This week we are entering the holy season of Lent. For 40 days we are to prepare our minds, bodies and spirit to draw closer to God. The number 40 appears in the Bible over 140 times. The rain that God brought down to destroy all living creatures in the Book of Genesis lasted 40 days and nights, The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, and Moses stayed on Mount Sinai in the presence of God, are a few examples of 40 days. Moses is a great lesson of what 40 days represents.
When Moses went up to Mount Sinai, he was there for 40 days and forty nights. The mountain top was billowing with smoke, the earth was shaking, the skies were thundering, all because of the presence of God. The Israelites witnessed this cataclysmic event, and were terrified. Imagine beholding this supernatural event, to see and smell the mountain filled with smoke, to feel the earthquake, to hear the rumbling of the loud thunder and still not understand the presence of God?
Exodus 34:27-28 New King James Version (NKJV)
27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
Why did the Israelites not discern this? The main reason is that they were spiritually inept and unequally yoked with the Spirit of God. They grew impatient with Moses, and took matters into their own hands. Together, with Aaron (Moses’ brother) they did the unthinkable, and molded a golden calf. Aaron, the same man that God used to come alongside his brother, caved into the demands of the masses.
There is a strong correlation between the Israelites and people of today. We’ve become the ones waiting impatiently at the bottom of the mountain. We no longer want to hear from God, so we take matters into our own hands. The golden calves are springing up everywhere in the hearts of the disillusioned. We fail to see the hand of God because we’ve become complacent. Remember, Moses was on Mount Sinai because God had entrusted him with the Ten Commandments. The 40 days that Moses was in the presence of God was mighty, so much so that when he came down from the mountain, his countenance was radiant because of the glory of God.
Exodus 34:35 New King James Version (NKJV)
35 And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.
Each year the Lord graciously allows us a period of 40 days to reexamine our lives. These 40 days are set aside to reflect on our inward self. This is a time to purge ourselves of the things of the world. This is a time for conversion, a time to pray, fast, and to give of yourself to others.
Praying is time set aside to be with God. If you do not pray on a regular basis, you can start with just 15 minutes of quiet time with the Lord. Talk to Him as if you were speaking to your best friend. Read the Bible, you can start with Proverbs. One Proverb a day is just enough to keep going back for more. Proverbs are rich in instruction for everyday living.
Fasting: years ago I could fast for as long as 10 days. Those days are long gone, but this year I am going to fast by offering up one meal a day. Fasting is a not only ridding your body of toxins, it is also clearing your mind of all that clutters and keeps you from focusing on God. Fasting, along with prayer, will help you attain a newness within your spirit because this is a true sacrifice.
Almsgiving, or giving of yourself, is allowing the Holy Spirit to not only move on you but to bless others by giving your time unselfishly. With our busy schedules, you can plan to do something to help those in need. Sometimes the Lord calls us to give money to a cause close to your heart.