If you’ve been doing lent, 40 days can seem like a looooooong time. And then, at other times, 40 days can go by searchquickly and you wonder where time went. For those you of you that caught the new movie out, NOAH, you’re reminded in the story that it rained 40 days and 40 nights. Interestingly, did you know that 40 days is a bit symbolic?
Hard to believe, but the number 40 is mentioned 146 times in Scripture, and, it generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial or probation.
Of all the types and shadows of the Old Testament, none is as noticeable as  in the relationship between “forty,” and the fulfillment of promises.

  • The rains (in Noah’s day) fell for 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:4).
  • Israel ate Manna for 40 years (Exodus 16:35).
  • Moses was with God in the mount, 40 days and nights (Exodus 24:18).
  • Moses was again with God 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 34:28).
  • Moses led Israel from Egypt at age 80 (2 times 40), and after 40 years in the wilderness, died at 120 (3 times 40; Deuteronomy 34:7).
  • The spies searched the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:25).
  • Therefore, God made Israel wander for 40 years (Numbers 14:33-34).
  • 40 stripes was the maximum whipping penalty (Deuteronomy 25:3).
  • Israel did evil; God gave them to an enemy for 40 years (Judges 13:1).
  • Goliath presented himself to Israel for 40 days (1 Samuel 17:16).
  • Saul reigned for 40 years (Acts 13:21).
  • David reigned over Israel for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4, 1 Kings 2:11).
  • The holy place of the temple was 40 cubits long (1 Kings 6:17).
  • The sockets of silver are in groups of 40 (Exodus 26:19 & 21).
  • Solomon reigned same length as his father; 40 years (1 Kings 11:42).
  • Elijah had one meal that gave him strength 40 days (1 Kings 19:8).
  • Egypt to be laid desolate for 40 years (Ezekiel 29:11-12).
  • Ezekiel’s (symbolic) temple is 40 cubits long (Ezekiel 41:2).
  • The courts in Ezekiel’s temple were 40 cubits long (Ezra 46:22).
  • God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4).
  • Jesus fasted 40 days and nights (Matthew 4:2).
  • Jesus was tempted 40 days (Luke 4:2, Mark 1:13).
  • Jesus remained on earth 40 days after resurrection (Acts 1:3).
  • Women are pregnant for 40 weeks (time of testing).
  • (there’s more, but I think you get the idea.)

40 seems, says scholars, to represent a period of testing or judgment. Or, others say it like this:
 – the length of time necessary to accomplish some major part of Gods plan in his dealings with various portions of mankind.
If you notice, after 40, something good usually happened. Like Lent. Not only is it time to celebrate Easter and the beauty of what Christ did on that Sunday, you get your chocolate or whatever back. (wink).
Whatever the 40 has been in your life, we’d love to hear. Drop us a line and, especially, share what good came on the other side.
– Stephanie
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