Inspiration from God’s Word – what about the number 40?


By Toni Ford

I saw a post on one of my Facebook friend’s page this week that started my interest on the number 40. I am borrowing some of those thoughts for this week’s devotional.

The official quarantine from COVID-19 began for many people on March 23, and it appears to be ending to some degree exactly 40 days on May 1.

Here is how Webster’s Dictionary defined the word quarantine: “Initially, the French word “quarantaine” (about forty) was borrowed in the late 1400s with the meaning “a period of forty days.” This led me to research the significance of the number 40 in the Bible and its meaning in Hebrew. Wikipedia defined the number 40 as having great symbolic meaning to Jews, Christians and Muslims even today, and the number is used in terms of time, representing a period of probation and trial.

The number 40 is mentioned 146 times in scripture. Based on the definitions and the number of times it is used throughout the Bible, we can easily see the significance of the number. From scripture we see the following:
* Moses lived 40 years in Egypt and in 40 years led the children of Israel through the desert before they entered the promise land (Joshua 5:6).
* Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights on two separate occasions (Exodus 24:18, 34:1-28).
* Jonah warned ancient Nineveh for 40 days that its destruction would come because of its many sins (Jonah 3: 1-10).
* Ezekiel laid on his right side for 40 days to symbolize Judah’s sins (Ezekiel 4:6)
* Noah and his family were on the ark for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:4)
* Jesus fasted for 40 days 40 nights as He prepared for his ministry (Matthew 4:2)

Although these references represent periods of testing and trial, we also see that good and positive change comes about after these 40 days. There actually is a group of theologians who believe that the number 40 represents “change.” It is the time of preparing a person, or people, to make a fundamental change.

We are seeing as much during these 40 days of quarantine. Rivers are cleaning up, vegetation is growing, the air is becoming cleaner because of less pollution, there is less theft and murder and healing is happening. Most importantly, people are turning to Christ. The earth is at rest for the first time in many years, and hearts are truly transforming. Remember that we are in the year 2020, and 20 plus 20 equals 40. Also, 2020 is the year of the United States Census. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, was born during a census!

I know these days of quarantine may be challenging at times for many, but let’s continue to pray believing that this time of quarantine will lead us into greater days ahead and that we as a country and even as a world will be better because of this time. May we all be better as an individual after walking through this time and remember that it is never too late to start praying and believing!

Thank you, Lord, for the days ahead. We trust that you are working on our behalf and that You can make us better as individuals and as a country. We continue to pray for your protection and covering. and we give thanks for loving us and for being greater than all that we are walking through. We love You!

If you would like me to join you in prayer please email me at I would love to pray for you!

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