On Turning Forty

At forty Moses fled from Egypt into the wilderness (Acts 7:23).
Forty years later God appear to him in the burning bush (Acts 7:30).
He was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights to receive the law (Ex. 24:18).
At forty Joshua was sent to spy out the land of Canaan (Josh. 14:7).
After forty days he and the spies returned with mixed reports (Num. 13:25).
The Israelites wandered the desert forty years,
a year for each day of spying (Num. 14:33-4, Deut. 8:2).
It was God’s punishment and yet
for those forty years they lacked nothing. (Deut. 2:7).
For forty years the clothes on their back did not wear out.
For forty years their feet did not swell.
For forty years their sandals did not wear out (Deut. 8:4, 29:5).
And for forty years they ate manna sent from heaven (Ex. 16:35).
David, a man after God’s own heart,
reigned over Israel for forty years (1Sam. 13:14, 2Sam. 5:4).
His son Solomon ruled Israel for forty years (1Kings 11:42).
Jonah preached that Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days.
The people heard and they repented (Jonah 3:4).
Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights and then was tempted by Satan (Matt. 4:2).
He presented himself alive for forty days after the resurrection (Acts 1:3).

And on Friday April 21st 2006 I will be forty years old. While I dare not attach some great divine significance to my having survived until forty I cannot help but wonder whether at forty I am leaving or entering the desert. Will I return from my spy mission with fear or faith, and are the years of humbling behind or ahead?

After forty years of wandering I am still the little boy who used to take money from his mother’s hand to put in the collection plate. I have more knowledge of the God I serve, deeper understanding of the truths I hold—but my faith is still that of a child. I still strive daily to be ever “small in my own eyes” (1Sam. 15:17).

At times I do consider whether I have not been led into the desert only to die. At times I complain that the water is bitter, that there is no meat, no bread, and that all that has been given is not as I specified.

But in my better moments I confess that
my cloths have never been rags,
my food has never been spoiled,
and my health has never completely failed.
For my thirst He has brought water from the Rock,
For my food he has opened heaven,
and for my comfort He has been my friend.
My one prayer this side of forty is that I will not forget him nor what He has done. Besides this, though the way be long and dry,
though I would sometimes rather be elsewhere-Lord-lead on!

Copyright©2006 Hudson Russell Davis

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