The Bible references the number 40, 114 times. It often signifies completion for a period of blessing, testing or punishment. Consider: “You will bear the consequences of your sins 40 years based on the number of the 40 days that you scouted the land, a year for each day. You will know My displeasure” (Numbers 14:34). So God condemned a generation of Israelites to wander in the Sinai desert, a place of barrenness that aptly illustrated the shriveled state of their faith. They would not enter the promised land because it contained giants. The only exception God made was to 40-year-old Joshua and his friend Caleb. He blessed these two courageous men who saw opportunity where others feared defeat.
David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. His son Solomon would follow with another forty-year reign. God blessed David and His children and made him mighty because he was a God-hearted man.
For 40 days and nights Elijah fled a queen intent on his murder, sustained by one cake and water an angel provided, until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. On that holy hill God unleashed a panoramic presentation of power yet spoke to His frazzled prophet in a gentle whisper. And Elijah understood God’s will.
For forty days, Jesus went out into the desert led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for that entire period until Satan came with an aggressive intent to derail Him from His earthly mission. Though physically weak, Jesus resisted His tempter by anchoring Himself to the word of God.
In celebrating my fortieth year of life I too was given cause to reflect. May I share with you some observations God is in the process of teaching me?
#1. The cost of sin is never worth the price of pleasure. Whenever I have pursued my own interests at the expense of following God’s interests, I have languished spiritually.
#2. God’s love runs deeper than life’s pains. I remember Brian Haller, killed in his prime, a champion of friends whom I still greatly miss; I recall so many faces of friends and family who have been mercilessly cut down by horrible disease or cruel accidents leaving spouses and children behind to wonder why, to contemplate life’s unfair and fickle nature. Yet in the darkest of valleys, God’s warm hands have not just sustained, they have brought true healing.
#3. Jesus is the true joy-bringer. Happiness may come via material comforts, job satisfaction, relationships with people or positional status. But each of these things can also be disappointing. Joy, runs deeper than happiness and can be attained every day with or without adversity! Jesus is the authentic, life-invigorating, fulfiller of joy.
#4. The source of blessing is our freedom in Christ. Millions of people in other nations are tortured, or live in hiding for their faith in Jesus. Yet God loves them as much as He loves those of us privileged to live in a free nation. True freedom is not the ability to do whatever we want but rather to know that no one can separate us from the love of Christ—that freedom comes in Christ and not in a flag.
#5. The path to victory often begins with praise. There are many things I don’t know, more that I do not understand. But I do know this. Our God is an awesome God. In the journey of life it is easy to focus on our own interests. Most prayer is weighted too heavily with requests. But I’ve found that God delights in being praised. He responds to those who approach Him not for what He will do but for who He is.
#6. Life is best played as a team sport. We need each other. We all start out getting potty-trained. God made us to be dependent for a reason—two, and three . . . are better than one! I cannot even begin to calculate the value family and friends play in my life. I love you for who you are and for what you help me to become.
#7. There is no final chapter in the Book of Life--something to think about . . . in reveration.
Psalm 40:3--He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
The interests of the Son of God and of the disciple are to be identical. How long it takes to manifest that identity depends on the private history of the disciple and his Lord.—Oswald Chambers in So Send I You
©1998 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)