The Gift of Counting the Omer

by Sara Rood Smith

In the quiet between Passover and Shavuot, something very important is happening. In the Torah, we are instructed to count fifty days or seven Sabbaths that lead us to Shavuot.

And you shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, seven Sabbaths shall be complete. Unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall you number fifty days…” ~ Leviticus 23:15-16

This count acts as a bridge between the Spring Feasts of the LORD.

As we count, we are stepping along with the Israelites from the exodus from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea through the desert to Mount Sinai. We make the journey with them every year as we count the days they spent trekking through the wilderness. YHVH delivered the people from slavery and mikveh-ed them in the Red Sea, but they would not become his people until they made the 40-day journey to the burning mountain where they would receive the Torah. Along the way, the people would learn what it meant to be YHVH’s people. They would learn important lessons about trusting; they would be part of the picture the Almighty carefully crafted of the coming Messiah.

The same count that takes the Israelites from Egypt to Mount Sinai also paces out the time between the resurrection of our Messiah to the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a count that brings us to the completion of something beautiful. The exodus is nothing if it ended right there; the Israelites all would have died in the desert. The experience was made complete through the trek up to Mount Sinai and the entering into the covenant with the Almighty that allowed the people to continue on to the Promised Land. Layered upon this understanding, our count anticipates the gift our risen Messiah gave at the completion ofthe ministry. He did not leave us empty-handed, but rather empowered us with the Holy Spirit to teach and live according to the Word so that we may live eternally.

This count is also called the Counting of the Omer. Every day that we count the “omer,” we can also think of the offering to the Almighty. This count is not a lull between feasts; it is a lifeline. It is a count filled with anticipation and expectation. It is the count from a rescue, a deliverance, a salvation to a gift of life, of strength, of holiness. It is the count of a promise to its fulfillment. It is a count of hope that leads to blessing.

So this month, as you count out the days between the exodus and the giving of the Torah, as you count out the days between the resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, remember to give thanks. May you bless and be blessed this month as you continue the count.

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“As Yeshua looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in her two mites. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

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These 10 bronze widow’s mite coins were minted during the inter-testamental period of Jewish history when Israel was a self-governing nation. These coins were minted under King and High Priest Alexander Jannaeus who ruled Israel from 103-76 B.C.

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