Out of darkness
Torah Portion: Emor (Speak) Vayikra/Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 44:15-31
Today we read a very important section of Torah. This portion begins in chapter 21 of Leviticus. Here we read verses about the requirements for a priest of G-d as he lives out his life in the service of G-d. We also have a listing of the holidays celebrated by the people dedicated to G-d.
I would like to begin with a few words about the biblical holidays covered in this portion. First I want us to spend some time talking about the counting of the Omer. I would like to begin by reading the blessing for this the 28th day of the Omer count. “Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to count the Omer. Today is day 28, four weeks of the Omer.” At sundown tonight we will count day 29, working our way to one of the major holidays of Shavuot. In English Shavuot means weeks. This counting of 49 days ties Passover directly to Shavuot. Remember, the grain offering brought to the Temple each day during this time of the Omer was barley. On the holiday of Shavuot the offering brought would be the first fruits of the wheat harvest. So from Passover until Shavuot the only grain available was barley, a course unrefined grain. Then on Shavuot the more refined grain of wheat was brought before the L-rd as the offering.
I want us to spend some time talking about this cycle of holidays and see what we can learn about G-d’s calendar and what we can find that will give us insight into the spiritual lessons G-d is giving us in His calendar. G-d’s spiritual calendar speaks exactly to us and our walk as His people. Lev.23:1
To what can we compare Passover in our personal walk? Passover celebrates Israel’s freedom from the slavery of Egypt. When we look at our own walk of faith, this holiday ties into our salvation experience. This is the time G-d came into our lives and rescued us from the grip of sin. At the time of our rescue by our Heavenly Father we began a walk, a training period in this new life learning what being freed from the slavery of sin would mean to us. Our questions would be, how are we to live? What should our life reflect each day as we grow in our faith? This period of time is reflected in the counting of the Omer.
This counting brings us to Shavuot. During the holiday of Shavuot the Holy Spirit fell on the believers as they waited together in Jerusalem. The gift of the spirit enabled the believers to move forward in their faith pointing them toward the next upcoming holiday of Succoth. For us also the indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives us direction to move into a deeper walk of faith.
As we arrive at the next holiday of Succoth we symbolically celebrate G-d’s faithfulness in our maturity as believers by sitting in His presence in our booths recalling G-d’s faithfulness to the children of Israel and His watch care over us.
This time of counting the Omer that we are presently in is to be celebrated each day for 49 days. These days are an important time of growing in our faith, learning all we can about who we are and what G-d expects from us in our life. 11.These 49 days are special for another reason. This period covers all the time Yeshua was with His disciples on this earth after His resurrection. As we count, think of this time as being a special time with the Messiah. This can be a time when He speaks to us about our life and His plans for each phase of our life leading up to that time when we sit with Him in the eight nights of Succoth.
However, the lessons will begin again in the next cycle of G-d’s calendar, lest we forget or become complacent in our walk with Him. What a wonderful blessing we have in these biblical holidays and what order G-d brings to our lives through His life-giving time table!
My question of the week ties into this cycle of time in that it reminds us of who we are as G-d’s children and how we are to live each day. What does it mean to us to live each day as a spiritual priest of G-d as we read in I Peter 2:9? When we read these verses in our Torah portion we understand a priest must be in a holy state before he can bring an offering before the L-rd. Lev. 21:1-4 He must be clean before he brings an offering of a penitent before the L-rd. He must be clean from anything that would contaminate him such as a dead body or other things that would render him unclean. As I considered this I read I Peter 2:9, “But you are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
This idea speaks to each of us today. We are not to profane the name of G-d. We, as G-d’s people, G-d’s priests, are the only picture of G-d many people will ever see. We must not profane the name of G-d. This relates to how we live each day, not only the words that come from our mouth. As believers, we must be different. This is our daily goal. We are to glorify the name of Him who saved us and purchased us with the blood of His Son.
Bless each of you this week as you live out your lives as priests of G-d in this hurting world.