Brothers and Sisters,
It’s Day 40…forty days since we in Santa Cruz County, California entered into life under a shelter-in-place order (assuming I have my count right). We should mark today as something special. Why? Well, recall the prominence of “forty” as a symbolic number in Scripture, particularly as a marker of testing and endurance. Here’s what I mean:
During the flood, Noah and his family endured rain that blanketed the earth for forty days (Genesis 7:4, 12).
Moses spent forty days and forty nights on Mount Sinai in the presence of God, eating and drinking nothing…twice (Exodus 24:18; Deuteronomy 9:9, 10:10).
The spies of Israel observed the land of Canaan for forty days (Numbers 13:25).
Israel spent forty years in the wilderness as a result of the people’s disobedience against God when faced with entering the land of Canaan (Numbers 32:13).
For forty days Goliath challenged the armies of Israel and insulted the God of Israel, before David killed him with a sling stone (1 Samuel 17:16).
David ruled as king over Judah and Israel for forty years (2 Samuel 5:4).
Solomon, David’s son, also reigned as king for forty years (1 Kings 11:42).
Elijah, after fleeing in fear from Jezebel, spent forty days and forty nights journeying to Mount Horeb to meet with God (1 Kings 19:8).
The prophet Ezekiel lay on his side for forty days in symbolic representation of Judah’s sin (Ezekiel 4:6).
Jesus fasted in the wilderness and battled Satan’s temptations there for forty days and nights (Matthew 4:2; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2).
After his resurrection, Jesus ministered for forty days before ascending to the right hand of his Father (Acts 1:3).
Now, here we are, forty days into a time we never anticipated. Haven’t we been tested? Do we believe that God is faithful? Do we believe he is sovereign, in control, purposeful, doing all things out of love for his children? Do we believe he is judge, the one who does not allow sin to go unchecked and unaddressed? Think back over the last forty days and consider: What has God done during this time to get your attention in a particular way? What dark corners of your heart has he exposed to the light of his Word? How has he shown you love in a manner you never experienced previously?
As you reflect, take a moment and be thankful, deeply thankful, for God’s preserving grace in your life. Listen to what Moses told the Hebrews as their forty years came to an end and they prepared to receive the inheritance promised to Abraham: “…the LORD your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing” (Deuteronomy 2:7). In the last forty days, you and I have not lacked anything necessary to glorify God, enjoy him, and love others. We have been tested, and God proved faithful. Will he fail to be faithful still in the forty days to come? Certainly not!
On that note of God’s faithfulness, I am going to end this series of daily devotionals. The test of this COVID era will undoubtedly continue still, but we’ve found our stride for as long as God means for us to endure. It’s been a privilege to meet with you each day. There will be more devotionals to come in the weeks ahead, but they will be periodical rather than daily. May the Lord bless you and keep you until the next moment I’m prompted to write. Who knows, it might even be tomorrow!