40 Years to Learn a Lesson

Yael Eckstein  |  May 3, 2023

Yael Eckstein blessing Yehudit, an elderly woman in Israel, with a food delivery

The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan. —Exodus 16:35

As The Fellowship celebrates our 40th Anniversary this month, I want to share some devotional thoughts on the biblical significance of the number 40. In Scripture, 40 can represent many things, such as a new beginning or transformation. Join me as we explore the various meanings of this milestone year.

What if you could have all your needs taken care of without lifting a finger? You would have all the food, shelter, and clothing you need. No bills to pay. No difficult tasks or deadlines hanging over your head. Does this sound like an ideal life? It certainly sounds nice to me!

One story in the Bible that always fascinated me as a child was that of the manna from heaven that the children of Israel ate in the desert. According to Jewish tradition, manna was the most delicious food in the world. In fact, according to one teaching, the manna tasted however a person wanted it to taste.

Most importantly, the children of Israel did not need to struggle or work to get their daily bread. Each morning they woke up and there it was. They enjoyed that blessing for 40 years! We read, “The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.”

40 Years to Learn a Lesson

So why did the manna stop after 40 years? Why didn’t God continue to bless His people Israel by providing their every need even after they entered the Promised Land?

The answer is simple. God wants us to work for our daily bread. But this leads to another question. Why did He provide the manna for 40 years in the first place? Weren’t there more natural ways for God to provide food for Israel in the desert?

One important fact about the manna was that it went bad after only one day. The Israelites could not plan for the future. Every day a new blessing from God brought that day’s food.

Maybe that was the whole point. Before entering the land where they would need to work for their food, the children of Israel spent 40 years living off of God’s miraculous blessing, a blessing that was renewed each and every day.

During those 40 years, a whole new nation was born and raised who knew one thing well—God, and only God, provides our daily bread. It took 40 years to learn an important lesson for the children of Israel — and for us, as well: All our needs are in the hands of God.

For 40 years, The Fellowship has learned that lesson, too. We have been blessed by God. As we are grateful to all our Christians friends and supporters who have joined us in this miraculous journey, we also know that it is God, and only God, Who makes all these blessings possible.

Your Turn:

No matter our age, God has blessed us with years to learn His lessons. What has God taught you? Share your comments with me in the space below.