What can happen in 40 days?
Forty Days can be a long time or a short time. When we are waiting on God, the waiting seems to take forever. Forty days is a period of time that occurs several times in the Bible. The number 40 appears 146 times in scripture. Often, these periods of forty days involve trials and testing. When we are losing hope, what can we learn from these stories of trial in the Bible? What can happen in 40 days if we keep praying and believing in God?
What Can God Do in 40 Days of Rain?
It was an outrageous and huge task to build an ark when there was no rain in sight, but Noah persevered in building as God had told him to do. When the rain started, Noah gathered his family on board.
It was only his family and the animals as everything around them gradually disappeared under the rising waters. It rained and rained. For forty days and forty nights it rained. Did they wonder if the rain was ever going to end? We know how the story ends; Noah didn’t. We have the privilege of knowing that there would be light at the end of those 40 days.
Yet, until that fortieth day – Noah and his family didn’t know when the rain was going to stop. Each day he had to keep putting his faith in God that someday the sun would shine again.
What Can God Do Through 40 Days of Fasting?
When Moses went up onto the mountain to receive the ten commandments, he fasted for forty days. He tells the Jewish people in Deuteronomy 9:9 that he fasted for “forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.” His was a supernatural fast. We know that humans cannot survive with water for longer than three days. The only way that Moses was able to fast this long was because God performed a miracle for him.
When we are going through trials and testing, fasting is one way for us to draw nearer to God. We are not able to fast from food and water for forty days, but there are things from which we can abstain. We can fast from television or a certain type of food. We can choose to intentional feed ourselves with God’s word during this time of fasting.
What can God do in 40 days? He can supernaturally sustain us against all the odds. In forty days, we can receive instruction from the Lord on how we are to live faithfully.
What Can God Do with 40 Days of Secrecy?
The people of God had finally made their way to the border of the Promised Land. They waited on the other side of the Jordan River as 12 men went in secrecy to spy out the land that God had promised to them.
After forty days, the spies returned to report to Moses and the people all that they had seen. The spies reported that indeed, the land was flowing with milk and honey and there was a great abundance. However, they also reported that the people in the land were giants.
The spies had forty days to view the goodness that God had promised them. Instead, over those forty days, the spies struggled with wondering how they were going to overcome the people in the land – not that God was the one who was going to do the miracle. All the spies, except two: Joshua and Caleb.
What can God do in 40 days? After forty days, some people will lose their faith, and after forty days, some people will have their faith strengthened. How do we know which camp we will be in? We must believe in God’s promises and God’s power. We have to immerse ourselves in God’s word and prayer. We need to find a Joshua or Caleb to support us and ignore the other ten.
What Can God Do despite 40 Days of Taunting?
Goliath came and stood before the Israelite army every day for forty days. Every morning for forty days, Goliath came out. Every evening for forty days, Goliath came out. David arrived to hear Goliath pronounce the same words, the same taunts that he had spoken for the thirty-nine previous days.
The eldest sons of the tribes of Israel were members of Saul’s armies. The best and bravest warriors in the land would have been members of the army. Saul himself, who stood head and shoulders above the rest of Israel, was there with the Israelite army. Every day the King, the warriors, the leaders – they all listened to Goliath taunt them and defy God. Every day for 39 days – no one did anything about it. I doubt any of them thought that something was going to change on day 40.
Yet, on day 40 – David arrived. The words of Goliath were fresh to him. He responded by asking: “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26) On the 40th day, God sent a young man who was not able to wear Saul’s armor who was brave enough and faithful enough to answer the call.
What can God do in 40 days? A young man can answer a call, overcome the odds, and defeat a giant with one smooth stone.
What Can God Do in 40 Days on the Run?
Elijah just had the most awesome day of his entire ministry. He had a showdown with all the prophets of Baal. They could not get their false god to rain down fire no matter how much they cried out and cut themselves.
Then, it was Elijah’s turn. He drenched his altar with water and the called upon God. God sent down such a powerful rush of fire that even the stones of the altar were consumed. In response to this overwhelming show of God’s power, Elijah led the slaughter of the priests of Baal.
Elijah was now in great danger because Jezebel was not deterred, and she sought his life. For forty days, Elijah journeyed to the safety of Mr. Horeb, the mountain of God. Twice an angel of the Lord was sent to comfort him and give him food. After Elijah’s most significant victory, he finds himself undergoing the trials and testing of a fraught journey to meet with God.
Our trials can feel like a punishment sometimes. We wonder what we have done wrong. Perhaps Elijah’s forty days of testing was not a punishment but a gift. Instead of letting the victory go to his head, he is reminded of his dependence on God. In his forty days of trails, God is leading him to the safety of Mt. Horeb.
What can happen in forty days? Elijah finally arrived at the mountain where he was able to meet God and hear God’s still small voice. (1 Kings 19:12)
What Can God Do with 40 Days of Temptation?
Jesus starts his ministry by going to John the Baptist to be baptized. When Jesus emerges from the water, the Bible tells us a voice from heaven proclaims: “You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) In the very next verse: “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.” (v.12)
Immediately after beginning his formal ministry, Jesus is driven into the wilderness to endure forty days of testing. Even Jesus was not immune to trials and testing. Scripture makes it clear that the Devil was testing Jesus.
When we are walking in obedience, trials and testing will happen. The Devil wants to derail us from our calling. What can God do in 40 days? In forty days, Jesus can win over the Devil and go forth to transform the world.
How many days have you been tested?
If only we knew that we only had to endure for forty days! If only we could set up a calendar and check off each of the days and know that the end was in sight. Our trials and testing may last forty days, forty weeks, or even forty years. The people of God had to wander in the desert for forty years before they could finally go into the Promised Land.
In our times of testing, we are reminded to draw near to God. Study the stories of those who persevered and know that you are not alone. Do not fear. Do not lose hope. Fight for victory through prayer. This time is not in vain, for God uses trials and temptations to grow our faith.
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