This week in my Bible study, I have been stunned by the story of Zelophehad’s daughters, which you can find in the book of Numbers, chapters 26 and 27. Basically, Zelophehad passed on with no sons to receive his inheritance, and women were not allowed to by law. But his daughters, not wanting to lose their livelihood, petitioned Moses to let them keep their father’s inheritance anyway. They reasoned, quite straightforwardly, that his family shouldn’t be punished because he had no sons. After hearing their case, Moses chatted with God about it. God said the daughters were right and asked Moses to give them their father’s inheritance and possessions. There were two things about this short narrative that struck me.
First, with such a precedent plainly evident in the Scriptures, why did it take thousands of years for this verdict to be more generally accepted? Why did it take so long for this law to change when one case could be changed so easily? Why were not other successful petitions regarding this issue immediately on the heels of this one, changing common practice toward more equality in these matters long ago?
And secondly and more importantly: How rare to pursue a way out of one’s commonly accepted limitations! How often do we not ask? How often do we refrain from the simple, innocent logic that will change everything for us? Do we believe that we deserve what we reasonably need enough to risk asking for the dispensation of that thing? Does God deny what corresponds to His will when it is different from human convention? Do we assume God’s will is against us when maybe it is not?
How are we limiting ourselves by accepting unnecessary edicts that we should argue to be removed from? I want to shout with Mary Baker Eddy, “Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right.” (Yet we still cower in the corner wringing our hands over injustice?) Rise up and “come boldly unto the throne of grace!” (Hebrews 4:16) You will not be turned away empty handed. And don’t wait thousands of years to do it.