Forty Days

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths . . . Psalm 25:4 (NIV)

The term “quadragesima” comes from the Latin for “fortieth” as there are exactly forty days, including Sundays, from Quadragesima Sunday to Good Friday.

Scientific analysis has determined that children born in Western nations today will probably live to be about one-hundred years, i.e. the average life span will be 36,525 days. Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life, asks, “Don’t you think it would be a wise use of time to set aside forty of those days to figure out what God wants you to do with the rest of them?”

Setting aside the next forty days . . . No matter how old you are you’re never too old to pause, to take time to hear from God, to interact with Him through Scripture reading, contemplation and prayer.

Great things can happen over the course of forty days. Moses was never the same after he spent forty days on Mount Sinai, Elijah was transformed after God gave him forty days of strength from a single meal and Nineveh was completely reformed when the prophet Jonah announced that God had given them forty days before the city would be destroyed.

I’m assuming you want to make the most of the next forty days (if you weren’t you probably wouldn’t be reading this post). Your Lenten journey can be spiritually significant if you take the opportunity to learn from those who have gone before you. Moses, for example, during his forty day encounter with God on Mount Sinai asked: “If you (God) are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you” (Exodus 33:13).

I’ve taught my children that it’s helpful to look at the verbs when one’s studying the Scriptures. In Exodus 33:13 the verbs are “teach,” “know” and “find.” These three words, to my mind, are essential companions for a forty day spiritual journey. In the days ahead why not ask the Lord to teach you His ways, to help you know Him more, and enable you to find favour with Him. Of course, in order to understand God’s ways, know Him more and find favour with Him we need to spend time with Him. So let’s do that . . . let’s take the next forty days as a God appointed opportunity to spend quality and quantity time with Him.

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