It takes courage to step up for justice. It takes courage to speak up or to take action. This courage was displayed in the words and actions of Zelophehad’s daughters. Zelophehad only had daughters, and by Jewish law, only sons received an inheritance of land. Moses and the leaders of Israel were working to distribute the promised land. Zelophehad’s daughters knew that their father’s name would die along with him without an inheritance, and they would have no provision of their own. They decided to speak up. They brought their case before Moses who then brought their case before the Lord: “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. Say to the Israelites, “If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter”’” (Numbers 27:6-8).
These daughters had courage to speak up, and they brought change that affected each generation to come after them.
As God’s children, we have courage through His Spirit, and through the sacrifice of Jesus, we have been given freedom and new life. Let us point others toward freedom in Christ by speaking up and taking action when we see injustice. As Isaiah the prophet wrote, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6).
The defendant was found guilty and will spend many years in prison. Justice was served for his crime. However, what if someone had intervened when he was younger? What if a man or woman of God had seen his circumstances, stepped in to get to know him, and help “loose his chains” and share in his burdens? What if someone had shared that Jesus could set him free? What if someone had stepped in and spoken about the injustices in our school systems, our societal systems, and our criminal system? When we fast, like Isaiah, let us fast to “loose the chains” of injustice, to free the oppressed, and to break every yoke. As we fast, let our prayers focus on these things.
“Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” Proverbs 28:5 (NIV)
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