Happy Women’s Day!
As we mark International Women’s Day, we will focus on five women who defied culture and time to effect a change:the daughters of Zelophehad- Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. (Numbers 27:1-11)
The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land and Moses would soon be allotting land to the various tribes. As was the Law, only males could inherit land. Zelophehad died during the treck through the dessert and left behind five daughters, who could not inherit land because of their gender. This meant that their father’s inheritance would be given to someone else. The girls did not think it was fair, they did not like the situation and decided to approach Moses and the elders to do something about it!
I have no doubt that when these women decided to approach the all-male assembly in a period where women were not as liberated as we are today, they had more than butterflies in their collective stomachs. However the thought of the injustice that would be done their father’s name propelled them forward to accomplish their mission. They believed in their conviction enough to take such a huge step of faith to change an unjust, oppressive and entrenched tradition and law.
We are enjoying some of the freedoms we have today because some people, some women dared to challenge convention. When we who are the light of the world fail to take steps of faith to change “something” and instead stay in our little corner and complain, we do everyone including ourselves a great disservice. These women were not militants, they did not incite a rebellion or a negative campaign of complaints; they stood up, took one step, then another and another, literally, to effect a change in tradition. Yes, sometimes, challenging convention necessarily involves an uprising, but there are times a small step inspired by nothing extraordinary can lead to the collapse of century old conventions!
When our brave sisters approached Moses and his elders, they had no intention of causing a nationwide and generational change in the inheritance laws. All they wanted was for their father’s portion of the land to be given to them so his name was not wiped out from history. Yet, because they dared to challenge the status quo, God caused Moses to change the laws regarding inheritance of land (Num. 27:5-11).
We, like the five girls always have a choice when faced with uncomfortable, unjust, unfair circumstances: we can choose to sit back and sing the “poor me” tune, or think we are not brave enough, or that the issue is too big for us, or actually dare to take steps to do something about it.
When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that bus, little did she know that it would trigger the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the even bigger Civil Rights Movement. In her own words, “People always say I didn’t give up the seat because I was tired, but that wasn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day…No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
If you don’t like something around you – at work, in school, at home and even at church- do something about it.
Love, Lady Monica