There is no right or wrong way to study the Bible; yet following a pattern can help us find gold in the stories. Finding these treasures will help us apply truth to our own lives.
The Background of the Omer
A friend wants to tell you a story; she begins with, “First, let me tell you the background to this.” Sometimes it helps to understand a person or an event by understanding the background. As we learn to understand the meaning behind the phrases and events in scripture, we translate that for our living today.
An omer was a biblical unit of measure for dry grain. (Exodus 16:16) While exact measurements vary, an omer was approximately two quarts. An omer was one tenth of an ephah (23 liters).
During their wilderness travels, one omer per day was God’s provision of manna for each Israelite. It was what God felt they needed, and it was enough for each day. The first five days of the week, each person daily gathered an omer of manna. However, in preparation for the Sabbath, on the sixth day they gathered twice as in the four previous days. This was also God’s provision. He provided enough on the sixth day so that they would not need to gather manna on the seventh day and thus disobey His command to honor the Sabbath.
Enough for Today
In our study of the Word of God, we daily need spiritual nourishment. When we pursue His goodness, we will find that it is enough. In studying the stories in the scriptures, we can find the “omers” of God’s goodness. The problem is taking the time to dig deep into the stories, instead of just skimming through them. It’s not enough to read the Bible through in a year. While that plan helps us get an overview of God’s plan, it doesn’t provide spiritual nourishment that we need daily in life.
I find more spiritual nourishment when I follow a devotional plan that isn’t set in concrete for specific days. This is because I have less time on some days than others. When I’ve used a devotional that is specified by the day, I end up feeling guilty when I get behind, then I hurry to catch up! You know what that does? It makes me totally miss the message in the scriptures because I am merely skimming instead of gleaning. Choosing a devotional study that allows me to spend more or less time in each day makes it easier to savor each bite – sometimes responding to only one question because there’s so much to digest or not enough time on that day. The next day, I begin where I stopped the day before.
The Struggle is Real
This gal does not have it all together, I assure you. I struggle. For me, there is no claim to fame in never missing a day of quiet time with God. Nor can I vouch for at least fifteen minutes in prayer each day. I can’t claim I’ve never missed a day of Bible reading. Yep. In my sixties, and I still don’t have this together.
There are days I’ve sat at my kitchen table with my coffee, Bible, devotional book, and highlighters and pens. I’ve spent time praying and journaling for an hour or more. Other days? Other days I’m doing good to have ten minutes of alone time with God. It’s not His fault; it’s mine.
This I know: when I take the time to read and study what God says, I get insight and strength. God speaks to me when I take the time to listen. Sometimes I go back and re-read my thoughts and journals, and I know the things I wrote came from the mind of God – because that writing is “not me.” That’s especially when I realize God was speaking to me, even though I might not have recognized it at the time.
Omer Examples in the Bible
The stories in scripture are full of “omer goodness”, but we must choose to take the time to gather the manna that is there for us. We are to be vessels that God uses to fill others. Empty vessels are worthless in the Kingdom. An older woman, criticized for using her energy to reach out (at her age!) to her community, kept pouring herself out to others. She told me, “I’d like nothing better at the end of my life than to know that I am worn out from doing Kingdom work.” That’s my goal.
God wants to fill us so that He can use us. If we are empty, we have nothing to give, nothing to pour out, nothing to be spend. Whether it’s with our church, community, work, or family, we can’t give if we’re empty. Empty is not a good place to be!
Ephesians 5:18-21 tells us to be filled with the Spirit, making melody in our heart to God, giving thanks to Him, and submitting to each other. When we are filled, we can be poured out and that should make us glad. (Phil. 2:17)
What examples in Scripture do you know of empty vessels that were filled and used by God? If you’ve never studied the Bible, this is a good way to get started. We will look at some examples right from scripture. If you call yourself empty, take heart. You don’t need strength for tomorrow. All you need is enough manna for today. Learn how to find and gather that manna!