Thoughts on Deuteronomy #7: Forty Days and Forty Nights

28th March, 2013 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

What do you think of when you hear the words “forty days and forty nights?”  Before this morning, my thought would have been, that’s how long Jesus fasted in the wildeerness after His baptism (Matthew 4).   Today I learned that Moses, too, fasted for forty days and forty nights (Deuteronomy 9:18).

When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the tablets of the law in his arms, he saw the despicable idolatry of the people of God. Moses was angry and broke the tablets. But there’s more to the story. Moses was also in mourning for the people God had called him to lead. He abhored their sin, and he knew they deserved the just wrath of God. Yet he pled for God’s mercy. For forty days and forty nights he fasted, eating and drinking nothing, and as he lay prostrate before the LORD, he begged the LORD to show mercy to His people. Moses understood sin and he understood the holiness of God so fully that he feared for his people.

The LORD listened to Moses’ prayer. He forgave the Hebrews’ sin and remained faithful to the covenant promises.

As I read these verses, I was convicted. Have I ever mourned my own sin or the sin of someone I love as deeply as Moses did? Have I ever fasted even for a day or two as I prayed for a family member’s or friend’s salvation?  Regrettably, I haven’t.

Moses had a closeness to the LORD that few have ever experienced, but the closeness came largely because of Moses choice to spend time with the LORD, not a quick minute or two here and there, but serious, concentrated prayer time.

I want what Moses had, but do I want it enough to do what’s necessary to have this intimate relationship with the Lord. I must pray that I want it that much and that I act upon the willingness to make it happen. Only by God’s grace could Moses be the man he was, and only by God’s grace can I copy his example.

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