“Now David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. The period which he reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned in Hebron seven years and in Jerusalem thirty-three years.” (1 Chronicles 29:26-27, NASU)
Have you ever wondered what 40 will get you? No, I am not thinking about what prison sentence comes with what crime. I think about all the times the Lord God of the Living Bible uses numbers to get across His point, or to bring about His purpose in a person, people group or nation.
When I use my PC Bible Study software to give me all the references to the number 40, it stops after just one Bible version. There are just too many to list them all! And that is just with the number 40!
Here are a few samples of the ones most known about, which are historical facts, not just figments of imaginations, or used just to give some idea of the length of time. No, they are real periods that occurred in history. And they meant something then and can serve as a measure of time for us today.
The following are all from the ERV version, which uses “40” instead of “forty”.
- Gen 7:11 “The rain fell on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.”
- Gen 25:20 “When Isaac was 40 years old, he married Rebekah.”
- Ex 16:35-36 “The people ate the manna for 40 years, until they came to the land of rest, that is, until they came to the edge of the land of Canaan.”
- Ex 24:18 “Then Moses went higher up the mountain into the cloud. He was on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights.”
- Numbers 13:25-26 “The men (10 spies) explored that country for 40 days, and then they went back to the camp.”
- Joshua 14:7 “(Joshua speaking) Moses, the Lord’s servant, sent me to look at the land where we were going. I was 40 years old at that time.”
- 2 Sam 5:4-5 “David was 30 years old when he began to rule. He was king for 40 years. In Hebron he ruled over Judah for 7 years and 6 months, and in Jerusalem he ruled over all Israel and Judah for 33 years.”
- 2 Chronicles 9:30 “Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for 40 years.”
- Matt 4:2-3 “Jesus ate nothing for 40 days and nights. After this, he was very hungry.”
- Acts 13:21 “Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. He was king for 40 years.”
As I meditate on these verses, and what transpired in each one, I see testing (40 days or 40 years) and rulership (40 years for these kings). For several there were 40 days or 40 years of testing, walking it out in faith (or until they were released from unbelief.) For others, it was 40 years of ruling as a king.
Maybe in your life, as in mine, you can see time periods of 40 days, or on a longer length, 40 years, as a time period in which the Lord was working something out, or putting something in – preparing you for the call He has on your life.
When I was 23, I never thought it would take 40 years to follow, in preparation for the final call on my life; when I would “retire” from one segment to begin what I consider will be the best and final one. I am “retiring” on October 31, 2017 from my accounting job that has consumed 55 hours per week of my time. When I turn 63 on November 23, 40 years will have gone by since that 23rd year, when I got married.
Celebrating our 40th anniversary of marriage on October 7, 2017, will be a major accomplishment for Laurie and I. Was it all a “time of testing” in order to build the foundational pad needed to launch from, out into the “promised land” (atmosphere)? I think maybe so. Then the ruling will begin, as a king, for we have been prepared to take the Gospel even further into territories from our home base.
What has been your 40 days, or 40 years? I would bet (surely there is a verse for that!) that if you look hard enough backward in your natural and spiritual walk, you too will see what the Lord has done, where He has taken you, and who around you is now involved with the plans and purposes the Lord, God of Israel, has in store for you too.
I find it very interesting, and encouraging. I think you will too.
Shalom and ahava (peace and love in Hebrew).
Now think on this,
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Now Think On This – in the Year of our Lord 08.23.17 – #309 – “40 Something?” – Wednesday, 5:40 am