Joel posted an mp3 audio teaching on his blog entitled "Does God inhabit our praises? (Or do we have it even better!)" It's only 17 minutes long and is well worth hearing. I added a comment but decided to do a blog post of my own because of an off topic thought that came to mind as I was listening.
The speaker described the elaborate cleansing ritual that was required by the Old Covenant before a believer could come into God's presence. He explained that it was necessary for the believers to cleanse their bodily flesh as much as possible in order to come before a holy God. This was symbolic of the flesh that still needs to be dealt with. I had never made the connection before and, immediately, the Old Testament rules regarding a woman and her monthly cycle came to mind.
Actually, I've always felt that the Old Testament God was somewhat chauvinistic in his attitude toward women. It seemed like his cleansing rules were set up to punish women for a natural body function over which they had no control. Other passages in the Old Testament seem to set women below men. Now, I'm not a feminst but it seemed to me that God, who was supposed to be impartial,was being partial and favoring men.
The speaker on the mp3 audio helped me to see that God was not opposing women. It was the uncleanness of the flesh that he was dealing with. Any man who touched the woman during her monthly cycle or anything she sat on or laid on was declared unclean. This has always seemed harsh and unfair to me but I now understand that Father was dealing with the flesh and not the woman.
The good news is that Jesus came to set us free . . . men and women. Because of his death and resurrection, we've been given a new covenant. We've now been made clean and we no longer have to go through an elaborate cleansing ritual before entering his presence. He's taken up permanent residence in us so that we are now always in his presence. All distinctions between men and women have been done away with and together we can experience the love and acceptance that Father has given us through Jesus Christ.