When you were a child I bet you counted down the days to your birthday, the last day of school, or to your favorite vacation. The thing about a countdown (or in this case a count up) is not so much in the days themselves, but in the expectation of the thing you are waiting on. The establishing of a countdown marks the importance of the upcoming event, and so when God tells us in His word to count something, it should be a sign to us of a significant event coming.
In fact, all throughout His word He marks important events in this very way. There are so many countdowns throughout scripture because the Lord is a God of great hope and expectation. He tells Abraham to count the stars in order to convey the significance and magnitude of the covenant given to him and his descendants. God tells Noah it will be 7 more days until the floods come so that He can prepare his family to enter the ark of salvation. In Psalm 90 we are told to number our days in order to gain wisdom that we may be ready for the coming of the Lord. And in Matthew Jesus tells us the number of days Jonah was in the belly of the whale will be the countdown to determine when He will rise from the dead.
This idea of expectancy, of drawing near to God, is the very thing that sets his appointed times apart from all the other days of the year. In fact, creation itself was ordered in a countdown to the7th day culminating in the Sabbath rest.
Counting the Omer, or the 7 weeks between Passover and Pentecost (or Shavuot), is another important countdown of expectation in His word. I would put it up there right next to Abraham’s counting of the stars because it too is a countdown to covenant.
This project is designed with covenant family at it’s heart. So the tags that mark each day of the Omer count have pictures of the character traits or names of God that your children or grandchildren can color before displaying them in your home. And the verses that accompany each tag (you will find in the printable/digital) guide below are meant to be read aloud at your table each day so that everyone can participate in drawing near to the Father.
The idea is that with each passing day of the Omer count we will gain a greater understanding of his name, character, and heart. It reminds me of the courting process, and how we seek with diligence to get to know the one we love and are committing ourselves to. On the50th day (Pentecost/Shavuot) you will have a banner of His love hanging over you in your home declaring His character for all to see. We pray it is a blessing to your family, and may we each draw near as we count these days with expectation!
For a deeper dive into the meaning, signifance, and covenant aspects of Counting the Omer you can read more below:
When we look at this time between Passover and Pentecost, in both the old and new testaments, we see the same pattern. In the covenant at Mount Sinai we go from the Grace of Salvation via the blood of the Lamb upon the door to entering into covenant with the King via his words of instruction on the mountain. And then reiterated in the new covenant we go from His blood shed on the cross for remission of sins to his seal of the Holy Spirit poured out in his people on the day of Pentecost. It is and has always been moving from His supernatural work on our behalf to our inward participation with Him in this covenant relationship, and that is worth counting down to.
An Israelite on that very first Passover would have huddled inside their home holding their firstborn tight, believing by faith in the mercy of God to pass over and deliver all of their house into freedom. They would have journeyed out of Egypt and seen His miraculous hand of deliverance through the days that followed. They would have gathered with family at the foot of the mountain with great fear and expectancy after those 50 days. But then His voice would have spoken through the thunder, and midst the fear and trembling each one would have to hear their Savior and King with their own ears. The covenant made on the mountaintop of Sinai was both to a people and to each one individually. Each person had the opportunity to enter into covenant with their maker, to marry the one they were made for at the mountain, or to turn from Him to their own ways.
Likewise, the disciples reclining around the table with Jesus at the last supper would have eaten the bread of his body, and drunk the wine of his blood as the 12 whom he had chosen. They would have mourned his death, asked the hard questions, and then seen the resurrected Jesus together in community. But after His ascension, they would need more than a communal experience with their Savior and coming King. That is why he told them at his ascension into heaven that it would be better for them. Because His going, would usher in the helper, the holy spirit, who would physically and spiritually dwell in them. This would be a very personal carrying of the covenant. It would internalize the intimate communion with the Savior. And become the hope of glory, Christ in us, and us in Him.
This is the expectancy we have, remember, and celebrate when we count the omer. It is the process of drawing near, coming in, and getting to know with expectancy the one we love and serve. It is a time of preparation for His indwelling, year after year, he gives us the opportunity to renew ourselves, cleanse ourselves, and better prepare ourselves for Him. Ultimately this points us to the longing and preparation of his bride making herself without spot or wrinkle for His final return to dwell once again with His people. These 50 days in many respects could be seen as the final countdown to the marriage supper with the lamb, and be given, in His great mercy, for us to count towards Him and our covenant relationship with Him thus making ourselves ready for his return and rescue.
This is the heart and essence of this Omer countdown project. Each day of counting is a chance to see and hear a different character trait of God. Though He is holy and outside our realm of understanding, through His word He has given us many ways of seeing and experiencing him that we can relate to. Each of the 50 days there is a tag with one of these traits outlined with a description and picture. The tag will correlate to a day in the printed guide that has two scriptures one from both the old testament and the new testament outlining the description of God. This two witness approach is so important as we see that God is never changing, and to truly know him and draw near we need to see him through the whole counsel of His word.