40 Days and 40 Nights: A Long Journey – Hamish Muir

40 Days and 40 Nights: A Long Journey 

Hamish Muir 

So what is a sound mind? It’s an interesting sorta thought there, and the word “self-control” or “sound mind” actually only appears once in scripture which is in the scripture that we read. And it’s the Greek word for self-control is – and I’m sorry for this one Chenae – SOPHRONISMOS – and you can tell I’m not into Greek either, which means saving the mind, or moderation.

Since the word “self-control” contains the word “self” I’m quick to interpret this to mean that “I have to do it.”

So a sound mind isn’t just meaning that we’re not crazy, a sound mind means that we’re a- we’re taking control of our actions, of what we have to do, where we can go, join that in with courageous faith.

What does courageous mean? Well the version I got was “not deterred by danger, or pain. Brave! To be brave!” (pause) And (pause) to go through that there’s all sorts of parts in the Bible I’m going through there of courageous to faith.

How does courageous faith relate to what we’re doing now? Why are we going on about courageous faith? A lot of people are afraid with – with the Covid19, with the Corona virus that everything’s gonna change, and we’ve got the new norm and we’re – we’re doing this and we’re going there, and how do we get to where we want to go, and I can’t do what I’d normally do. And the media hype up this fear and this worry, and – and everyone’s like ‘Oh I can’t go! I can’t talk! Oh, I shouldn’t be this close to Chanae ‘cause we’re not meant to be a metre apart and aaarghhh!!” But if we actually had courageous faith, if we know that God is on our side, He is for us not against us. Then any weapon that is formed cannot be against us, that we can stand where we are.

I’m not saying that just because I believe in God I’m never gonna get the corona virus. But what I can say is I can do everything within my power and strength, and even more with the power and might of God to carry on with as normal a life as I can – to not live in fear, to be able to stand next to someone and not think “Please don’t breathe on me! Please don’t breathe on me!” Hehehe ya know. That’s – that’s just holding us back.

So what we need to think about is how can we go forward? And a lot of that can be looking at how (pause) other people (pause) went through life? How did they get through there?

And so some of the first ones to think about when you’re talk – talking about courageous faith is our good ol’ friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Now, if you’re not a hundred percent – umm – sure of the story, these are three dudes and they had another mate with them, Daniel, and they decided – ‘cause the king said “You’ve gotta eat this.” And Daniel said to the boys “Ain’t gonna happen. That’s not what we’re allowed to eat. It’s unclean. We’re not gonna do it.” and then they said “We’ll, you gotta bow down to the king.” And they go, “Well, we only bow down to God. So we ain’t gonna do that either.” And so – they just – when everyone bowed down these four chaps stood there, rather embarrassed I suppose, but knew – that they were doing what was right ‘cause they had courageous faith in their God. Because the king had said that “Anyone that disobeys this will be killed, will be struck down!” So these four lads are standing there going, “We’re about to get knocked down! Yeehheee!!” But they didn’t because God was there protecting them. And this freaked out the king a little bit and so he said, “Right-o! Chuck these guys into the furnace! That way we can deal with it.” So they put Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace, and it’s all flames and fire and everything’s going off in there, and they looked inside and there are the three lads not burning, standing clear and there was a fourth (pause) something there. It’s always this guy in the well it’s a fourth something, which seemed to be encompassing them. And that we know is the Holy Spirit, was there with them, encompassing, because of their courageous faith. They did not have fear. They knew that they were in love, with – what because of what had been given to them by God (pause) to go through (pause) – sorry! Technology is not my friend today…Their God had not given them a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. And they had chosen with faith – courageous faith! – to know that they could stand there and their God will protect them. And they did. And they went on to do all sorts of other things.

Then there is…it’s not just a guy thing. Some of the chicks can get in there. And there was another groovy chick – Esther! Queen Esther! Now she had just got married at a young age, part of the big harem with this king and some – something went down, he wasn’t too sure but he decided he didn’t like the Jews anymore. And so he goes “Right we’re gonna kill all the Jews!” Not realising that his favourite wife, Esther, was also a Jew. So her family and friends came to her and said “Hey, look. Can you go to the king because he thinks you’re the greatest thing since slice bread, and ask for his forgiveness of us and let us all live.” And she’s like “Okay. Yep.” Thought about it. She goes “Well, if I go in to see the king and it’s not my turn, I will get struck down by the guards. I will be killed.” And she had courageous faith knowing that her God was with her, that she could walk up – and so she went into the chamber, the king saw her, recognised her, and actually allowed her to pass her petition to ask for the forgiveness of the Jewish people. Which he agreed to and then the whole things went on. But she knew that if she went in there (paused) she could have been killed, but because she had the courageous faith – the love of God on her life – she knew that she did not have to fear because God would protect her always.

Then there’s the…another woman that we go through that we most probably know more of, and that’s the woman with the issue of the blood, who had been so unwell, and that – that things weren’t going well. And Jesus was walking through town and there were crowds all around Him, and she thought “All I’ve got to do is just touch – touch His shadow or the hem of His garment and I would be healed.” It’s all she had to do and so she pushed forward, and Jesus could actually feel – and if you’ve been in a big crowd you’ll know what it’s like to feel people pushing through the crowd. And He could feel someone coming through and she touched the hem of His garment, and He felt the Holy Spirit come out of Him and into her. And He asked the question, “Who has just touched Me?” And all the disciples were like, “Ha ha ha! Yeah, whatever, JC! There’s crowds around us! Everyone’s pushing. Everyone’s pushing You!” He goes, “No. Someone touched Me. Someone pushed out and touched Me.” And that’s when He saw the woman with the issue on the ground and they spoke. She was healed, and she went forward.

She had been ridiculed. She had been picked on for a long period of time by everyone in the village. They were really anti her. She was not clean in their eyes. She wasn’t allowed to do all sorts of things. She had to go to the well by herself. She couldn’t go and talk with the other women. She had to do everything by herself because of this issue that she had. A little bit like the discrimination that disabled people can get as well in society. But she believed with courageous faith that if she reached out and touched on to God then she would be healed.

And as Pastor Geoff said last night, he was talking about the man in the stretcher and how his four buddies climbed up onto the roof and lowered him down so that they could get him in front of Jesus. Now everyone talks about the faith of the four stretcher bearers but no one ever talks about the faith of the dude on the stretcher! Because he had to believe that his mates could get him onto the roof. Can you imagine in your wheelchair, Leon Prenter, and me and four other dudes turned up and said “Right. We’re gonna put you on the roof, Leon, and drop you down in front of Jesus Christ.” You’d think we’re mad! But he had the faith in his friends and in God that he would be healed. Courageous faith to allow people to lift him up, in his stretcher, onto the roof of a house and then lower him down by ropes to be in front of that man. That is courageous faith.

I read this story (pause) in a book of a guy called Varnyah. He was a young Russian boy who in the 1970s was conscripted into the Russian army. Now he was a Christian and Christianity was not a good thing in Russia at the time. People were not into it. But he did not want to forsake his Christian belief to become a shot – ah – a soldier.  In fact he wanted to become the best soldier that he could by also being able to be an example of being a Christian.

So he goes off to his fir – off to the camp and there. First morning gotta go out on parade and he’s late because he had to go and find somewhere to go and pray, because he knew he had to start the day off in prayer, and he went through there and he prayed to God and he come in, and he was late to parade. And he got in trouble and he got disciplined, and this just kept going on and on and on.

He kept on (pause) trying to do…and what was annoying his commanders is that, yes this guy would not rebuke being a Christian but he would…but he was still being the best soldier in the whole platoon! He was the top of everything but he kept on wanting to be a Christian which made him the bottom of everything which was a huge conflict for his commanders. So he got into all sorts of punishment. One of the biggest ones that I remember in this story, is that he had to s – he was in Siberia, and he had to get in to summer uniform and then stand guard at night in winter in Siberia. So it’s getting to minus who knows what! It’s gonna be reaaaally cold! He stood there (pause) a bit like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego because he had this glow around him, as though he was under a street light but he wasn’t.

And the sergeant who had to keep on going out to see whether he was alive or dead yet, kept having to come out and in the end at about 3 o’clock in the morning said “Look, just go to bed!” And he goes “but I have stay out all night.” And he goes “nah! Go to bed. And he goes, “Why?” And he says “Because it’s too cold for me to keep coming out to see whether you’re alive or not and I wanna stay in my bed so go to bed!”

His courageous faith in believing in God is what helped keep him through all those things.

So this is just the introduction to what I really want to talk about. I hope you can think about what is courageous faith and think of some examples of what you’ve seen. We’ll take a quick break here now. If you’ve got some questions write them up. We’ll have a look at the chat box and see what’s happening. And we’ll come up with some answers in a couple of minutes and then I’ll carry on more into the 40 day and nights part of what I’m wanting to say.

So have a quick break and we’ll see you again soon. Thank you.



(12:50) If we get one, my amazing tech person will give me a big wave and we’ll try and work out what it is, umm, and we’ll sort it out from there.

So we’ve heard about all these people about courageous faith. How does that tie into 40 days 40 night – a long journey? So I thought “well, let’s see what this quarantine is. Because when I first started thinking about this workshop when we were discussing it for camp, we were in lockdown and we were zoom meeting to everyone and all that, so we were isolated. So I thought what does the word quarantine actually mean? And so the word quarantine comes from quarantina, meaning 40 days. Used in the 14th and 15th centuries in Venetian language and designated the period that all the ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death Plague – eh – epidemic.

So people coming into NZ at the moment will be a lot happier because they only have to wait for 14 days and not 40 days. Some people would they should actually stay there for 40 days but I don’t if I could cope with that. And you – can you imagine having to arrive where you wanted to go on a boat that did not smell fantastic and then spend another 40 days and nights sitting on that boat doing nothing.

So it also goes through – the Webster’s dictionary gives various meanings to the noun form including a period of 40 days, several relating to ships, state of enforced isolation. They had to do it. And as a restriction on the movement of people and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests. The word is also used as a verb. And can be quarantined is a distinct – is distinct from medical isolation which those confirmed to be infected with a communicable disease – oh my goodness! – are isolated from healthy population. So that’s the kind of things we’re going through now, isn’t it? That we have this virus that we don’t at the moment have anyway of eradicating or getting rid of without – the only way we know is to just (pause) ex – remove ourselves. Step away from it. Keep away from it. Isolate ourselves. Go into quarantine. And that’s what we’ve done.

And this isn’t turning into a political thing. Whether it’s right or wrong to have done what we’ve had to – to do. But it is also a way to help understand that we had to do it. It’s happened. We’ve done it. We’re going through there. And we need to now survive. Because unfortunately, there’s been a lot of people that have not survived the isolation and it’s a really sad thing that there have been a lot of suicides, and there have been a lot of family conflict. Businesses have lost out. This has happened. That is reality. You can try and put blame onto here but it has happened. We can’t change it. But we need to know that we have a living powerful God that is standing up for us, that we have – and this is something that everyone forgets, is that we have all got a guardian angel. Somewhere in between Chenae and I are two guardian angels. How they fit with wings like that, I don’t know. But we’ve got a guardian angel each here. You all have a guardian angel that is there looking after us, protecting us at all times. The Holy Spirit is always with us. We got to remember that we do it not by my might nor strength, but by His Spirit says the Lord. if we can believe and have total faith in God He’ll protect us. Have no fear, and we can therefore be strong (pause) have power and love and be of a sound mind. And that’s what we’re all going through there.

This is where we’re talking about the whole – umm – the whole thing of about the 40 days. And that got me to go back in to looking at Noah, the dude that did 40 days and nights of the flood. But what a lot of people forget and sometimes don’t even know, is that they weren’t in the ark for just 40 days and 40 nights. They were actually on the ark for over a year. They were there for about 14 months, 10…(pause) (laughter)…trying to learn sign language while you’re doing a speech is not a good idea (laughter). Okay. So (pause) Noah gets told by God “Build this Ark. Get all the animals onboard. Get your family and kids onboard. Everyone else I’m getting rid of because they’re just being idiots. And they’re not listening to me. the world’s falling apart so I’m gonna reboot it. Delete, alt. control alt delete. Memories gone. Cache memory’s gone. Restart the earth.” And He puts the flood in. Now for 40 days and nights it rains. The floods get so high that they’re actually above the mountain tops so they was floating above Mt Everest! That’s how much water was on the earth. So can’t just disappear. It took a hundred days for that water to start to drop away. He then sent a raven – another bird that gets forgotten about in the Bible – he sent a raven first because they go looking for land and if they can’t find land they come back from where they left. And so when the raven back Noah goes well I guess there’s no land out there yet. And then he sent the raven off again and it back. And he sent the raven off again, and he didn’t come back (laughter). And so he kind of figured well, there must be some land there. So then he sent out the dove. And it came back with nothing. And he sent the dove out again, and it came back with the olive branch. And he sent the dove out a third time and it too didn’t come back. so that’s when he knew that things were drying out. for a hundred – for a year I should say – he went into the ark when he was six hundred and something and they came out of the ark when he was 602 and they were going through there and they spent that time.

How do you think you sit for a year on a boat with just your family with a boat’s stinking of animals and not think you’ve been lost? You’ve been forgotten? It was courageous faith that got him through there. It was courageous faith that Noah actually believed in what God said to him and made him build the ark. It’s the same as what Moses was done. Moses was told by God to go up to the mountain and he fasted for 40 days and night on top of the mountain before God actually came and spoke to him.

Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights before He was tempted by Satan to try and go through there because He was – and He was feeling hungry and He was feeling sore and the devil tried to tempt Him and He went “No!” because he had courageous faith.

Where people didn’t have courageous faith and things fell over was when (pause) and after Moses had led them out of Egypt, and they came across the promise land, and the twelve were sent in to look at the fabled land, the – the, you know – the land of promise and glory, of milk and honey – ten came back and went “no way man! Have you seen the size of those dudes?!” It’s sort of like Leon Prenter coming up to say I’m gonna take on Hamish, take me on, yeah. And he’s like we ain’t doing that. We can’t do it. But then two other guys said year we can. They had the courageous faith. They believed because they had their God standing behind them they had no fear. They had the power and the sound mind to be able to go in and take that land. But because the other ten didn’t, for another forty years, they wandered in the wilderness, that forty years was so that generation of doubters, of people with non-courageous faith, were no more. So that then the people who had the courageous faith, they were the ones that received the blessing, they received the power and the glory of the living God to go forward and do great things.

Now I’m not saying that if you don’t have courageous faith and you’re struggling through covid, that God’s gonna wipe you out and get rid of you. I’m not saying that at all. But what I’m saying is to make this an easier time to cope with everything that’s going on, to be not able to do everything that you used to be able to do, if you have the faith and understanding in your heart that God is for you not against you then you will travel through this even better.

I’m sure for some of you, your treatment plans have been interrupted because of covid, you can’t go and do things. you may not be able to go to swimming pools, and to – to gyms and physiotherapies and things like that, but that will come forward. And I just pray that you have the faith to go forward, to believe and have the power of God in your lives so that you can know that it is always a way forward. There is always a light. We don’t know the path we’re on but if we just keep going along that path we’ll go to there. Our goal is to always – what I tell a lot of guys – I work with guys that have lost their jobs and have come out of prisons, and drug rehabilitation and I say we all go round the mountain, we all come back to where we once were. But what’s the easiest way to go up a mountain? The easiest way to go up a mountain is to go in a circle, in a spiral – work your way slowly up to the top. That’s the easiest way. You can try to go straight up!! But you’re gonna get worn out and it’s gonna be really hard and you’ll just slide back down.

But if you walk round you come across the same problem. So I stubbed my toe on that rock. I walked round the mountain through life and I come back and I come across that rock again, and I go “I recognise that rock!” and so now I take another path higher and above it and I don’t stub my toe. I just spiralled up the mountain a little higher.

I’ve got a problem with trying to get to physio – haven’t been able to get there. So I ring up the physio, “Hey that’s cool. We’ll book you in another appointment. Thanks for letting us know.” Instead of just getting depressed – I can’t get out of the house, I can’t do that. Communication! Stepping forward! Having faith that God will make a way!

I hope this has given you an insight and understanding of where we’re sort of wanting to say with courageous faith which is the foundation of what we’re wanting to put camp on this year. So think about courageous faith, how we can go through conflicting times though difficult moments to try and always go forward and do better and climb higher, believing that God is with us and always will be with us. I hope we’ve been able to get that today.