Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

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The Great I AM

Episode Notes:

These series make up today's Revive Our Hearts Weekend program:

Bonus content from the interview "Gentle and Lowly, with Dane Ortlund."

"Developing a Personal Devotional Life"

"Where Is God in All of This?"

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Dannah Gresh: Who is God, really? Even the Israelites, His special people, had a hard time figuring it out . . . with one exception. Here's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Moses was so intentional about meeting with God, so determined to have fellowship with God that he said, "I’ll go wherever I have to go to find the presence of God." Even though God wouldn’t come in the camp at that point, Moses took the tent outside the camp, and he said, "I’ll meet with God there." He was intentional. This was a priority for Moses. It was a conscious, deliberate, determined choice.

Dannah: Choosing to get to know God, on this episode of Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh. 

Do you ever stop to think, just who is God really? I mean, we’re fallen and finite, but He’s this big holy and infinite being. Today I want us to explore the bigness of God! We’re gonna have some help from three of the most interesting people I know. Dane Ortlund, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Deborah Howard.

But first I want to tell you about a man who absolutely fascinates me because of how well he knew God. Moses! I’ve probably learned more about understanding and experiencing God by studying the life of Moses than any other person written about in Scripture save Jesus! I mean Moses really knew God. But it wasn't always that way. Remember when called to him from that burning bush?

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. . . . God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”

Dannah: And then He told Moses to lead the people of Israel and tell them . . . 

“I am has sent me to you.’”

Dannah: Well, throughout the years Moses made many requests of God, but there was one that more impactful and personal than the rest, for Moses . . . and for me. Moses asked God for the opportunty to actually see His glory.

“Please show me your glory.” 

Dannah: My heart resonates with that request. Now, at the same time, "glory" is one of those words we use to describe God, but how do we really wrap our minds around what that means?

Dane Ortlund is a pastor and author. Recently, I got to talk with him for the Revive Our Hearts program. After we stopped recording, we just kept talking. I want to invite you behind the scenes to hear Dane’s heart on the glory of God. Here’s Dane.

Dane Ortlund: Back in Exodus 33 and 34 Moses said, "Show me your glory, I want to see your glory." To God sticks him in the cleft of the rock and doesn't say, "I will make all My glory pass you," though He does that. He says, "I will make all My goodness pass before you." So apparently, in the mind of God, for God to show us His glory is supremely for Him to show us His goodness. Then, of course, He passes by Moses and says, "The Lord your God, gracious and slow to anger . . ." and so on.

Dannah: That blows my mind a little bit. The goodness of God, what is that? Is it His usefulness to us? His kindness to us? His compassion to us? Is it all those things? Is that what it would mean that His glory is His goodness?

Dane: I think that throughout the Old Testament and consistent with the New is that God's goodness is His intended heart's desire to do what is for our best, for our interest, that will cause us to be eternally happy. So that is the whole driving force of all His saving, redeeming work throughout all of human history. It's to manifest and to catch us up into His own divine goodness.

Dannah: It astounds me that as we try to understand the glory of God and the goodness of God, I'm comforted that Moses needed it to be tangible. "I want to understand it. Can you show it to me?" And God says, "Well, I'll let it pass by you." It's not like he can full-on look at it. Be He says, "How about if I let it pass by you." Why do you think God only allowed His goodness and His glory to pass by Moses?

Dane: In the Old Testment, of course, if Moses had looked upon God sort of face to face, the Scripture is clear that he would have been instantly incinerated, because no one can look God straight in the face and live. But in the New Testament, when God condescended to put on flesh and blood, He got dressed up in the person of His Son, in our humanity and He went walking around this world. What we find in passages like Mark 6 is the disciples fighting against stormy seas, and Jesus goes out on the water. The text says that "He meant to pass by them" (Mark 6:49).

Why in the world would Jesus want to pass by the disciples? Why wouldn't He want to help them if He sees them struggling?

Dannah: And if He is good?

Dane: Exactly. If He is good, if His heart is for them. What is happening there is it is picking up on that language of Exodus 33:34 where it is the same Greek word as in Mark 6, "pass by." The Greek translation of the Old Testament of Exodus 33:34 of God passing by. What's going on is that just as God, Yahweh, passed by Moses when he was in the cleft of the rock, revealing His glory and goodness, in a similar way, Jesus all through the gospels (and highlighted in Mark 6) is passing by the disciples as He continues to peal back the veil and let them see His glory and goodness in flesh and blood where they can look upon God face to face and live.

Dannah: Wow! I have chills. That makes me want to pray, "Lord, show me Your glory."

Dane: Amen.

Dannah: I'd love to have a glimpse like that!

So, Dane, let me ask you a stumper. I don't know if it is a stumper, because sometimes five year olds have a better understanding of concepts of God than we do. But if you were to have to explain the glory of God, the goodness of God to a five year old, what would you say?

Dane: Well, I have a five year old, so I had better be able to having something to say to that.

God's glory is His brightness. We just went to the pool a couple days ago, and the kids were wearing sunglasses. You have to put on sunglassess because that sun is so bright. God's glory is something like you have to put sunglasses on because it is so radiant, so splendid. Maybe five year olds don't use those words, but it is so big and wonderful you can barely look at it in the face. That's God's glory.

Dannah: I love that. You know, one of the things that I teach my "true girls" that to glorify God, a way I have come to explain it to them so they can understand is that we are like the moon. The moon has no light of its own. It's a cold, dark stone. But the light of the sun bouncing off the moon, that is the moon glorifying the sun. We want out lives to be like that. We don't have the brightness and the bigness of the sun, of God, but we can live so infused with the light, so exposed to the light of Christ and His love for us that it bounces off of us. Then others see it when they look at us.

Dane: I love that. And how ridiculous for me to walk around this this world as a moon thinking I can create my own light. I want to reflect His.

Dannah: Yes, let’s reflect God’s light today! His glory.

Dane Orlund is the author of the popular book Gentle and Lowly. I’m pretty sure you know someone who is reading this book right now. It’s truly something special—a gift for the body of Christ. In fact, I want to say, "Please, go get this book!" In fact, we here at Revive Our Hearts love it so much we carry it in our online bookstore at ReviveOurHearts.com

But now, let’s keep learning from Moses. Just what was the secret that kept Him knowing God? What kept Him hungry for God’s glory?

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is about to shed some light on that for us. She has some interesting insights on the life of Moses from her studies in Exodus. Here’s Nancy reading from Exodus 33 beginning in verse 7.

Bonus content from the interview "Gentle and Lowly, with Dane Ortlund."

Nancy: “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and He called it the tent of meeting.” This was not the tabernacle. The tabernacle, as you know, had not been constructed yet. This was just a temporary structure that Moses set up for the purpose of having a place to meet with the Lord.

So Moses would take this tent, he would pitch it outside the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting.

Everyone who sought the LORD [that’s what we’ve been doing, isn’t it?—seeking Him] would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. (vv. 7–8)

"When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud . . .” Remember what that was? That was the visible representation of the presence of God, the Shekinah glory of God.

When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. (vv. 9–11).

Verse 7: “Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp far off from the camp and he called it the tent of meeting.” That raises the question before we get into these principles, Why was the tent outside the camp?

You've got to remember the context of this passage. This is right after the incident with the golden calf where the Children of Israel had rebelled against God. They had broken His commandments. They had been idolatrous. It was this huge, awful orgy of sexual and religious practice mixed up together that was very pagan.

God had judged the people. He had punished them. God had said to Moses as a result of what these people have done, I will not go with you any further. So God had distanced Himself. Sin separates from God.

Yet Moses was so intentional about meeting with God, so determined to have fellowship with God that he said, "I’ll go wherever I have to go to find the presence of God." So that’s the first principle we see is that Moses was intentional about meeting with God.Even though God wouldn’t come in the camp at that point, Moses took the tent outside the camp, and he said, "I’ll meet with God there." He was intentional. This was a priority for Moses. It was a conscious, deliberate, determined choice.

Let me remind you, Moses was a busy man. He had two million Jews to take care of. He had to lead them. He had to care for them. He had to make sure that their food needs were met. Well, God is the One who really did that, but Moses was the human leader. You could have imagined him saying, “I just don’t have time today for this.” But He found time. He was intentional about meeting with God.

Are you? Are you intentional about taking time out of your busy day to get alone with God to listen to Him speak? I want to tell you that after forty-some years of walking with God, I can tell you this for sure, it doesn't just happen. You have to make a conscious, deliberate, determined choice, "This matters to me. If I don't get anything else done in my day, I've got to spend time with God."

We also see that this was a regular habit that Moses had. He made a regular habit of meeting with God. And again, I would ask, do you? Not just occasionally, not just when you get in trouble, but as a way of life. Are you taking time? It says Moses used to do this. He would do this regularly. This wasn’t a one-time thing. This wasn’t occasional. This was a way of life for him. Is it for you? It’s got to be.

Then we see that Moses left the company of others to meet with God. He went far off from the camp. Now partially that was because that’s where God was. God wouldn’t come into the camp at that point, but to go out to that tent of meeting required that Moses leave the company of others in order to get alone with God.

That stands in contrast to the people who were not seeking the Lord. We read about them in Exodus chapter 32. They were rebellious. They were idolatrous. They weren’t seeking God, but Moses said, "Even if no one else seeks God, I’ve got to meet with God." This wasn’t something that was popular. This was a salmon swimming upstream, if you will.

That’s what we’re challenging Revive Our Hearts women to do—that’s to be counter-cultural. Sometimes you’ve got to be counter to the evangelical culture. The evangelical culture unfortunately, by and large, is not making a priority out of seeking God. If you just go with the crowd, if you just go with your friends, you’re not going to seek God.

Are you going to go against the crowd? Are you going to go against the flow? Are you going to be faithful when others are not? Are you going to be like Moses and, more importantly, like Jesus, who we read about in Mark chapter 1, verse 35. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed” (NIV). You have to leave the crowd.

The Israelites needed Moses, and I suppose they probably thought they couldn’t do without him for that hour or two or whatever it was that he was away from them. Just like the disciples thought they needed Jesus in Mark chapter 1. It was after that verse where Jesus went away, it says in the next paragraph, “Then the disciples came and found him and said, ‘Everyone is looking for you’” (Mark 1:36-37 paraphrased).

The disciples needed Jesus. The Israelites needed Moses. There are people who need you and who clamor for your attention, but what those people most needed then and what they most need in your life is someone who has met with God.

Listen to the entire episode, "Outside the Camp." This comes from the series, "Developing a Personal Devotional Life."

Dannah: Okay, was Nancy just reading my mind? As a mother, grandmother, team leader, I feel the needs of people I love and live beside. You probably do too!

With all that you have on your plate each day: meetings, children, bills to pay, tables to bus . . . friend, do what Moses did, what Jesus did—get away!

Even if it’s in a closet, even if it’s just five minutes, get away and spend that time meditating on a verse and praying to the One who hears and knows what is on your plate. That’s how you’ll get to know who He truly is, by spending time with Him.

This matters all the time, but especially when we’re going through painful times.

Deborah Howard is a woman acquainted with suffering. And she’s had to wrestle with what God was doing during those painful circumstances. During a poignant time in her life she was a single mom trying to make ends meet and keep it all together.  She was asking God why He was causing some things or allowing other things in her life. Can you relate?

It seemed like many of her choices ended up hurting her. And she was almost to the end of herself when a mentor started to teach her how to really think biblically through the issues she was facing. 

Deborah’s perspective changed as she spent time getting to really know God. Here’s Deborah sharing with Nancy how she came to understand that God is worthy of our love and trust. 

Deborah Howard: God doesn’t do anything to break anybody’s heart. God does not seek to punish us in cruel ways. His suffering is for a short duration, and it is always for a purpose, and that purpose is always going to result in His glory and in good to us. Now, we may not be able to see the good that comes from our sufferings right away, maybe never. But many times God is gracious enough to allow us to see what our suffering has actually meant to us. And when you think about it, Nancy, it’s during the times of the greatest tribulation that you end up growing the most spiritually. Hasn’t that been your experience?

Nancy: I was just telling someone this week that I would like to have the fruit that I see in the lives of people who have suffered a lot and how they become like Jesus. There’s this sense of intimacy with God and just a sweet fruit of righteousness. I said, “I want that outcome, but I don’t want to go through what they went through to get there.” But it does seem as if there were no shortcuts.

Deborah: No, that’s the way He teaches us many times. We want to live lives that we don’t even really need faith. Because if we could order our lives any way in the world, I would never have said, “Let one of my most dearly loved family members, like my brother, John, let him die,” or “Let’s let my husband lose his job,” or “Let’s let somebody get cancer.” I would never choose those things if I was ordering my own life.

Nancy: We would never write the script the way God does.

Deborah: No, because I would have a happy ending every day. But the thing about it is, we do have faith and we have faith for a reason, and that is that we need that faith to get through the things that we encounter during our lives. Those things are not haphazardly tossed to us. They are designed for us by a loving God. And, yes, that is very hard to reconcile because you know that both are true.

God is good. He is nothing but good—can be nothing but good and gracious. On the other hand, here we are and we suffer and that is the other side of it. We are suffering. God is good. So what is the reconciliation there between those two things? Well, through studying Scriptures, you learn that God has purposes in our suffering, and these purposes are blessings. They are kind of like blessings in disguise because we may not even recognize them as blessings until sometime after. Sometimes we never understand how these heartbreaking scenarios in our life are actually purposed for our good.

Nancy: So really, the starting place in finding God’s purpose in our suffering is to acknowledge that He does have a purpose, that He is not arbitrary, that He does have purposes in mind, and that His purposes are good. As you have been talking, Deborah, two verses have come to mind. One is in Hebrews 5:8, where we are told that even Jesus, though He was the Son of God, learned obedience through the things which He suffered.

Now, He was obedient, and we could go into more detail as to exactly what that verse means, but there is something that happened in His life as a man that was accomplished through suffering. You have talked about how one of the primary purposes of God in suffering is to conform us to the image of Christ. We say, “I want to be like Jesus.” But we want to get there without the cross. We want the resurrection life without the cross. And as you have pointed out, no pain, no gain.

And then there is that amazing verse in 1 Peter 4:1-2, and again we don’t have time to go into depth on this verse, but listen to what it says. “Since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”

Now, I will grant there is some mystery in those verses, but what it says, bottom line, is that there is something about suffering that is purifying. It is purging. When God has His way with suffering in our lives, it brings to the surface and deals with issues in our lives, sins in our lives that we may not have been aware of or we may have been overcome by.

God somehow uses suffering to bring us to the place where we no longer live under the domination of our flesh but we want more than anything else to do the will of God. So if that is our objective, to be pleasing to the Lord, to be like Christ, to be purified from sin, then we’ve got to embrace that suffering is a part of that process.

Deborah: That’s where trust comes in. We trust that what He has told us is true, that His attributes are real, and we trust in that. That element of trust will get us through any kind of difficulty. As we go through our lives, this period of sanctification increases. And remember, we will never get there. We will never find perfection this side of death. But our lives should be a journey in sanctification. As we journey in sanctification, our will becomes more conformed to His so that, like you said, the desire of our heart is His heart and His will, and we want what that entails regardless of how that manifests itself in our lives. We want it even if it means we have to go through suffering.

Nancy: It may be that as you’re listening to this program the step you need to take right now as you think about your suffering, big or little though it may be is to say, “Lord, I trust You, that You know what You are doing, that You don’t make mistakes, that You are good, and that You are going to use these trials, these struggles these pressures and problems in my life to accomplish good and holy purposes for Your glory and for my good.” If you can just start there, then you’ll begin that adventure of seeing God unfold what His purposes are in your life.

Listen to the entire episode, "God's Goodness and Our Suffering." It comes from the series, "Where Is God in All of This?"

Dannah: None of us want the suffering, but sometimes that’s where we get to see God’s glory. Did you hear what Deborah said? We need to trust that what He has told us is true, that His attributes are real, and we can trust that. When you find yourself in a trial or test, rest your faith on the character of the Great I AM. It just might be where God grants you the request to see His glory.

You know one reason Moses was able to see God’s glory is because he was a man who said “Yes, Lord.” Even though He was terrified of all God asked him to do. He said “yes.” 

Revive Our Hearts is celebrating twenty years of saying “Yes, Lord” and inviting countless women around the world to say “Yes, Lord,” too! In fact, this month when you give a gift of any amount to partner with us in that work, we want to say "thank you" by sending you one of our core Bible studies, True Woman 101, and a beautiful art print that you can only get from us. It simply proclaims “Yes, Lord!”

Just ask for it when you make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com/weekend, or when you call us at 1–800–569–5959. 

Next week, we’re going to take a look at what being faithful looks like, and we’ll take our example from Anna who faithfully followed God for over 100 years waiting for the Messiah to be born. 

Thanks for listening today. Thanks to our team: Phil Krause, Rebekah Krause, Justin Converse, Michelle Hill, and for Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh

After twenty years, we still say “Yes, Lord” as we call women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ. 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guests

Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard, RN, CHPN (Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse), and her husband, Theron, live near Little Rock, Arkansas, where she divides her time between writing, lecturing and working as a hospice nurse. She has worked in various nursing fields.

Dane Ortlund

Dane Ortlund

Dane was called to be the Senior Pastor at Naperville Presbyterian Church in 2020 after being part of the church for thirteen years along with his family: his college sweetheart, Stacey, and their five kids, Zach, Nate, Jeremiah, Chloe, and Ben.  Dane is a graduate of Wheaton College (BA), Covenant Theological Seminary (MDiv, ThM), and Wheaton College Graduate School (PhD in New Testament).  Prior to coming on staff he worked for ten years in Christian publishing at Crossway in Wheaton. He is the author of several books such as Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers, Edwards on the Christian Life: Alive to the Beauty of God, and Defiant Grace: The Surprising Message and Mission of Jesus.  Dane’s life purpose is to glory in the endless grace of God and to call others to join him there. It’s all about Jesus—and his unspeakable heart for sinners.