Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.
Exodus 24:18 (NRSVCE)
A few weeks ago I made an impromptu road trip. It was a particularly stressful time, and I told a few friends that the road trip was my way of doing what Jesus did on occasion when He went up a mountain alone to pray. I chose to sequester myself in the car.
As I read today’s chapter I found a number of elements that foreshadowed Jesus’ story. Jesus, like Moses, spent a period of forty days and nights in the wilderness. In today’s chapter, Moses is the mediator between God and the people. Moses offers the blood sacrifice, the blood covers the people, and Moses then ascends to God. Jesus was the blood sacrifice which atones for sin before He rose and ascended. When Jesus went up on a mountain with Peter, James, and John and was transfigured in glory, Moses appeared there at Jesus’ side. The events of today’s chapter are an example of how the ancient Hebrew stories are linked to Jesus. It’s all part of the Great Story.
What my mind and heart came back to in the text, however, was the time that Moses spent with God on the mountain. Forty is also a theme beyond the link to Jesus time in the wilderness:
- The rain in Noah’s flood lasted forty days and nights.
- Joshua and Caleb spent forty days spying out the Promised Land.
- Goliath taunted Israel’s army for 40 days before David stepped up with his sling.
- God told Ezekiel to lay on his side for 40 days as part of a prophetic word picture.
- Jonah prophesied to Nineveh that they had 40 days to repent.
- The seasons of Advent (celebrating the birth of Christ) and Lent (celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ) are both 40 days.
I am reminded in the quiet this morning that this world is moving faster, and faster, and faster as the memory and processing speed of our technology and devices continues to advance more rapidly. According to Google, their quantum computer (known as “Sycamore”) recently completed a computation in 200 seconds which would take the next fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. The speed of life and technology continues to increase and with it my expectations for results.
The irony is that God’s Kingdom runs opposite the world. Things of the Spirit require time, contemplation, meditation, experience, struggle, worship, and prayer. The 15-16 hours I spent alone in the car, along with a night alone in a hotel, were spent doing exactly those things. It was exactly what my soul needed to find some clarity, to get centered, and to experience a measure of peace amidst my acutely stressful circumstances.
Over the nearly 40 years (there’s another “40” for you, lol) I have been a follower of Jesus, I’ve experienced that my time of quiet with God each morning has an effect on the peace with which I handle the stress of each day. If I go a stretch without getting in my time of quiet with God, even Wendy notices an increase in my stress level and pessimistic attitude toward life and relationships.
And so, I try to carve out a little alone time with God each morning, and occasionally along the journey, I’ve needed more than that. I can feel the call to climb the mountain, take a road trip, or spend a week unplugged at the lake. I have a feeling that the faster this world gets, the more necessary the times of quiet will be spiritually required.
Hope you find a few minutes of quiet today, as well, my friend.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.