Welcome to Home Shalom!
Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Counting the Omer/Days - Revised
In the midst of posting our little family prayer for this season, we realized...hey, we forgot to post the Scripture. So we added that...and as Scripture often DOES...it brought conviction and spurred further study again....We wanted to better define "omer" and realized our understanding needed to be refreshed. We dug further and realized....hey...wait a minute!!! We were off...(imagine that). It might be a matter of semantics to some...but we strive to purify our walk to be as "clean" as possible...KNOWING that we will still be fallible and our worship is not perfect...we still press in with honest intentions to live our lives for Him as He leads us by His Spirit and through the Scriptures..... So we have decided to tweak our prayer song and re-post it as we count the days between the feasts, but first a little "background".
What is Counting the Omer? Counting the Omer is actually a term used in Judaism that refers to the 7 weeks from the date of First Fruits (Yom HaBikkurim) to the Feast of Shavuot (Catholicism renamed it Pentecost) as commanded in The Scriptures.
Lev 23:15 You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. 16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to YHVH.
What is an Omer and where does it come in? An omer is an ancient dry measure that was used in Biblical times and is defined in Exodus 16:36 as being a 10th of an ephah. We see it used to define the amount of manna to be gathered by each person in the wilderness. If more than that was gathered it would spoil. It's specifically of measurement seems to be important in the context of the usage of the word omer in Chapter 16. Exodus is the only location where the Hebrew word is used in the English translations. All the other places where the Hebrew word omer is used in the Scriptures, it is translated in most of our English versions as 'sheaf'. These are those locations:
Ruth 2:7, 2:15
The Strongs number for the word omer is 6016.
When trying to find the "conversion" to modern day measure for an omer - we found a HUGE variance in that number. It seems to us that it is very UNclear as to what the measurement of an omer or an ephah actually equals. This raised the question on our home, if maybe it might be sort of like our understanding of a bushel...a basket size....or rather a bundle size instead of an exact weight type measure. ??? But we are left still being very unclear...
When searching the ancient Hebrew for omer (eyin, mem, resh) this is what we found: The letter root (eyin, mem) unfolds-
Eyin - is the word picture 'to see' or watching, knowing or witnessing
Mem - is the word picture of 'a mass' or vast quantity of something
Resh - is the word picture of "head" often seen as people or beginning
Put together the understanding becoming "witnessing a large collection of something". This is where the bundle or "sheath" understanding comes into play. YHVH gathered his people to receive/witness the Torah and the Ruach Ha Kodesh in mighty ways. We can't help but winder - How might he gather us one more time in the part of the prophecy which has not yet come to pass??? We can only wait and be 'at the ready' to find out!!!!
(It is very hard for us not to spring board into a 15 page word study related to barley and harvest and people and Abraham at this point!!! But we will abstain for the sake of simplicity. If the spirit leads you there...GO! It is very eye opening!! And quite relevant to this fulfillment of these feasts!)
Our Personal Experience with this season in the Past:We have counted the days between First Fruits to Shavout as commanded ever since our first year of learning to keep YHVH's Appointed Times. Until the time of this writing, we called this time by its traditional name from Judaism called "Counting the Omer". This time is used to prepare our hearts for Shavuot which is a precious commemoration of receiving the Torah in the book of Exodus AND The Great Out-Pouring of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) in the book of Acts. (which is NOT highlighted in Judaism.) This time is traditionally spent studying and praying about a characteristic that help us carry out the heart of Torah, and often leads into many other studies. Personally speaking, it has always been a notable time in our walk where YHVH gives us direction, refines our walk in Him and shows us things we did not see before. It is often a time where He chastens us and brings us to another level of maturity. It is something that we have come to look forward to and embrace with grate appreciation and expectation. It is kind of like the quiet 'one on one' time between the "big events" of the Spring Feasts.
Our Personal Course Correction: This is where our personal course correction comes in from the first paragraph. Last year we added a little prayer song to our family tradition of Counting the Days between the feasts and used the terminology that we adopted from Judaism of "Counting the Omer". But what we realized is that this phrase is not entirely accurate. An omer (sheaf) of barley is waved (by the priests) on the first day the counting of days to Shavout which is also the Feast of HaBikkurim (First Fruits - also the Day Y'shua was risen). HOWEVER, we are counting the days to Shavuot, not the sheaves of barley (even though this is a harvest related feast of thanksgiving). So we are choosing to use the term "Counting of the Days" in our family instead of "Counting of the Omer". This has also changed the end of our little family prayer we sing. (Below is our revised version for you.) :-)
Some of Our Practical Applications this Year: This is a little prayer song that we learned last year and added to our family's observance of "The Counting the Days" from First Fruits to Shavuot. We sing this together every evening as we gather round the supper table at the turn of the day as the sun sets and we enter into a new day. On the first day of this season, we realized that our previous prayer song was a little "off" because we used the tradition prayer saying "the commanding of the counting of the omer". That is Judaism, because although we always counted the days...we called it the 'omer'. Again, this might semantics to some to some....but the fact is YHVH commands us to count the days...so that is how we will pray it as we do it. :-)
Here is the family singing the (revised) prayer together, as we will every night in our process of counting.
Here are the children alone singing it (It is so sweet to hear babes sing!!)
Here is the transliteration of the prayer's Hebrew: "Baruch atah YHVH, E-loheinu Melekh Ha-olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al S'firat Ha- yomime. Amain."
Here is the English translation: "Blessed are You, YHVH, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to count the days. Amen."
At the end of our prayer, we tear off the front page of a homemade calendar which contains that day's number in the count, and declare what number it is in the count. Since this is leading to the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) we also make it a point to "name" the number of the weeks each Shabbat as it rolls around, because we are not only counting days but weeks as well. Then we sup and study Scriptures after our meal. Each year our topic of Scripture study changes to whatever Yah puts on our hearts for that season. This year we are exploring entries in the Leningrad codex, where the name YHVH contains the all of the vowel pointers in it to see if there are any significant patterns or lessons to be learned there. This only occurs 49 times, so it seemed to beg for a Feast of Weeks study. Also, the name "YAH" (again with vowel pointers) appears exactly 50 times, so that too is being covered. On a personal growth level. Ben is going through the book The Exemplary Husband, by Steward Scott. (the workbook is linked because you can look through it) I am digging through my "godly women/mothering" books for freshened inspiration in my role, because it has been a while since I have done that! Hailey is continuing in her Bright Lights Studies with mom and topical words Studies using Nave's Topical Bible (she uses a print version - but this link is a free online version). Elijah is continuing in his Biblical topical words studies (as they are learning to develop Biblical Character traits) with Instructions in Righteousness and the concordance in the back of his favorite Bible for his reference tools. Papa and I together have written a "top 5 values" for our parenting focus. These are things in which we are going to use as our own guidelines in conduct to be sure we are being good examples in these areas and cultivating these characteristics in our family, as we all learn and grow to be better ambassadors for YHVH and try to represent His "name" well.
The Counting of Days adds a wonderful structure and purpose to our walk, that is so helpful (and needed!) for our family. We could simply choose count the 50 days all at once and mark our calendar and call it 'done', but instead, we choose to embrace it and use it help develop new disciplines or habits in our family to strengthen us for Him. However, it is our understanding that the ultimate purpose of counting the 50 days to Shavuot is primarily for that purpose: To get you to Shavuot. If you are a "destination focused" family or a "journey focused" one...either one fulfills the 'command' to count the days.
May Your Fruits Be Many and Sweet in the Year to Come!
Labels: Counting the Omer