I've been reflecting a lot on the promises of God lately, wondering... What are they? Do they really apply to me? Can they really still be relevant today? The easy spiritual answer is "Yes! Of course;" but to be honest - my mind argues no, while my heart simply hopes it to be so.
That being said, in my traipsing along, I stumbled over an interesting treasure that seemed good enough to post in the public arena: the omer. The omer is one of those cryptic Old Testament units of measurement lost in modern translation. For those who simply MUST know, an omer equals one tenth of an ephah (Exodus 16:36). If that doesn't help, it would measure roughly 3.64 liters today.
More importantly, an omer is the amount of manna allotted daily for the Israelites in the wilderness. In other words, an omer is quite literally the amount of one's "daily bread." In Jewish tradition, a practice called "counting the omer" marked the sacred days between Passover and Pentecost (when God appeared at Sinai). For Christians, Pentecost took on new meaning in Acts 2 with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit - but as with most beautiful Christian traditions, Pentecost didn't start with us. For those noting your calendar, we are in the middle of this season right now. This year being a lunar leap year, Passover (last supper) landed way after Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday - but I digress (again).
The point is, both Old Testament and New, there was a period of waiting between God's activity and the fulfillment of His promises. For Israel, this was marked between their deliverance from Egypt and His presence revealed on Mt. Sinai. For Christians, this period was the empty tomb (deliverance from sin and death) to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all people. Both of these are tracked by "counting the omers." Maybe to break the cycle of cynicism or depression, we should start counting our omers.
I say this for 2 reasons (now I am not an expert linguist, but my rudimentary understanding of Hebrew led me to stumble across this):
1) The way I read it, word omer also means "promise." A promise is always sent ahead. If that is the case, God has not only promised our daily bread, but his daily provision is how we should count our days. While we should pray "give us this day our daily bread," each day we are counting on His promises. He gives us just enough to get us through - a foretaste of what is to come. Each day is one step closer to its fulfillment, the delay between His activity (It is finished) and its revelation in our lives. In this way, we do not live on bread alone, but on the very word - His promises - sustaining our every breathe.
2) Notice that this word has the same root, the same meaning as "speech" and even "to say." I truly believe this is because God is good for His word. His word and His promises are one in the same. God says ("wayomer") in Genesis, and it was so. His WORD never returns void! The waiting space in between is simply a promise, which we should count on until it comes to pass. Isaiah 55:11 "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." He doesn't need to pledge, swear, or use religious babble. God's yes is yes and His no is no. No ifs and buts or maybes. This sacred space between "Let there be" and "and there was" simply measures to be about... "an omer."
To the Lord, a thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:8) or like a watch of the night (Psalm 90:4). So whatever season you are in, you can trust in His promises - found all throughout His Word. If the Lord has said it, it is already done - it is only a matter of time.
Lord I pray you would "teach us to number our days" (Psalm 90:12) by counting omers. Make our days count, as we count on your promises, which are the same yesterday, today, and forever.