Bold Women, Bold Men

Scripture Focus: Joshua 17:3-4
3 Now Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons but only daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. 4 They went to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders and said, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our relatives.” So Joshua gave them an inheritance along with the brothers of their father, according to the Lord’s command. 

Reflection: Bold Women, Bold Men
By Erin Newton

Women were uncommon recipients of land inheritance in ancient Israel. The daughters of Zelophehad, however, are rewarded for their boldness. 

Without a brother, the customary practice would deny them receiving a portion of the land. They took a bold step in an unconventional direction. Their request could have easily been denied due to the practices of patriarchy. They asked and Joshua granted them inheritance just as it was given to their uncles.

Carolyn Pressler states, “Inheritance by women is an exception rather than the rule…Nonetheless, female passivity is not idealized.” They are not chastised for this request nor rebuked for having something to which typically only men have rights.

This confrontation contrasts with another group requesting a change in inheritance. The men of Joseph received land as was their custom. But they were numerous and needed more space. 

They asked and Joshua denied their request.

The men were not left without an answer; for Joshua offered other solutions with the resolve that God would help them succeed.  

These two stories describe people who were unsatisfied with their situation. Neither group expressed dissatisfaction in ways that were wrong or sinful. They simply had other expectations that benefited their family and community in greater ways. Both made requests outside of the traditional custom.

The common thread in both scenarios is the glorification of the will of God. The women received inheritance “according to the Lord’s command.” The men were encouraged that their efforts would be just like the battles before—empowered by God. 

Men and women sought a portion of God’s blessing. Men and women were granted a place within the Promised Land. 

For women, this story reveals the importance of being bold. Women are not commanded to settle for the customary practices that place them at a disadvantage simply for being born female. If passivity is not the ideal, boldness can take its place. 

For men, this story reveals the importance of being bold as well. It is a story of boldly asking for more when it would benefit their family and community. The answer demands more faith in the sovereignty of God. 

One group received a quick and simple “yes” and the other, a complicated “maybe but have faith” answer. This text does not overturn the patriarchal tendencies of the Old Testament. It does, however, reveal the unexpected and uncustomary ways in which God indiscriminately blesses his people. 

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
I will call upon God, and the Lord will deliver me.
In the evening, in the morning, and at the noonday, I will complain and lament, and he will hear my voice.
He will bring me safely back… God, who is enthroned of old, will hear me. — Psalm 55.17

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 16-17 (Listen 5:13)
Ephesians 6 (Listen  3:17)

Read more about Inheritance of Rachel’s Daughters
Leah and Rachel show us the spectrum of marriage at that time. Rachel represents a fairytale…Leah reveals an ugly reality.

Read more about Trust and Pursue God’s Promises
Fully trusting in God’s promises gives us the hope, strength, and courage to pursue those promises.

Trust and Pursue God’s Promises

Scripture Focus: Joshua 17.12-18
12 Yet the Manassites were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region. 13 However, when the Israelites grew stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them out completely. 
14 The people of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the Lord has blessed us abundantly.” 
15 “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.” 
16 The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.” 
17 But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.” 

Student Writers Month:

This month, The Park Forum welcomes college and seminary student writers pursuing ministry careers. For more info about our yearly Student Writer program, see our website.

Reflection: Trust and Pursue God’s Promises

By Morgan Fikkert 

At the beginning of The Lion King, Mufasa tells his son Simba, “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.” And when Simba hears this, he responds with a single exclamation of awe: “Whoa…” 

It seems a promise too big to be true. 

God’s covenant with the Israelites that they would inherit the entire land of Canaan was a grand promise.

God doesn’t fulfill his grandiose promises with a flick of a wand. Amazingly, God ordained that He would use His people, the Israelites, to obtain them. And, although they had claimed much of the land, the Israelites still had more to do. 

But the Israelites struggled to believe God’s promise was true. Even after all God had done, the land seemed impossible to fully obtain. Canaan was still inhabited by strong warriors with iron-clad weaponry. And the Canaanites didn’t get the memo from Yahweh that this land belonged to Israel, so they were doing everything they could to withstand the Israelites. 

As a result of their unbelief, the Israelites were quick to disobey God out of a desire for convenience and control. They did not drive the Canaanites out of the land, and this kept them from obtaining God’s promise. It also led to the oppressive forced labor of the Canaanites and, years later, the idolatry of the Israelites

In contrast, Zelophehad’s daughters faithfully sought the land promised to them. They knew God’s promise to them would be forgotten if they didn’t hold Joshua to it.

We, like the Israelites, struggle to believe God’s promises are true. So we sneak in ways to make our lives more comfortable, hoping God will keep his end of the bargain, but not really counting on Him. We hedge our bets. 

But fully trusting in God’s promises gives us the hope, strength, and courage to pursue those promises even when it’s uncomfortable or seemingly impossible. 

How do we fight sin in a culture that celebrates it? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

How do we fight for justice in the midst of incessant injustice? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

How do we share the gospel with friends and family who don’t believe? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

How do we forgive our abusers and oppressors? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

How do we maintain joy and peace in a world of darkness? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. — Psalm 19.14– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Joshua 16-17 (Listen – 5:13)
Psalm 148 (Listen – 1:28)

Read More about Readers’ Choice 2021
It is time to hear from you about the posts from the past eleven months (September 2020 – July 2021) that have challenged, comforted, and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Read more about Knowing Promises in Part
This promise we may know and fulfill now in part, but then, we will know fully and be fully known.

Creator of Worlds :: Worldwide Prayer

Psalm 148.1-4
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

Reflection: Creator of Worlds :: Worldwide Prayer
By John Tillman

Scripture tells us that creation groans to be released from sin. If the beauty and wonder of creation is what shines through despite its being shackled with sin, how much more beautiful may it be when all has been restored?

And…if creation is still capable of beauty and wonder through its groaning and pain, so much the more are we. We are not mere rocks that cry out, but God’s children whose mouths are filled with ordained praise. 

We are not trees that clap our hands with the breeze but God’s own family who celebrate the grace of God our Father even with our faces set firmly against a blowing gale.

With joy, we join this prayer from Christian brothers and sisters in Jamaica, praising and calling on the Almighty God, creator of all worlds!

Creator of Worlds
Prayer for the preservation of creation from Jamaica

Almighty God: Creator of all worlds!

We honor you for the marvels of your creation, and thank you for that part of it which is our home— the mountains, the green fields, and the sea— the abundance and energy of life in us and around us.

We confess that we have often forgotten that the world is yours and so we have misused and abused your gifts, causing distress and pain to others and to ourselves.

Out of your forgiving grace—hear us now as we pray for healing in our world.

Remember those who behold but cannot appreciate your wonderful world and those who abuse and deface its beauty—that they may discover the joy of tending the garden of the Lord.

Remember those who squander and waste resources you have entrusted to them, but are not concerned that others are starving.

Remember those who respect not life, your precious gift, in themselves and in others, and who from greed, or anger, or malice destroy human life without pity or fear.

Remember those who bear rule in communities and nations, acting with arrogance and without wisdom—that they may know that power is a trust for which they must give an account to you the only Absolute Ruler. May they in humility exercise the stewardship you have allotted them. May their labors promote peace and prosperity among the peoples of our troubled lands.

Oh Lord, help us all to be good stewards of this beautiful universe your mighty hand has brought into being.

In Jesus’ great name.

*Prayer from Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor.

Prayer: The Greeting
For your Name’s sake, O Lord, forgive my sin, for it is great. — Psalm 25.10

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 16-17 (Listen – 5:13)
Psalm 148 (Listen – 1:28)

This Weekend’s Readings
Joshua 18-19 (Listen – 9:59), Psalm 149-150 (Listen – 1:36)
Joshua 20-21 (Listen – 6:58), Acts 1 (Listen – 3:58)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift. 

Readers’ Choice Submissions

It is once again time for us to seek out the voices of our readers and hear from you about posts from the past eleven months that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Readers’ Choice posts will be republished during the month of August and periodically throughout the Fall.

Follow the link to fill out the form. Feel free to fill out the form multiple times for multiple submissions. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.

For any questions about The Park Forum, or to make suggestions of posts via email, contact John Tillman at

Read more about Overgrown by the Gospel
May the gospel make ruins of our pride and selfishness. May we be overgrown by the gospel.

Read more about Cultivation Means Tending
The gospel is a seed from the first garden, the garden of Eden. The seed of the woman, Jesus himself, is our salvation and we plant this seed in our own hearts.