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L.O.V.E. (Let Our Voices Encourage) Devotions

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Finding Courage in Community


“So Moses brought their case before the LORD, and the LORD said to him, ‘What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them.’”

Numbers 27:5-7



Recently, I gathered with a group of women leaders in my city. These women head up nonprofits, work as teachers and administrators in local schools, run businesses, and lead in churches. Many of them were feeling run down and overwhelmed by needs in their circles of influence.

Maybe that describes you today: run down, overwhelmed, and ready to throw in the towel. No matter where we lead — whether in our city, church, workplace or home — we all reach a point where we’re not sure how to keep going. Loss, obstacles and opposition wear us down and wear us out.

The women leaders in my city were hungry for some encouragement in their various leadership roles. So I opened up my Bible to the book of Numbers and read a story about five sisters who were part of the nation of Israel: the daughters of Zelophehad.

These women in Numbers 27, who are called by name — Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah (Numbers 27:1) — walked a journey of grief. Their father died, and they were left without provision. Together they went to Moses and appealed to his compassion — and subsequently the compassion of God.

They posed a respectful yet pointed question: “Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son?” (Numbers 27:4a, NIV).

In essence, they asked for the rights to their father’s property, which is not something women were usually granted in this ancient context. Fathers gave their daughters a dowry or gift upon marriage, but daughters did not inherit property. Still, Moses heard their case and brought their request to God. I love God’s response:

“So Moses brought their case before the LORD, and the LORD said to him, ‘What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them’” (Numbers 27:5-7).

This story teaches us a lot about God’s heart for women. The word translated “case” here is mishpat in Hebrew, which can also mean “justice” and is used throughout the Bible. The women made a personal case for justice, which affected the entire community. The law was changed, and all women who were left without fathers and brothers would benefit (Numbers 27:8-11).

These women stepped out in community with courage. They serve as examples to all of us today. God gives us intelligence, agency and creativity to move in our respective spheres of influence. And because He goes with us and provides others to bolster our courage, we don’t have to do it alone.

Who can you link arms with to go with them courageously toward change?

Maybe God is calling you to go with your daughter by offering her wisdom and encouragement.

Maybe He’s calling you to lead your organization and go with your team in a new direction.

Maybe your husband needs you to go with him by praying over him.

Maybe you can go with your sister in Christ who is learning to rise up and voice her story.

Let’s pray about ways we can move forward in faith and community like the daughters of Zelophehad who changed history.

Dear God, thank You for being a God who personally cares for each one of our needs. Your Word illuminates Your heart for both mercy and justice. Show us how to treat others with this same heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

J
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