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The Counting of the Omer

The Counting of the Omer

Known as the Counting of the Omer, the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot or Pentecost commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and link it to the celebration of God giving the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai. The word omer means “sheaf,” and an omer was an ancient unit of dry measure used for grain. When they lived in the land of Israel, the Israelites harvested their first barley crops with great rejoicing and celebration. They remembered that during Passover God had delivered them from being slaves in Egypt. Today the Jews recognize the counting of the omer as the process of leaving slavery and entering into a time of liberty as a sovereign people.

 

In the Scriptures, the Feast of Shavuot is called the Feast of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks because the Israelites counted the weeks to this feast. The counting began on the second night of Passover during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. On this day, the Israelites went out into their barley fields, harvested a sheaf of the first ripe grain, and took it to the priest. The priest waved the sheaf as an offering before the Lord (Leviticus 23:9-11; Deuteronomy 16:9-12). 1 With the waving of the first fruits, the Israelites counted fifty days leading up to the next feast, the Feast of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-16). This waving of the sheaf of the first fruits was symbolic of the resurrection of Christ our Lord.

 

To me, these fifty days are some of the most challenging and significant days we go through. Read Acts and the Gospels following the crucifixion of Christ and see what the disciples experienced as God worked something deep in their spirits. They went into the upper room and started seeking the Lord in a way they had never sought Him before. Everything they had known had just been stripped away. All their dreams were dashed to pieces. Everything they expected Christ to be to them or do for them or how they expected things to work out had just been blown away. On the road to Emmaus, two of them walked along and reviewed their experiences (Luke 24:13). They talked about the Lord, who He was to them, and what He had taught them. It was in that atmosphere that the Lord appeared to them—even without their ability to notice it or recognize it until He revealed Himself to them. In the same way, we can push everything else aside during this time and find a way to seek Him like we never have before. We can look for something new to happen and anticipate His appearings.

 

God has hidden something in these fifty days for us. We often look forward to Pentecost, but I believe that this season is something special for us now. I wish we could create an upper room atmosphere again and have an undistracted focus as we seek for the Lord’s appearings (Acts 1:12-14). Create a prayerful atmosphere of expectation and impart this sense of destiny to the children as well. In doing so, we can create an atmosphere that will be the dynamite cap to release Christ in all the earth. Live in expectation and look for something to happen during these weeks leading to Pentecost.

 

1 All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).