“The men are always the ones acknowledged and called to lead. But I guess they are also the ones called to fight. I’m glad I don’t have to do that.” the younger sister, Tirza stated, slightly feeling sorry for herself. She understood that she and her sisters were on their own. Not having a father, brother or husband was something to be avoided, even dreaded.
“But why should we not inherit the land of our father since he died in the desert? With no brothers, there are no men in our family line to establish our father’s property.” Mahlah, the oldest daughter of Zelophehad was stating what she had been thinking about for weeks.
“I wish things were different, it doesn’t seem right that we would not get our father’s portion. What are we supposed to do? Where will we live?” Hogla, the middle of five sisters had been extremely worried about this, adding her thoughts to the conversation.
But Mahlah had a plan. She thought long and hard about how God had taken care of them all the while they wandered in the wilderness. All of her life, there had been no staying put. Many times she and her sisters would help their father set up the tent, and they would stay only as long as the Cloud stayed. As soon as it began to move, the routine would begin again.
Pulling up the tent pegs, packing up the supplies, gathering the animals, they would set out for the next stop. Then set-up started all over. This had been their life.
And there was the miracle of manna. Every morning but one each week, food appeared on the ground.
Their father had told them how things used to be before they crossed the Red Sea, how the food in Egypt had been varied and tasty. She couldn’t conceive of anything other than the manna. She wondered about the food, and looked forward to the land the Lord God had promised them. She knew the day was coming.
Finally they arrived at Canaan. The lots had been cast and the boundary lines had been drawn for the twelve clans. Their father was of the tribe of Manasseh, son of Joseph. She didn’t want to be a wanderer any longer.
So Mahlah gathered her sisters. They were going to bring their case to Moses. She believed that her God cared about them and might see fit to grant them their father’s portion.
Boldly, they approached the entrance to the tent of meeting and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, the whole assembly, and said this, “Our father is dead . . . why should his name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among out father’s relatives.”
Exodus 33:7-11 tells us that the people would go to the Tent of Meeting to approach the Lord.
After the girls approached Moses, He brought the case to the Lord who replied, “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their fathers’ relatives and turn their father’s inheritance over to them. Numbers 27:6-7
It required both faith and boldness to approach what had been a fearful place to many and the result of their going to God to ask for what they desired impacted the next generations.
There are a number of choices they could have made in their dilemma. They could have whined to those around them, complained to Moses like so many had before them. They grew up among complainers and manipulators.
They could have started a protest movement among their girlfriends. Made picket signs and tried to prove why they should be considered worthy of inheriting land.
But instead, they humbled themselves, acknowledged where the Answer was found and approached God who not only granted their request, but also established that anyone in their situation would not fail to acquire legal rights to their family property. Numbers 27:8-11
The faith and boldness of five women seeking God benefitted the following generations of daughters.
And I thought, “What if they had never asked God, but had resorted to common human-responses?”
James 4:2-3 came to mind: You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
God said the daughters’ desire was right. Numbers 27:6-7 If our motive is right, we are invited to approach Him boldly.
What might God be inviting you to boldly ask Him for?
The daughters of Zelophehad are our examples of God’s invitation to us to in Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Did you ever consider that your prayers would be ‘plowing the ground’ for those who are following you? Do you realize others benefit when you boldly approach the throne of God? Do you have testimony of this happening in your own life?
Joining my friend Angie for Inspire Me Monday