Scripture - Number 27:4 - Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.”
Theme - Vulnerability
Meditation - Our story for the week is an obscure one in which Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah, the daughters of a man named Zelophehad advocate for the inheritance from their father they are denied by law because they are women. This story is taking place as the Hebrew people have ended their 40 year sojourn in the wilderness and are now taking their place in Canaan, the promised land.
The land was a gift from God and so both a sign of God's loving fidelity and the material fulfillment of God's promised blessing. The land represents God's ongoing relationship with Israel. The daughters are not just concerned about receiving property, but also that their 'father's name disappear.' To lose possession of the land given by God is like being forgotten or abandoned by God. Women in this era and culture without a man to provide for them were incredibly vulnerable. Because they are not included as those who can receive an inheritance, in essense, they are being excluded from the covenant with God that the land represents.
As complex as this all sounds, this is an amazing story of small family of vulnerable women who find the courage to advocate for themselves. They are vulnerable economically and materially if they do not receive this inheritance. They are vulnerable socially and spirtually because being excluded from the inheritance in effect excludes them from the covenant with God. But they do not accept this vulnerability or this status of those who are excluded. They go to Moses and raise their voices, tell their story, argue persuasively to be included materially in the covenant. This story highlights the experience of those who are vulnerable, and promises God's intervention which creates for them security, inclusion & wholeness. It also reminds us that inclusion and dignity are much more than attitudes and feelings. They must be expressed materially in order to have their spiritual impact felt.
Prayer - Once again you reveal yourself as the God who hearkens to those who are ignored, dismissed & left out. Yours is the ongoing mission of including those who are excluded. Make us aware and shape us as a welcoming community for all those cast aside.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.