The number 40 shows up often in the Bible. Because 40 appears so often in contexts dealing with judgment or testing, many scholars understand it to be the number of “probation” or “trial.” This doesn’t mean that 40 is entirely symbolic; it still has a literal meaning in Scripture. “Forty days” means “forty days,” but it does seem that God has chosen this number to help emphasise times of trouble and hardship.
In Genesis 7:12 tells us God was so troubled by the wickedness of the world that he planned to destroy all life – with the exception of those righteous few on the ark – and “rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.”
Noah and his sons needed patience to complete their ark building work. They had to toil under the constant scrutiny and, perhaps, laughter of those who would pass them in their labours and shake their heads, express disbelief, or openly ridicule them
Jesus and his disciples were also mocked, rejected, and threatened with physical violence up until the end of Christ’s mortal life when those threats were realised. They could relate to Noah, the outsider, and laughingstock. Whether Noah ever actually built this colossal ship is a matter of great debate amongst scholars. However, all seem to agree that the symbolism of this Old Testament narrative holds much truth that needs to be taken seriously in today’s context.
Even Mikhail Gorbachev once said, “We are all passengers aboard one ship, the Earth, and we must not allow it to be wrecked. There will be no second Noah's Ark.”
However, I think that we can be encouraged that we can see how God desired to be in relationship with Noah. Today God, through our relationship with Christ, looks upon us with eyes of grace and mercy, desiring a personal relationship and intimate fellowship what ever the storm we face.
Lord, as in the days of Noah, when the earth was filled with sin and wickedness, you found the righteousness of Noah. Empower us by your Holy Spirit to pursue righteousness and godliness in these evil times. Take everything in our lives that opposes your precepts and will. Flood our hearts with love, faith, hope, joy, patience and peace. In Jesus Name, Amen!