For the Lord had said of them, “They will all die in the wilderness.” Not one of them survived except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. Numbers 26:65 NLT
Some men can be especially funny. Not intentionally, but they can be funny. Sitting near a group of men in a restaurant, it was hard not to overhear their discussion. As they mused over several curious subjects, one man went all in. With his outdoor voice he declared, “When I get to heaven my first question for St. Peter will be, ‘was Jimmy Hoffa abducted by aliens?” After some big chuckles from his entourage, the quiet man at the end of the table said with stoic seriousness, “What makes you think you will get to heaven?” That is a big question.
Questions are important, they bring us to answers. Do you remember the story of the twelve spies sent to explore Canaan, the Promised Land? This is the land flowing with milk and honey promised to the Israelites by God. The Lord instructed Moses to send one man from each of the twelve tribes to scout out the land for forty days. After scouting the land, only Caleb and Joshua brought back a positive and bold response to move forward. They were confident with God’s help they could conquer the land of the giants. The other ten spies viewed things much differently. Their vivid explanations stirred panic and fear in the people. They told Moses and the leaders that they lacked the strength to fight the giants in the land of Canaan. They were correct, without God they could not conquer the land.
Questions are important, but more important, who is providing the answers?
The mob was enraged and wanted to stone Caleb and Joshua for their plans. God intervened and appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle. God wanted to destroy the naysayers, but Moses pleaded with God to spare their lives. But God decided their rebellion would cost them the Promised Land. Of the millions of original Israelites who crossed the Red Sea, only Caleb and Joshua would be allowed to enter the Promised Land. And by the way, I believe the Bible to be perfectly true, and not a book of analogies. People did cross the Red Sea, Jonah was swallowed by a big fish, and Noah built one huge arc before the great flood. Those are all real! I do not believe in minimizing God.
All of this is a prelude to five brave women who decided to speak up and ask big. Have you heard of the five daughters of Zelophehad?
Most have not, but you will find their bold and inspiring story in Numbers 27:1-11, and it changed land inheritance for all time. The five daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. Their father, Zelophehad, was an original Red Sea crossing Israelite, and died in the wilderness before entering the promised land. According to law, because he had no sons, his name, and his inheritance of land in Canaan would both die with him. This doesn’t seem quite right, does it?
Just for the record, these five ladies did not choose their gender, they were created female by God. The women could have given up, or given in to their circumstance, but they unified and approached the throne of God for mercy.
They approached the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders and the whole assembly, and said, “Our father died in the desert. 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.” Numbers 27:2-4 (NIV)
Where do I begin? The strength, the boldness, the courage, the gumption, or “this is something that has never been done before,” just where do I start? How about humility? Women were not treated the same as men, so they would need a gentle spirit, a calming attitude during their presentation. It could be the unity, no selfishness, the sisters working together for the good of all. Perhaps it was the confidence they placed in God, believing the Promised Land would be acquired before the battles were even fought!
And the Lord replied to Moses, “The claim of the daughters of Zelophehad is legitimate. You must give them a grant of land along with their father’s relatives. Assign them the property that would have been given to their father. Numbers 27:6-7 (NLT)WOW, they asked, and God showed them favor. Reaching down and blessing their lives, and the lives of all daughters for generations to come!
When I was a single mom for five years, my ask was about the necessities in life; food, shelter, a car, childcare, a job. Times were quite challenging, but God heard my pleas and answered every need. There were times when I prayed and prayed about a situation, then let go and let God handle the outcome. Sometimes it wasn’t overnight, or even a few years, but God always answers the prayers and pleas of those who call upon His name. There were times I asked really BIG things, bigger than I could even imagine, and in His timing, and in His will, God delivered!
“Your glorious throne rests on a foundation of righteousness and just verdicts. Grace and truth are the attendants who go before you.” Psalm 89:14 (TPT)
The time has come for Christians to speak up and ask big things of our God. Our problems have outgrown our leadership and we need to turn back to God for the solutions. We must be like our sisters in the Word. We must approach our God in humility, begging forgiveness and repenting of our ways. We must ALL unify as born-again believers in Jesus Christ. And finally, we must believe confidently that we serve a God who is big enough to solve every problem.