As I circle back to the meaning of the Flood, the fact that God told Noah that it would rain for exactly 40 days, as it did, I notice that this was the very first, and the first of three, phenomenal 40 day periods in history.
It took 40 days of rain to wipe out life in the Flood. Moses visited with God on the mountaintop for 40 days, during which time he transcribed Genesis and received the Ten Commandments. In the third phenomenal 40 day period, Jesus fled to the desert after being baptized by John to prepare for His ministry and kickstart His mission to restore the God:man relationship and consequently immortality to humankind.
It takes 365 days for the earth to completely revolve around the sun, but it took only forty days, five weeks plus five days of time on three separate occasions for God to construct a solid stairway to heaven with three landings of time for humanity to catch up.
Noah. On the first 40-day stairway God gradually and systematically erased that which He created.
Moses. On the second set of risers, God introduced Himself to a man. The meeting was long and specific. He wanted to tell mankind, through this man Moses, what He was like, so mankind could consciously and willingly maintain His image and likeness.
With the first forty days God erased, with the second He drew a clear outline of what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God. God chose Israel's big family to be the Control Group. Having decided not to erase by flood again, evil and wickedness in humankind would be fought with the will of man subjecting itself, one person at a time, to the will of God in a deliberate, conscious, and knowing way.
Jesus. God Himself came to earth, fully God and also fully human, to apply to the whole from the Control Group (the Jews) the principles of combatting evil and wickedness with the individual's own yielded will and desire.
As with Moses, God-Jesus convened for forty days of testing by Satan who repeatedly tempted Jesus to misalign His human will to the divine will of God the Father. The stakes were the highest. Satan failed.
God, as Jesus, was to not just tell humankind what He was like, and thus how to be like Him, but He was to be the model for the perfect man that God intended mankind to be.
For three 40-day periods, God painstakingly helped humankind to be what He intended in the beginning. God wanted sons and daughters, but exactly because mankind is like him, intelligent, creative, and emotional, and willful, it would take a slow gradual, but more thorough, process to receive true children of God. No hurry. He has time.
Lent. To extract the most from the forty day Lenten period, a person should consciously and deliberately climb these stairs.
1. Erase evil from your world by avoiding or ignoring it. See Lent as a fresh start. The Noah steps.
2. Learn. Read whatever you can that teaches you the Will of God. The Moses steps.
3. Practice overcoming the temptation to misalign your will with God's Will. The Jesus Christ steps.
What doesn't matter: The color of our skin, our earthly achievements, our wealth or poverty, or our health, our education or our talents, our social network, none of these worldly aspects of a person matter one whit to God.
What matters. Our willingness to obey God's commands, and to conform to the image of Christ, our Model.
Forty days is only a brief period of time, five weeks and five days, but as history has shown, it can be a most unique and meaningful period.