So – more amazing revelations for me and my little homeschoolers as we immerse ourselves in the Old Testament! Just some thoughts about how we can find buried treasure in the Word as we sift through it. We are reading in the Book of Joshua now. And this is the passage we encountered today…
Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, had no sons, but only daughters, and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. They approached Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the leaders and said,“The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance along with our brothers.” So according to the mouth of the LORD, He gave them an inheritance among the brothers of their father (Josh 17:3-4).
Here is the backstory to this request; it is the original request: Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of Manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the chiefs and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin. And he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.” Moses brought their case before the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, “The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their father’s brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them.” (Number 27:1-4).
As I have mentioned before, our family is reading through the Bible in a year, together with our church. Me and my kiddos are writing down what we are learning about God’s character or anything that piques a personal interest. Today we saw, again, how Yahweh is faithful to His promises. In the passages from Joshua and Numbers, we see that the inheritance promised Zelophedad is kept in his line, in his family, in spite of him having no sons. We thought this was remarkable. Apparently the writer of the book of Numbers agreed because there is significant discussion about it. Just a brief search revealed at least 4 occurrences in Numbers alone over this topic (plus the verse in Joshua above, makes 5) – there could be more but I had to stop looking. 😉 Here is what we thought about it:
- Giving land to daughters demonstrates a very counter culture choice in a patriarchal society – it shows that God’s faithfulness, His promise-keeping, trumps tradition and societal norms. The LORD may break with tradition, but He will not break a promise. It is not in His character to do so because He demonstrates faithful and steadfast love, always.
- My own daughter loved the idea that the LORD counted the daughters as important parts of the family line – me too! It reminds me of how He counted other “insignificant people” as important to His plan: Rahab (from Jericho), Tamar (from Canaan), and Ruth (from Moab) were not “chosen people”, until He chose them. He rescued each of them from idolatry, redeemed their forgotten lives and gave them a special place in history, which is His-Story. In His Word, the LORD tells us their story. How He grafted them into the nation of Israel, and how ultimately they became part of the Lineage of Grace (the female ancestors of Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords). There is such a cool book about them, by Francine Rivers (amazon link).
- But one of my favorite aspects of these passages was the example of the daughters of Zelophedad. They had chutzpah – courage, audacity, nerve. They asked for an inheritance. They remembered the promise and claimed it for themselves. When me and the kiddos talked about this, my Gracie said, “That’s like when Jesus said, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.’ ” (Matt 7:7). So true.
So I reminded the kiddos that God calls us His heirs: When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).
In the Promised Land, the Israelites received their inheritance. This fulfillment of prophecy and promise and hope took slave to land owners in one generation. Not only that but, God gave them such abundance in their new lives: I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant (Josh 24:13).
In the same way, Yahweh fulfills prophecy and promise and hope in us by making us fellow heirs with Christ: For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).
And in the same way, through Jesus, our inheritance is enriched by an abundant harvest. He gives us fruit that we did not labor for on our own. Instead it is a gift from Him: the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
So, like the daughters of Zelophedad, with chutzpah, we should ask Him for the full inheritance as promised. Who of us doesn’t need more love, peace, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control? He is faithful and He keeps His promises. If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matt 7:11).
Tell me friends, what are you seeking from Him? What do you need? Ask, and He will open His hand. He is a generous Father!