Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Forty (ESV) Significance of forty

During my morning devotion, periods of forty days or years seemed frequent in the books of Moses.

1. God provided for them 40 years
Exodus 16:35 - The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
2.40 days for Moses to receive the law
Exodus 24:18 - Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Deuteronomy 9:9 - When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.
Exodus 34:28 - So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
Deuteronomy 9:11 - And at the end of forty days and forty nights the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.
3. 40 more days after Israel sinned for Moses to intercede and again receive the law
Deuteronomy 9:18 - Then I lay prostrate before the LORD as before, forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin that you had committed, in doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD to provoke him to anger.
Deuteronomy 9:25 - “So I lay prostrate before the LORD for these forty days and forty nights, because the LORD had said he would destroy you.
Deuteronomy 10:10 - “I myself stayed on the mountain, as at the first time, forty days and fortynights, and the LORD listened to me that time also. The LORD was unwilling to destroy you.
4. 40 days to spy out the land with 40 year old Joshua as a spy
Joshua 14:7 - I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart.
Numbers 13:25 - At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land.
5. 40 years wandering for faithlessness
Numbers 14:33 - And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness.
Numbers 14:34 - According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’
Numbers 32:13 - And the LORD's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone.
Joshua 5:6 - For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD; the LORD swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey.
6. In the 40th year of Exodus Aaron dies
Numbers 33:38 - And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the LORD and died 
there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month.
7. The same year, six moths later Moses addresses Israel
Deuteronomy 1:3 - In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them,
Deuteronomy 2:7 - For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”’
Deuteronomy 8:2 - And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
Deuteronomy 8:4 - Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these fortyyears.
Deuteronomy 29:5 - I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet.

What Does the Number Forty (40) Mean or Represent in the Bible?

Numbers can often have meaning in the Bible so what does the number forty mean and what is normally associated with it?

Forty: the Number of Testing

The number forty usually has to do with testing in the Bible.  There are dozens of examples to show this and we will examine a few to see why this is so.  From Jesus to the children of Israel in the Wilderness, the number forty shows that testing and trials are sometimes associated with this number and so we read in the Scriptures that the number forty generally symbolized a period of testing, trial or probation.   As has been said, a faith that is not tested cannot be trusted.

The Flood of Forty Days and Nights Genesis 7:12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.”

The flood symbolized God’s judgment on a sinful people and this trial by water lasted for forty days and forty nights, wiping out all those who refused to repent and turn to God at Noah’s preaching, even though Noah had preached to them for well over a century.
Other Significant Events and the number Forty
  • Forty stripes was the maximum number allowed for anyone to be punished (Duet 25:3).
  • The prophet Jonah prophesied of the impending destruction of Nineveh if they didn’t repent and gave them forty days to do so and they eventually did repent and the entire city-state was sparred.
  • The prophet Elijah went forty days and nights without food or water while on Mount Horeb.
  • Jesus appeared for forty days after His resurrection from the dead and the disciples and many others witnessed His appearance.
  • King Saul reigned over Israel for forty years (Acts 13:21) as did David (2 Samuel 5:4, 1 Kings 2:11) and Solomon (1 Kings 11:42).
  • Ezekiel bore the evil of the house of Judah for forty days (Ezk 4:6).
  • The number forty represents the number of one generation as with the children of Israel who died in the Wilderness for their disobedience to the Lord.

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