Pastor’s Desk July 30th

Scripture Passage:  “After the number of days in which you searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall you bear your iniquities, even forty years, and you shall know my breach of promise.”   Numbers 14:34 

Dear Friends,

     Forty years is a long time.  Ask my sister.  Judy began working for the Tennessee Eastman Company on July 12, 1978.  This year marks her fortieth year.  They had a celebration at the corporate headquarters in Kingsport and invited her family to attend.  We had to obtain special passes and be cleared to enter the building.  They had a reception that included supervisors, co-workers, and family.  Many of the people in the room were younger than Judy’s daughters.  One of the supervisors read a list of all the jobs and responsibilities Judy had performed over that forty year period and all were amazed at how many changes had occurred.  Many of the divisions are no longer in existence and many new ones have taken their place.  They said the secret to Judy’s longevity with the company was her ability to adjust and adapt to change.  Her best friends and co-workers now are the age of my children.  She is an amazing woman who has seen much, and lived through much and continues to be productive.  God has had his hand upon her and protection around her for all these years.  By the way, she is fifty-eight. 

     As I was sitting and listening to the speakers my mind was thinking of several forty year periods in the Bible.  Moses spent forty years in Pharaoh’s house, forty years in the desert tending sheep, and forty years leading the children of Israel through the wilderness.   The spies spent forty days searching out the land and then forty years wandering because they did not trust God. Elijah spent forty days and forty nights fleeing from Jezebel before God spoke to him in a still, small voice bringing him comfort.  Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness before being tempted by Satan.  Forty appears to be an important number in God’s sequence of time.

     There were over a million people who made the exodus out of Egypt.  Out of that number only two over the age of twenty made it into the Promised Land.  Joshua and Caleb believed God and He rewarded their faithfulness.  What most people forget is that they had to wander forty years also and watch their friends and family die and their graves dot the landscape.  Think about everything they saw and the changes they lived through.  When they entered the Promised Land, they were senior citizens and the entire nation looked to them for guidance.  The young ones had the good sense to realize there was a reason these two men had survived and a purpose for them being there.  They had proven themselves and had forty years of experience to back it up.  They also had God’s hand and blessings upon them.  Joshua was 96 when he took Moses’ place and he led the nation until he died at 110.  He conquered for seven years, and divided the land for seven years.  He retired at 110 when the job was finished God had given him to do.  Good news Judy, you are over half-way there.