“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
Nothing is sadder than seeing a group of people being denied justice and nobody says anything. The problem is that we have allowed some of these injustices to go on for so long that we accept it as normal.
In our social justice training with MICAH last Saturday I heard something profound from a sister raised in rural Mississippi. She said her elders taught her not to “make waves” when there was racism or injustice because if she did she would bring trouble on the family. This compliant surrender to injustice has been our default mode in the south for far too long! It’s time to stand up for our rights!
The daughters of Zelophehad were facing an injustice that had been normalized in their culture. Their father died and his property should have gone to his sons. Since he only had daughters they were going to give his property to a man outside the family. The daughters protested against this injustice. They argued that they should not be disregarded simply because of their gender. This was sexist and paternalistic. This was generational injustice and they had had enough!
What do we need to do when we’ve had enough?
1. Like the daughters of Zelophehad, we come together! There were five of them. Five represents the number of grace. There is grace when we come together to fight against injustice. There is power in numbers. That’s why MICAH (Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope) is so important. It is an organization of organizations coming together to fight injustice.
2. We have to bring our concerns for injustice to our elected officials together. The daughters of Zelophehad petitioned their leaders about the injustice. A petition is defined as a formally drawn request, often bearing the names of a number of those making the request, that is addressed to a person or group of persons in authority or power, soliciting some favor, right, mercy, or other benefit.
God answered the daughters’ petition and Moses reformed the law! Standing up for justice is not just about petition and protest, but ultimately reform. They got justice because Moses the judge decreed a grant to give them their father’s land. The reform of the law was as follows: “And give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If a man dies and has no son, then give his inheritance to his daughters. And if he has no daughter either, transfer his inheritance to his brothers.” Numbers 27:8-9 NLT
It’s time for us to stop swallowing injustice and instead get up, stand up, stand up for our rights! Don’t give up the fight!
Give us the courage to no longer accept things as they are or as they have been. Don’t let us shrink back to mere existence or survival. We will not be passive aggressive prisoners. Rather we will create a better way by following our liberator Jesus Christ who declared, “I am the Way the Truth, and the Life!” Father, grant us the freedom that is ours through your son. Thank you for granting us our inheritance!
In Jesus’ Name!
Focus Scripture: 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)