What a milestone! The Ship has reached Forty Years of Kingdom Movement and yes that is really something to write home and tell Momma about! Here’s why: Most businesses/organizations fail within three to five years of inception. Ok, The Ship is a church, but there is a Divine Purpose for our existence and a goal to achieve. Although not the same as a carnal business/organization, our goal – striving to fulfill The Great Commission – ranks no less in importance and for forty years a Devine hand has been steering the movement and ordering our steps toward that end.
As we celebrate our anniversary this year, we can’t help but direct some attention to the significance of the number 40 in Scripture. In the Hebrew Bible, forty is often used for time periods, forty days or forty years, which separate “two distinct epochs”. An epoch is defined as, a period of time in history or a person’s life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics. Several Old and New Testament references come to mind:
Gen 7:4 – “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” (KJV) Of course, you recall this as the Genesis account of the flood. After the flood, there was a rebirth of life.
Acts 7:23 – “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel.” (KJV) The first forty years of Moses’ life was lived in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh. This was a phase of education.
Acts 7:30 – “And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.”. (KJV) After fleeing Egypt, Moses lived forty years in Midian. During this phase of Moses’ life, God prepared him for his leadership assignment.
Num 14:33-34 – “And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.” (KJV) Here we observe a combination of things. The spies spent forty days searching the Promised Land. God sentenced the Israelites to wander in the wilderness one year for each day spent searching the Promised Land – equating to forty years. Moses’ last forty years of life were spent leading the Israelites in the wilderness.
Mat 4:1-2- “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” After this trial, Jesus was prepared for and began His earthly ministry.
Sometimes the meaning and/or significance of a number used in Scripture can be determined by observing how it’s used in the text. A brief observation of the Scriptures above reveal that the number forty has been associated with times of trial, punishment and growth. And at the end of the appointed time, those involved had been positioned to move into the next phase of God’s Devine Plan.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” Psalms 37:23 KJV. Did God dedicate the last forty years to ordering our steps? You decide. From appliance salesman at Sears to Pastor of a church. From Buzzell Village to 431 Dunbar Road and beyond. From no ministries to 38 ministries moving in the church and community. From two members to approximately 2,800. From the home going of our Moses to the arrival of our Joshua and the list goes on! I suggest our steps have been ordered. days, months, years of kingdom movement – orders steps. Mountain top and valley experiences – orders steps. Disappointment, change and even death – orders steps.
A new generation navigates The Ship. Like Moses, like Jesus, God has prepared them for the next forty years. The year of 2020 has been set aside to celebrate what God has done and launch out in the direction He has positioned The Ship for the future. Kingdom Movement!
Written by Henry Hopson, Jr.