Why Count the Omer, Part 1: The First 40 Days
Counting the Omer – most are familiar with the culmination of the count, which is Pentecost, also called the Festival of Weeks. “Weeks” is taken from the Hebrew word “shavuot” and refers to the seven weeks that precede Pentecost. Leviticus 23:15 tells us to count the weeks between the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost:
“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.”
The Feasts of the Lord: Going Through the Motions
Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles – lots of Feasts, each with different instructions for observing them. Sometimes when we’re just starting out observing the Feasts, or approach a new season of Feasts, we can easily think of all the instructions and do’s and don’ts, and forget the richness of each Feast. It can feel – and in fact become – like we’re just going through the motions.
I can imagine that’s how the Hebrews must have felt when they heard the instructions for the first time as well. Exodus 12 is 50 verses full of instructions for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the instructions are not exactly intuitive or logical. What were they to make of killing a lamb and smearing its blood on their door frames? Had that ever saved them from death before? Was this a common practice? And what’s so bad about leavened bread? What does that have to do with saving their firstborns? (more…)
Preparing to Enter Our Promised Land – Part 2
In Numbers 1-2 God appoints leaders from each tribe of the Israelites, counts the men for military battle and organizes them as to how they are to camp and move. By Numbers 10 they are moving toward the Promised Land. These are our bookends in this study. Everything within this 20-day period can be considered the last minute instructions before the Israelites can move forward.
In Part 1, we referenced Hebrews 3-4, in which Paul points out,
“it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today.’ ” … “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;”
The last minute preparations in how to enter our Sabbath rest in these last days are the same for us as they were for the Israelites in Numbers 1-10. These are our instructions for what is required in order for God to fulfill His promises to us. (more…)
Preparing to Enter Our Promised Land – Part 1
Numbers 1 begins the culmination of God’s main purpose for the Exodus: entering the Promised Land. Hebrews 4 tells us we are still headed for the Promised Land, calling it our Sabbath rest. Numbers 1-14 are the last few weeks before His grand plan is finally realized. The first 10 chapters provide an outline of how to prepare to enter the Land – for the Israelites, and for us today. These are the last few instructions for following God’s presence into our land of blessing and abundance. (more…)
The Blessing of the 10 Commandments: A Case in Point
In an earlier post, we reviewed the lifestyle of following the 10 Commandments and the blessings it produces based on Deuteronomy 26:16-19. But God’s blessings go beyond human logic. It’s not only that if you do this, then that will happen. While that is certainly true in the natural realm, when we pursue God’s commands, the spiritual results are compounded beyond what we can imagine. (more…)
Resting in God’s Faithfulness: Faith for Fear
In an earlier post, I shared how God had helped me identify six idols in my life – those things I put my trust in either in addition to Him or instead of Him. After a 40-day examination of my attitudes toward them, I realized they were borne out of fear—fear of losing those things I depended on for security. During that time God provided me a new perspective more closely aligned with His desire for my abundant life and which helped me to stay in his place of peace and rest.
A year later, I still kept God’s word to me on my desk: (more…)