Thursday, March 12, 2020

Five Wise Daughters

Thursday, March 12, 2020
They came forward and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders and the whole assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among Korah’s followers, who banded together against the LORD, but he died for his own sin and left no sons. Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.”  So Moses brought their case before the LORD, and the LORD said to him, “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them.

Zelophehad’s Daughters
Recently while at a conference, I learned about five women in the Bible that I had never heard of before.  Their names are Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah, and Tizrah.  They were the five daughters of Zelophehad, who was a part of the Israelites who fled Egypt with Moses.  He died during the forty years in the wilderness and his five daughters were a part of the generation that were preparing to enter and possess the promised land.  He had no sons, only the five girls.

God’s law said that the promised land would be portioned out according to the number of names of members of the second generation that were counted in the census.  But only men were counted in the census so Zelophehad’s daughters would not count.  They were unmarried women, so they did not count in the eyes of the law, and therefore would be left with no inheritance and no land going into the long-awaited promised land.

Well Zelophehad’s daughters were smart women.  They knew the law and history. They decided that they would approach Moses and ask him for their father’s inheritance since he was dead, and they had no brothers or husbands.  They were wise because they waited for exactly the perfect moment to approach Moses.  They were bold because they approached him in the place where only the most important men congregated and a place where women had no authority - at the entrance to the tent of meeting. They used the fact that the stability of a family depends on inheritance of land, and they also used the fact that the current law does not take into account the unusual circumstances of a situation such as theirs – a man without sons. They presented their compelling arguments with confidence to Moses, and he consulted God.

What bravery!  Especially in a time when women were not even considered apart from a man.  But they were bold and believed what they were asking was fair.  Moses consulted God and God said yes.  What if they had not asked?  What if they had not been bold enough to ask a hard question?  What if Esther had not been bold enough to request an audience with the king on behalf of her people?  What if you are not asking the bold questions that God wants you to ask?  Or stepping into the brave places He wants you to step into?  The generation before had made a choice.  They decided to not go into the promised land as God directed them because they were afraid. God honored that choice, but it affected a lot of people.  A whole generation wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and missed the blessing of the Promised Land.  He allowed them to miss that opportunity because of their disobedience, and that sounds harsh, but that is what it is.  We don’t like to think of ourselves as being disobedient if we turn down an opportunity because we don’t feel qualified.  But if God is leading you to do something and you don’t because you think you can’t, that is disobedience.  He wants us to step up and trust Him.  He wants us to ask the bold questions.

God is always writing new chapters. He wants to lead us out of the wilderness, but can we trust Him?  Can we believe God for something we can’t see? God said yes to Zelophehad’s daughters and because of their bold ask, the law was changed, and many women were positively affected by their risk.  Many who were overlooked before, were no longer discounted, but were seen.  How can God use you to help those who are unseen become those who are seen?  He wants us to be bold and trust Him and step up to carry on the work He has for us.  If we don’t, someone else will and we will miss the blessing of obedience.

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