How often do I follow God because I agree with him, and how often do I go my way because I know better? It’s more difficult to follow God when he leads us where we don’t want to go. It comes down to whether we really believe that God knows what is best for us.
1 The family heads of the clan of Gilead son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, who were from the clans of the descendants of Joseph, came and spoke before Moses and the leaders, the heads of the Israelite families. 2 They said, “When the Lord commanded my lord to give the land as an inheritance to the Israelites by lot, he ordered you to give the inheritance of our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. 3 Now suppose they marry men from other Israelite tribes; then their inheritance will be taken from our ancestral inheritance and added to that of the tribe they marry into. And so part of the inheritance allotted to us will be taken away. 4 When the Year of Jubilee for the Israelites comes, their inheritance will be added to that of the tribe into which they marry, and their property will be taken from the tribal inheritance of our ancestors.”
5 Then at the Lord’s command Moses gave this order to the Israelites: “What the tribe of the descendants of Joseph is saying is right. 6 This is what the Lord commands for Zelophehad’s daughters: They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within their father’s tribal clan. 7 No inheritance in Israel is to pass from one tribe to another, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal inheritance of their ancestors. 8 Every daughter who inherits land in any Israelite tribe must marry someone in her father’s tribal clan, so that every Israelite will possess the inheritance of their ancestors. 9 No inheritance may pass from one tribe to another, for each Israelite tribe is to keep the land it inherits.”
10 So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses. 11 Zelophehad’s daughters—Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milkah and Noah—married their cousins on their father’s side. 12 They married within the clans of the descendants of Manasseh son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in their father’s tribe and clan.
When I read this story the other day (and then dismissed it as I flipped the page), God spoke to me later that morning to make me come back to it. I thought to myself, what does the division of land to the tribes of Israel have to do with me in the 21st century? And then I flipped to Proverbs and read there instead. Then God impressed on me that there is a story here of obedience to him. And so I came back.
The gist of the story is that the question came forward about what would happen to the inheritance of a tribe if its daughters married into another tribe. God’s answer was that his will for them was to marry within their own tribe so that the land would not transfer and so that God’s allocation of the tribal land would stay as-is into the future.
God said: “They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within their father’s tribal clan.” And the response of the women was, “So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses.” Got it? Do you get the lesson here?
How many of you want to be told whom to marry? Arranged marriages are still common in many countries, yet I can’t imagine the push-back I would get in my own home if I told my kids whom to marry. Even if I told them they could only select from a specific group of people (descendants of the regions of UK where my ancestors are from), they would rebel.
These women didn’t rebel. They did as God commanded.
This got me thinking about how often I obey God because I agree with his command and how often I disobey because I like my idea better. It’s more difficult to follow God when he leads us where we don’t want to go.
Is there an area in your life in which God is speaking to you against your own sensibility or your desires? I encourage you to show reverence and obedience to God. As hard as it may be, our Maker knows what is best for us, and he speaks to us by his Holy Spirit.
Say yes to God today.