Some kids know nothing about the events of the Bible. Other know everything about some of the more familiar characters. They could teach the lesson on Adam and Eve, or Jonah, or Zacchaeus …
That’s why it’s fun to get their attention and occasionally teach them about a character they might not know about … like Noah.
No, not THAT Noah.
Noah (of ark fame) is not the only Noah in the Bible. We also read about Noah, the daughter of a man named Zelophehad. (Numbers 27)
1. Noah’s father (Zelophehad) died sometime during the 40 years that the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness.
2. Noah had four sisters: Malha, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.
3. Noah and her sisters are mentioned by name in the census of the tribes listed in Numbers 26. A quick scan of the 601,730 people show that only a few (very few) are actually listed personally and even fewer girls are mentioned – the sisters made the cut.
4. Zelophehad was of the Tribe of Manasseh. He died alone and not with the others who died during Korah’s rebellion (another significant fact). Korah did not like Moses and Aaron being in charge and wanted to know why he (Korah) and others couldn’t hold a leadership position. Wasn’t he just as holy? Unfortunately, Korah did not understand or recognize that Moses was God’s appointed leader. And also, unfortunately, Korah persuaded many others to join him in rebelling. In the end, 14,700 people lost their lives – Numbers 16:49
5. Moses needed to number the people who were entering Canaan and assign them property in their new homeland. Traditionally, the father or eldest son would be the one who came before Moses to find out how much land would be assigned to the family. A mom or daughter would never be part of the inheritance discussion.
6. Noah and her sisters had a problem. Their father had died honorably and they had no brothers. Their father’s name and lineage would disappear and their family would inherit no land.
7. Noah and her sisters loved God. (Some say that the “ah” in each of their names is an abbreviation for Jehovah and shows that their parents love for the Lord – but we don’t know that for sure.) The girls also understood the laws of inheritance. They had lived under Moses’ leadership and understood the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey and they wanted to uphold their father’s name. They needed a plan.
8. Noah and her sisters got an idea, but it would take major courage. They decided to go before Moses and the priest Eleazar and the other chiefs and a whole bunch of people (hundreds, maybe thousands) and plead their case. Women did not get an inheritance. Women did not go before Moses and the other senior leadership. Women kept quiet. But the sisters wanted to do what was right. With courage they went against long-standing tradition and the laws of inheritance. With courage, they explained their situation. Could they not also be given land? After all, their father had done nothing wrong and they had no brothers. Could they not carry on the family name and receive property in the new land? That’s courage exemplified a million times over.
9. Moses went to God about the sisters (not that God didn’t already know about them) and asks what to do. God said, The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their father’s brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them.
10. God showed grace and went over and above tradition and the law. And not only did He go above the law for Noah and her sisters, but He said from then on If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter. (Numbers 27:8) He honored their courage for doing what was right – upholding the name of their father.
11. The Lord also said that the inheritance should not be passed between tribes. Let them marry whom they think best, only they shall marry within the clan of the tribe of their father (Numbers 36:6)
12. The girls did as the Lord said. The daughters of Zelophehad did as the Lord commanded Moses (Numbers 36:10)
13. Noah and her sisters were courageous in their fight for what was right. They had no father to protect and care for them. And they had no brothers to step in since their father had died. They knew that if they didn’t have an inheritance, they would be alone without protection in the new land. They would have no way to support themselves and probably would have ended up gleaning in the fields. (Gathering food left after a farmer harvested his crops).
14. Noah and her sisters stood up for what they knew was right and God honored their courage. Do you have courage to stand up for what’s right? Are you teaching your kids to have courage?
*At school when everyone is laughing at the new kid, do they have the courage to be friendly?
*When their friend wants to look at bad stuff on the internet, do they have the courage to say “no”?
*When the neighbor kid shows them where his dad keeps the alcohol and wants them to try it with him, do they have the courage to walk away?
*When the teacher/leader is giving a lesson and the other kids are messing around, do they have the courage to be obedient?
15. Here’s a verse to remember to talk over with your kids – Joshua 1:9. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.