305 – 40 days part – 2
Last time we began our study on the topic of “40 days”. We are attempting to answer the question, “Is there a significance to the number 40 in the Bible?”
For today’s study, I want to begin with Deuteronomy chapter nine. Consider the first five verses.
Deuteronomy 9:1-4 (NKJV)
9:1 “Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven,
2 a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’
3 Therefore understand today that [YHWH] your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as [YHWH] has said to you.
4 “Do not think in your heart, after [YHWH] your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness [YHWH] has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that [YHWH] is driving them out from before you.
5 It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that [YHWH] your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which [YHWH] swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
You may recall the reason the Israelites wandered the wilderness for forty years. When they were just a few days delivered from Egypt YHWH (Yahweh) told them to go in and possess the land. They sent spies into the land who remained behind enemy lines for forty days. They came back and said “NO WAY CAN WE WIN!”
As punishment, YHWH said they would stay in the wilderness—one year for every day the spies spent in the land (Numbers 14:34). Now, at the top of Deuteronomy nine, Moses is telling the people it is finally time for you to go into the land. Next, YHWH calls Moses up on the mountain to receive the law (ten commandments) and fasts forty days and nights from food and water. While He is up there the people sin before YHWH. Moses comes down and breaks the two tablets. We are caught up to Deuteronomy 9:24.
Deuteronomy 9:24-25 (NKJV)
24 You have been rebellious against [YHWH] from the day that I knew you.
25 “Thus I prostrated myself before [YHWH]; forty days and forty nights I kept prostrating myself, because [YHWH] had said He would destroy you.
Look at that! Moses spent forty days in intercessory prayer before YHWH. He begged God in prayer not to destroy the Israelites! Can you imagine the tenaciousness of Moses? Not only did he pray for the nation for forty days and nights, but much if not most of it was flat on his face. I wonder how much time the modern-day believer spends on his face before God.
Let’s leave the book of Deuteronomy and look at a verse in the story of David versus Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:16 (NKJV)
16 And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening.
This wicked giant taunted the armies of the living God for forty days and forty nights. The Nation of Israel could have followed Moses’ lead and fasted for the duration while begging YHWH for deliverance, but alas, no.
Next, we have a story about the prophet Elijah running from Jezebel. I hope you’ll take the time to read the account in its entirety in 1 Kings 19. Look at verse eight.
1 Kings 19:8 (NKJV)
8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
The angel of YHWH, which was the pre-incarnate Christ, feed the prophet and the food sustained him for forty days and forty nights! What an amazing answer to prayer!
Ezekiel 4:6 (NKJV)
6 And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.
What is verse six talking about when it says, “…a day for each year”?
Jonah 3:4 (NKJV)
4 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
Seems to me YHWH was giving Nineveh forty days to repent! Are you beginning to get a picture of how YHWH has used the number forty throughout the scriptures? I know we kind of cruised through this study, but hopefully, we are getting closer to answering our question. Next time I hope to look at the New Testament references.
This study has been a reminder to me that YHWH is not haphazard in His dealings with mankind. His plan is detailed, intricate, and sure. His will shall indeed be fulfilled on the earth just like it is in the heavens.
YHWH is worthy of all praise, worship, and adoration!