Numerous passages in the Bible connect the number 40 to periods of trial, testing, or hardship. During this reading plan we’re going to zero in on a number that gets a lot less attention—the number that comes after 40. We’re going to see how the number 41 represents a beacon of hope for postponed dreams and promised lands. Amid the troubles of everyday life, it’s almost as if 41 is shouting, “I got next!”
After Noah built the ark, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Day 41 came, and the rain stopped. After Moses committed murder, he hid in the desert for 40 years. Year 41 came, and God gave Moses a second chance—commissioning him to rescue Israel from slavery in Egypt. After the Exodus, the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Year 41 came, and a new generation entered the Promised Land. For 40 days, Goliath bullied Israel, just begging for someone to come fight him. Day 41 came, and David stepped up and slew the giant. For 40 days, Jonah delivered a message of doom and gloom to the city of Nineveh—that God was going to destroy them because of their wickedness. Day 41 came, and God changed his mind and instead extended mercy because the Ninevites had repented. After being baptized, Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and was tempted by the devil. Day 41 came, the devil fled, angels showed up, and Jesus launched his monumental ministry. During the 40 days after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples on several occasions—proving to them that he was alive and breathing new life into them as he explained the Kingdom of God and commissioned them to build it. On day 41, after promising to send the Holy Spirit in his place, he ascended into heaven, leaving the disciples to carry out his plan for launching the church—a church that, by the way, is still prevailing against the gates of hell.
Whether you’re stuck in the storms of life; in serious need of a second chance; stranded in the wilderness of unexpected circumstances or unfulfilled expectations; facing what seems to be an unbeatable giant; or bearing up against unspeakable temptation, the pattern is clear. The number 41 represents the dawn of a new day—the hope and promise that if you don’t quit, the rain will stop, the giant will fall, and you will enter your “promised land.”
Identify your 41.
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