Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Forty Days and Upcoming Lent

As I began the study of Acts in the New Testament, I was impressed to study the significance of the number 40 and the many places this number appears in the Scriptures.
After His Resurrection, Christ spent 40 days teaching His Apostles.
This was a sacred time of purification and preparation.

Without much research, I began to list other times the number 40 is used. Forty days, Forty nights, Forty years, etc.

Some of the things I instantly remembered were:
Noah's Ark 40 days and 40 nights of rain  and 40 more days of waiting (cleansing of the earth)
Christ fasting in the wilderness 40 days (a time of temptation, preparation, and purification)
Moses was on Mt Sinai for 40 days (preparation, purification)
The Children of Israel wandering for 40 years (trials, temptations, refining, preparation)
Jonah gave the people of Nineveh 40 days to repent or be destroyed (trial)

The number 40 is used to represent Preparation, Trial, Cleansing, Purification, Refining.
In Old Testament times, Kings reigned for a period of 40 years, and 40 years represented a generation. During punishment, 40 lashes were given.
It has been interesting to see the many ways and places the number 40 is used.

I gave a Family Home Evening on this subject and we studied much more about the significance of 40 in the Scriptures.
We all committed to do something or not do something for 40 days with the goal as self-improvement.  My commitment was to give up refined sugar for 40 days, something I was eating very little of at that time and now I am not eating at all.  The 40 days ends on March 17 and I can honestly say I am not counting the days. This has been easier than I expected.

Anyhow, this brings me to the subject of upcoming 40 Day period of Lent, starting Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter. Many people give up things like I did recently, sugar, vices, smoking, etc. Today, I read this article, 19 Things to Give up for Lent That Aren't Chocolate, and it resonated with me. These are wonderful suggestions of things to "give up" or eliminate from life.

For many, the season of Lent is a sacred time of purification, a wonderful way to prepare for the Holy Week of Easter. I am grateful for this deeper understanding of the number 40 and look forward to experiencing the blessings of purification, refinement, and sacrifice.

I have only skimmed the surface on this topic. There is so much to learn and use for spiritual and personal growth.

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