They fought for their inheritance.
We don’t hear about them in our Sunday School classes, but the story of these five sisters is important to me because it reminds me that the Lord loved His people and desired the best for them.
Tucked within the book of Numbers is an important reminder of the Lord’s provision for His daughters. In Numbers 27, we first meet these five wise, daring, young women.
They stood before Moses, the chief priest, the entire congregation and effectively God Himself, pleading their case. The temerity of their request is conspicuous even with our modern ideas about the equality of men and women. In that era it was without precedent and not only were they heard … their request was granted.
They knew their history …
they believed in the Promise …
and when the time came they actively pursued that Promise.
These sisters recognized their culture favored the men and that the continuity of their father’s name, their family name, depended upon an inheritance. They called attention to their father’s faithfulness (not involved in the rebellion of Numbers 16) and sought to be allowed to honor his name through an inheritance.Many thought only of returning to comforts of Egypt; these women pursued the Promise with passion!'Click To Tweet
Honoring their father’s name and being included in the Promised Land was not about their own selfishness but about being part of the family of God. Their request was not a rebellious demand but a thoughtful petition. It was spoken directly to the authority and not in bitter whispers behind tent coverings.
Winning their inheritance was not without cost. They were required to find husbands from among their father’s tribe so the balance of power might remain equal among the tribes of Israel. This may or may not have required sacrifice on their part, but even with this restriction, it is specifically recorded they should be allowed some decision in whom they would wed. This also left room for them to choose not to marry because of their financial independence.
The Lord honored their request and set a new precedent which would further distinguish Israel as set apart and unique among the surrounding nations. Such acknowledgment of daughters was not completely unheard of but was unusual. Sadly, these freedoms would be eroded as the people of Israel regressed back into the mosaic of local pagan traditions, but it was not the Lord’s will for their future.
Much has been written about how much is not written for and about women in Scripture. These stories might not be preached as often because they appear to be outliers or exceptions to the rules of culture but we know that these five women were named not once but at least three different times in the Scripture.
I have often wondered why the rules are different for men and women. I have struggled with the balance of the old and the new; of the equilibrium between the law and grace. It’s tempting to judge God by the ways and means of human culture and tradition. I am beginning to fully comprehend how this would be a mistake. I now see that passages like these were recorded as a reminder of His love and justice.
These questions are not new, going back to the Snake’s challenge in the Garden of Eden. I hear the wily voice of evil from time to time challenging God’s love for me, making me feel less than. When I take these questions to my Heavenly Father, He reminds me that when I am not able to completely understand His timeless perspective I can absolutely trust His Love for me. I can look to the daughters of Zelophehad and know the LORD sees his daughters. He saw Sarah, Miriam, Rahab, Deborah and even Jael. He knew their needs far more than they even knew themselves.
When you find yourself halted by a cultural glass ceiling, know that you can turn back to the Father who sees and loves you. You can trust in His promises. Take the opportunity to dig deep and present your case, trusting that He already wants to give you the desires of your heart. We have a loving Abba who gave the supreme sacrifice for all, regardless of gender, race, social or marital status or age. He’s waiting to shower us with His mercy and grace.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:16
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