Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.
Today is three days of the Omer.
As we discussed last week, Passover, also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is celebrated for 7 days, which this year began sundown March 30 and concludes before sundown on April 7. The evening of the second day of Passover, April 1, begins the Counting of the Omer, Sefirat haOmer, ספירת העומר. The term omer means sheaves.
The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.
“ ‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.
On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
The biblical Hebrews were an agrarian society which were more conscious of the LORD's provision for their sustenance. The Appointed Feasts marked days of worship for the goodness provided by Elohim. The barley harvest which began immediately after Passover was considered the First Fruit of the year. For 49 days a sheave of barley would be brought to the Temple as a wave offering. On Shavuot, the 50th day, two loaves of wheat bread would be brought to signify the beginning of the wheat harvest. To the Hebrew people, this is a time of expressing gratitude for Yahweh's provision of the harvest and celebrating the precious gift of the Torah, the first five books of our Bible, their rules for right living.
Similar to Advent, counting toward Christmas, or Lent, counting toward Easter, Counting the Omer marks the days between the salvation provided by Passover and the Crucifixion to the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai which provided the Law and the Pentecost in Acts to the giving of the Holy Spirit. As we approach Pentecost, we count up the days starting at 1 on the second day of Pesach. Counting the Omer is not a count down to reach a goal, but an accumulation of time where we evaluate what our Savior has done during Passover while looking at our lives and striving to grow Christ-like attributes by submission to our Creator God. Each day of the Sefirat haOmer is one step closer in our relationship with Elohim.
Each week of the Omer has the focus of a different attribute, much like out Petra prayer time. When we focus our thoughts, Bible study and prayer on a single quality, we find ourselves anticipating Adonai's answer and our relationship focused on the Most High God, Yahweh, our LORD.
This weeks attribute is Love:
For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws. Deuteronomy 30:16 NIV
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV
Mighty God, Loving Savior and Encouraging Spirit, draw near to your child, teach us Your requirements so I may know You more, love You more completely, and testify to Your goodness. As I strive to walk in Your ways, help me to apply what I learn to my daily life. Counting the Omer is not something I completely understand, but I am willing to submit to Your perfect will, to open my heart and mind to what You are teaching me. Please help me demonstrate love to those around me just as You have loved me and have given Your life as an atonement for my sinfulness. Thank you for Your loving-kindness. Amen