When we need to take a nap we say that we are going to get 40 winks. I never understood where the term came from but I did discover an explanation on the internet (I have not determined if this is true or not). A wink was an old Roman measurement of time, equal to 30 seconds, 40 winks = 20 minute nap. But we do know that the number 40 represents a period of time. 40 days is a long period of time, such as a month. 40 years can represent a generation.
Throughout the Bible periods of time are described as 40 days and 40 nights or 40 years. While Noah was in the ark, God made it rain for 40 days and 40 nights. Once the rain stopped Noah waited an additional 40 days before he opened a window in the ark.
Moses had his times of 40. It is said that Moses was 40 years old when he left Egypt after killing an Egyptian. Moses then spent 40 years in the desert of Midian where he married and was a shepherd for his father-in-law. Moses speaks to God through a burning bush and receives orders to confront Pharaoh. Once the Israelites are set free they spend 40 years traveling towards the Promised Land. During their desert journey, Moses spent time, 40 days and 40 nights, on a mountain with God. He did this twice. On one of these trips up the mountain Moses received the Ten Commandments. Moses died at 120 years old.
Goliath taunted the Israelite army for 40 days, twice a day. Elijah was given food by an angel of God as he hid from Jezebel. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. Jonah came into Nineveh stating that God was going to overturn the city in 40 days. But God saw their acts of repentance and had compassion on them.
After Jesus was baptized, he went into the desert to confront the devil: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1). After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights Jesus was hungry. It is here at Jesus’ weakest that the devil attacks and tempts our Lord. Jesus also appeared to the disciples and a group of witnesses after the Resurrection for 40 days before He ascended to Heaven.
Tomorrow marks a period of 40 days in my life. A period time when I have left one way of life as I head into a new journey with God. I wish it was pleasant. My former way of life was predicable. It was a time when I knew what was expected and I was comfortable. During these past 40 days there have been times of loneliness. There have been times of doubt and even despair. But through these 40 days, I have grown closer to God and His purpose and plan for my life is becoming clearer. I am looking forward to day 41.