24 June 2011

40 days: a challenge


I saw that this morning, and I suddenly had a very true—and very obvious—statement run through my head: 39 is close to 40. Like, just 1 away.

Yeah, you can't deny numbers skills like that.

And then this other thought came: 40 is one of those biblical numbers, along with 3, 12, and "more numerous than the stars."

Jesus spent 40 days in the desert being tested by Satan.

The Israelites spent 40 years wondering around the desert, waiting to go into the Promised Land once they stopped whining about manna and worshiping golden calves that they'd made from their own jewelry.

{Side note: how much jewelry did they have with them? Wouldn't it need to be a lot to make an idol? How did these former slaves get so much gold? Although I guess the Bible never spells out the size of the cow. It could've been the size of your thumbnail.}

So on the biblical scale of things, 40 is important. And I'd like to be more like a person in the Bible. I mean, I'd like to be more like Jesus and all, but I'd also just like to do something that involves the number 40. Seems very holy.

And that's why I'd like to get 40 followers. I've already bypassed 3 and 12, and I think "more numerous than the stars" is a little too lofty for me.

So I've got my Bible-sized goal, but I need you—really, just one of you, as my awesome math skills proved before—to help.

And what do you get for this, for helping me?

I don't know if this is a benefit {um, I hope you see it as one}, but I decided that when I get 40 followers, I'll commit to posting every day for 40 business days.

Business days, yes. I know I sound like UPS, but I need to cut myself some slack. And I figure that since I'm a business person, I can use the phrase business days and get away with it.

So you, person who's been lurking, reading my blog but not following, I'm talking to you: Please help me be like a person in the Bible and do something related to the number 40.

{And if a bunch of you lurkers decide to follow me, I'll post for that many more business days. So if I get 45 followers from this, 45 days it is for me, even though that's not biblical.}

I do love a good self-proclaimed challenge, especially one that involves:
  1. the Bible
  2. the ability to use the word "lurkers"
  3. a chance to show off my math skills
  4. writing more, even if it's just snippets that came to me one morning
  5. the number 40
  6. business days
  7. berating people I know—or don't know—into proving how much they love me


  1. Tada! 40!!! Congratulations, Alyssa. For your prize, we're going to hang out on Tuesday. Preferably not in a basement.

  2. Another “biblical 40”: Noah’s ark.

    I always figured the Psalms were numbered arbitrarily—I’m mean, I’m sure they are—but your discussion of “biblical 40s” made me see Psalm 40 in a different way. Noah’s 40 days “at sea,” the Israelites’ 40 years in the wilderness, and Jesus’s 40 days in the desert are all physical and spiritual crises that just happen to have the number 40 associated with them. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but….Verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 40 (NIV):

    I waited patiently for the Lord;/he turned to me and heard my cry./He lifted me out of the slimy pit,/out of the mud and mire;/he set my feet on a rock/and gave me a firm place to stand.

    Psalm 40 expresses a physical survival, but—metaphorically—it’s easy to see a nadir of spirituality is survived, too. David (if it’s David) comes out the others side—just as Noah, the Israelites, and Jesus survived their physical and spiritual crises. As I said, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but I can’t help but see Psalm 40 a bit differently now.

  3. Really interesting thoughts there, Andrew. I'm not sure I can read Psalm 40 in the same way now, either!



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