And the book of Numbers closes on a somewhat awkward chapter about inheritance.
Remember Zelophehad’s daughters? Well, from now on if they want to keep that inheritance they got, they have to keep it in the tribe. It’s ok though, they have some strapping young cousins on their father’s side to marry.
Once again, this is a strange way to end the book.
All that lead up to entering the land. All that talk about how Moses is about to play his final show.
Just a chapter about keeping the inheritance where it ought to be.
But you might say that the whole book was about an inheritance. The whole story up to this point has been heading towards the claiming of an inheritance.
A good land flowing with milk and honey.
A chance for the children and grandchildren of slaves to embrace their new lives as a kingdom of priests to the God who rescued them.
And this rescuing God, he seems determined to give his people this inheritance even though they try their hardest to reject it. They went into the land he was giving them and decided they didn’t want it. Too scary. Big people there and all.
They started worshiping other gods. They started wishing they could go back into slavery. They started attempting to subvert and replace their leader, Moses.
And an entire generation came and went because of it.
But the inheritance remains.
It is sitting there, ripe for the taking, on the other side of the Jordan River.
God is making good on what he said.
Can we stop and think about that for a second?
God is about to do what he said he would do generations ago. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s sons, their children, and their children’s children’s children. All of them waiting to receive that which was promised.
This is not some individualistic salvation happening here. This is God’s faithfulness to a community, a people, over centuries.
God made a promise to Abraham that he would be a great nation with innumerable descendants but he never met his grandsons. And now, on the shores of the Jordan, his faithfulness to that faithful God is finally bearing fruit.
God is in it for the long haul.
And his people should be too.
How would that change our vision? How would that change how we lived? If we viewed our faith as one of inheritance: the gift that God gave us so that we could give it to others?
So tomorrow, I will share with you how I will be celebrating Numbers. I will share with you what I want to leave as an inheritance for those who come after me.