Christian Counseling and the Number 40
The Lenten theme of “40” and “Desert” is a reoccuring theme. Let us today look at the time of Israel and the 40 years in the desert and see how we can utilize this concept with Christian Counseling Ideals.
For doubting God after the numerous miracles, Israel was punished with a wandering in the
desert for Forty years. This was even imposed upon Moses. Only children under the age of 21 of that sinful generation would be spared the denial of the Promised Land. During this time, the Jewish people under the guidance of Moses wandered the desert for an additional Forty years. It would be under Joshua that they would eventually enter into the Holy Land.
Here we see two motifs that correlate with Lent. The idea of the number Forty being a period of repentance and the idea of a desert. The desert signifies the world and sin. In the temporal realm, Christian pilgrims on Earth suffer in the desert until the final reward of the Promised Land. As the faithful Israelites entered into the Promised Land after Forty years, so too shall the follower of Christ enter into the Promised Land which is Heaven.
This however is an Old Testament analogy of the desert led by the Prophet Moses, the next idea of “40” and the “Desert” is even more amazing via Christ in the New Testament. However, we will leave that for another day. In the meantime, it will suffice to meditate upon the wandering in the desert of the Jewish people and how it relates to our own wandering in the desert of the world.
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Mark Moran, MA