Y’all, I’m going to be honest. When I was first thinking about this series, I wrote down a list of 18 Bible characters off the top of my head who were obedient and gracious in their response to the things of God. Then I began actually writing it. This is my 20th post in the series and I’ve only covered 5 of the names on my original list, but I’m so glad that I’m studying these lesser known characters, it makes writing this series that much more fun!
Our society loves the idea of love and forbidden love is the best kind of “love”. These stories are full of drama and tension and make for great, conflict-filled story lines; they can be so entertaining. We relish seeing love conquer all, especially when parents or authority figures tell the young people that they simply can’t be together. The apparent “no” makes us root for them all the more.
In Numbers 36, we have a perfect setup for a forbidden love drama to unfold, yet that’s not what happens.
There was a man named Zelophehad who died who had no sons, only daughters. One day, the leaders of the tribes come to Moses and let him know about this situation: if one of the girls has a plot of land as their inheritance and marries someone of a different tribe, then that plot of land would be part of the tribe the girl married into. This is a big, geographical, logistical, and legal problem.
Here’s Moses’ response:
“This is what the Lord commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: ‘Let them marry whom they think best, only they shall marry within the clan of the tribe of their father… So no inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another, for each of the tribes of the people of Israel shall hold on to its own inheritance.’” Numbers 36:6, 9 (ESV)
Moses just told these girls who they could and couldn’t marry! If these daughters were living today and some authority figure told them they couldn’t marry someone, guess who they’d go find: the forbidden person (I mean, just look at The Little Mermaid!). Yet, let’s take a look at the girls’ response:
“The daughters of Zelophehad did as the Lord commanded Moses, for Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married to sons of their father’s brothers. They were married into the clans of the people of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of their father’s clan.” Numbers 36:10-12 (ESV)
These girls obeyed Moses’ command, followed the wisdom of their leadership, and honored God with their response.
How do you make emotional decisions? What if God tells you something about your relationships? What about if he meddles in your romantic relationships? For example, ladies, if you love Jesus you need to be with a man who loves Jesus – please don’t engage in missionary dating. Men, if you’re single and you love Jesus, you need to be with a woman who has the same affections, even if she’s not as hot.
If you’re dating someone you maybe shouldn’t be, how do you respond when a godly person shares their concerns with you? If you’re married to someone and are contemplating an affair, how do you react to wisdom that says to be faithful?
When it comes to matters of the heart, obedience can be difficult. While emotions and feelings aren’t bad things, they aren’t God. Let’s be sure, even when our emotions or urges tell us differently, that we are being obedient to God and responding appropriately to the wisdom that’s available to us.
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