when I have had to get to a state of ruin before I could adequately be repaired. Isn’t that rather ridiculous to consider? Well, maybe ridiculous, but not so abnormal.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “… accordingly all experience has shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
While what he wrote had nothing at all to do with Isaiah 54, it is applicable to that state we often find ourselves wallowing in when we are broken, afflicted and storm-tossed. A place where we are beaten and bruised, and, perhaps, near destruction. Yet, like Jefferson writes, it may take finally hitting rock bottom before we are able to be rebuilt into the beauty that God has seen before our days ever took form.
God has already prepared to build you up in beauty.
Thus far we have read and studied the first 10 verses in Isaiah 54, and hopefully you have been able to see how this chapter speaks directly to the heart of a woman. Specifically, I hope you can see how this applies to the beauty of a garden from start to finish, because our heart truly is the Garden of God. In the beginning we are being cultivated and called to prepare.
As the soil is loosened and ready we can receive the seed of His Word in the rich humus that has been sifted by the Master Gardener all in preparation for what is to come… a beautifully built habitation filled by God.
We have learned that God is a rescuer who leads us to sing for joy even when we are barren, to enlarge and spread out our tent in expectation, and to rebuke fear because we can trust in His ability to meet our needs at all times. ( Weeks 1-4)
Hopefully, you are beginning to see that He is your redeemer who establishes an eternal covenant of love with you. Finally, knowing that He longs to be intimately acquainted with your heart while walking with you daily in order to redeem those empty places in your life as your husband-redeemer (Weeks 5-8)
Now we fill focus on the harvest of a restored heart and how that looks to God. I hope and pray by the time we come to the end of this lesson you will never again see yourself as anything other than a beautifully radiant, rare and precious jewel in the hand of the Almighty.
Our Scripture Focus this week will be Isaiah 54:11-12:
O you afflicted [city], storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in fair colors [in antimony to enhance their brilliance] and lay your foundations with sapphires. And I will make your windows and pinnacles of [sparkling] agates or rubies, and your gates of [shining] carbuncles, and all your walls [of your enclosures] of precious stones. – Isaiah 54:11-12 (amplified version)
Verses 11-12 lead us to consider what it means to be afflicted and how that brings us to the point of overflowing hope.
When we acknowledge God’s supreme role in our life and set our mind on Him, He enables us to be women of HOPE. – Elizabeth George.
The verses for this week remind us of the foundation of promise we have in Christ. The hope of restoration secures our peace, prosperity, and protection for the future. Do you realize the implication of looking at your future as fully guarded, secured and prosperous?
Sometimes when I give in to fear I am not looking at my future as prosperous, guarded, or fully secure, but that is what we are being asked to believe when we look at the verses in Isaiah 54:11-17.
The reality is clear, our foundation is completely secure in Christ. He is the chief cornerstone, yet in order to fulfill that support role, He must be Lord of our lives. Like a city which must be built on a firm foundation of truth, we must build our dwelling on the solid rock of Christ to ensure the integrityof that building will withstand the storms that are to come.
Even when we are storm-tossed and we feel afflicted, feeling no comfort, still he cares for us in that affliction. Like the comparison in Isaiah 54:6, the present and future tense of the verbs reveal the key to our hope. The present (momentary) affliction is temporal while the future (lasting) restoration is eternal. Again, Isaiah is speaking prophetically to what we are to become, at the hands of the One who fashions our souls, and that state of being will not be shaken or broken down because it will be perfected in Him.
Isaiah is speaking directly to the individual,prophetically, not just the Jewish nation at that time. He is calling us to actively LOOK at our position, recognizing our surroundings, and trust God. Rather than being insecure and unstable, which is a result of being tossed in storms, lacking comfort; consider that you are not out of the grip of grace and never too far from His caring reach. (Is 59:1) Neither is your mess too messy for Him to restore.
Isaiah 54:1 and 54:11 are poetically parallel and I love how the Word ties things together for the purpose of revealing hope to the reader.
- Isaiah 54:1 speaks to the barren state of an unproductive soul
- Isaiah 54:11 addresses the afflicted state of a storm-tossed soul.
Afflicted and barren are both apt descriptions of the heart which is returning to the altar of restoration.
Realize, however, that this is describing our location, and perhaps our situation, but not our station. No matter where you are, on this side of the veil of glory, when you are firmly rooted in Christ as your salvation, God is your foundation. Who you are In Christ trumps what your situation in life declares. It is time, Woman of God to begin declaring some truth in the face of your storms and plant seeds of promise in the soil of your heart because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, good or bad. In the storm, speak peace and expect the waves to become still.
In our places of discomfort and agitation, we need to remember that He has not forgotten us. The position of the afflicted is prime ground for planting promises.
God promises to set our habitation on a firm foundation in which He will set with stones Himself. I want you to look at the description closely in our scripture reference because the type of stones are indicative of their purpose.
Let’s revisit the biblical definition of restoration as a reestablishment of a covenant whereby the condition is renewed and mended so that it is furnished completely. We are restored for a purpose.
You are made on purpose, for a purpose, and with a purpose and there is absolutely no one who can fill your shoes or replace your gifts and talents in the body of Christ. You are necessary. Everything that makes you beautiful and rare sets you apart from anyone else.
Your beauty is attractive for the purpose of amplification and reflection.
This verse compares our likeness to precious gemstones of infinite value. Specifically, Isaiah uses the term antimony, which is a stain that was applied to the eyes for the purpose of attracting towards beauty. It gave amplification, much like the eye-liner that many women wear today.
I find this interesting because when we think of how the eye is made to transfer images, it starts with light. As light enters the eye the image is translated to our brain so we can recognize it. If you know anything about the eye, you will also know that the image is upside down. Our eyes flip the image so our brain can retrieve the information, but without light the image is unrecognizable. He is the light that shines into our hearts flipping and transforming us so that we reflect beauty wherever we are.
The glory of the jewel that you are is a shining example of His atoning work. You, Woman of God, are a rare and precious jewel, uniquely fashioned to sparkle for God. The wealth of God in you far surpasses any the world can provide.
You’re purposely set by God in a foundation that is immovable and secure.
These verses speak of building components which are not typical in today’s standards but I want to point out a few key ideas. The Word says that the Lord will lay the stones in a specific setting that will, in the end, look like polished beauty.
- The Hebrew word used here in Is. 54:11 is, bana, which means to lay down from a place of rest or to set up and to begin something new.
- It is used interchangeably with the word, eben, which is a stone meant for building.
God is lavishing His richness upon you, as a Master Mason fashions architecture of promise. We are reminded that our beauty is likened to the foundation of precious stones, which have significance; he often places us in a position of rest so that we can be built on a solid base.
There is significant prophetic purpose in this verse because it is revealing that the spiritual gifts inside of us that outshine the temporal worldly talents that are limited in power and efficacy. Only God can restore in such a way that our inner beauty outshines the outer reflection that we see. When we begin to look with our eyes, truly as He does, we see that the richness of the eternal hope within has a value that cannot compare with any earthly jewel.
A note about the stones:
- Sapphires are considered the hue of heaven because they are the foundation of God’s throne.
(Ez 1:26, 10:1, Rev 21:19, Ex 24:10)
According to Isaiah 54:11, this is the foundation of your beauty because you are reflecting the throne room of heaven as he builds the garden of your heart.
- Agate is a transparent stone that is meant to make up the border walls.
The stones are actually considered sun-catchers. James Oswalt writes in his commentary that , ‘’ … the crenelated walls caught the rising sun and looked like its rays in the rosy light, resembling the image of Psalm 84:12 where the Lord is both the sun and a shield.”
- Jasper is a form of an agate which is likened to a pearl, while Carbuncles are a type of crystal that sparkle because they are actually engraved stones.
As I studied this further I began to see the correlation of transparency to the concept of beauty. As the agates are transparent, engraved and detailed to reflect His light, then the beauty that we radiate is transferred from the direction we are looking back towards God.
Ultimately, if people are looking at us they should see Christ in us. As he molds us in His image we are built up in beauty, rare and precious like a jeweled crown that is set on high to catch the light that heaven radiates.
God is building a habitation of hope in you.
These verses relate the security we have in Him. In the process of being built up He is calming our fears, worry, and concern by restoring and leading us to hope. When we struggle with daily fear or concern, me must remember that even though they come, they need not stay. God does not dismiss our brokenness, (Psalm 51),meeting us there to bring in the midst of our living. Yet, He doesn’t want us to camp on the outskirts of the city in tents of indecision. We were never meant to stay in the temporary tabernacles we have built. He is directing us to enlarge our tents to prepare for the habitation of a city-dweller, a city built by God Himself.
James Oswalt says, “Hope is often dismissed as something that is possible only by denying hard facts.”
However, the reality is that God is rebuilding the habitation of your heart, so that your foundation is securely rooted in hope and bathed in His beauty. Since the stone foundations and jeweled walls of our heart are laid by God, the hope that is evident when people see you shine in your struggles, being storm-tossed, afflicted, deprived and depressed, barren and empty all point to God. That is a testimony of brilliant proportions!
We are established in beauty.
- Though we are poor in spirit, resources, or opportunities, we are established in beauty.
- Though we are storm tossed, we are bound in security.
- Though we have touched despair, we are full of abundance because the Master Gardener has cultivated and planted richness in our hearts.
1 Chronicles 29:2 and Revelations 21:18-21 reveal this image of a city built by His hands with stones laid in beauty. Since God is the builder we can expect glorious things.
So I have provided with all my might for the house of my God the gold for the things to be of gold, silver for the things of silver, bronze for the things of bronze, iron for the things of iron, wood for the things of wood, as well as onyx or beryl stones, stones to be set, stones of antimony, stones of various colors, and all sorts of precious stones and marble stones in abundance. – 1 Chr. 29:2
And the building of the wall of it was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. –Revelations 21:18
Christ is the Cornerstone; we are the stones of beauty built in Him.
The foundation is Christ, He is the chief cornerstone. He must be Lord so that your life, like a city built on a firm foundation of truth, radiates the beauty of heaven.
Come to Him [then, to that] Living Stone which men tried and threw away, but which his chosen [and] precious in Gods’ sight. [Come] and, like living stones, be yourselves built [into]a spiritual house, for a holy priesthood, to offer up [those] spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.
Those sacrifices are the barren places that we are holding on to, dreams, goals, desires, and hopes that are not in His plan for us. We need to let them go and reach towards the beauty He has. We can’t see how it will work out, but we can trust He is who He says He is. (Hebrews 11:6) Trust comes from that intimacy we have in relationship, deep love-abiding communion, which stems from faith and a covenant that is eternally bound to His oath.
You are established in righteousness and restored to bring influence, your beauty radiates light which reflects the promise of hope that heaven offers to those who come to receive its bounty.
Stand up and Shine Bright, Beautiful! You are glorious!
Blessings In Christ,
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)
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Originally published on Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood