1. Normally, when one counts in excitement toward an anticipated day, he tends to count downward. Why did Chazal institute that the days leading up to Matan Torah be counted in ascending order?Perhaps the message is as follows. A “countdown” implies that the time before the anticipated date is merely a “waiting game”. Nothing practical is being done in preparation. Conversely, when one prepares efficiently for an upcoming event, each day represents one more floor of a well-structured building. The idea of Sefirah is not towait for Shavuos, but to actively prepare for it. Thus, counting upward is entirely appropriate.
  2. When the Jewish People left Mitzrayim they were on spiritual level # – 49. By the time of Matan Torah, they had reached level # + 49. As the difference between – 49 and + 49 is 98, they should have required 98 days to prepare for Shavuos! How did they do it in half the time?I forget from whom, but I once heard the following answer. There are two ways to destroy one’s evil inclination. One can fight it or one can channel it. If one fights it, he must then replace it with something positive, and the job takes twice as long. The Bnei Yisrael, on the other hand, took the impurities of Miztrayim and transformed them into forces of Kedusha. On each day they managed to simultaneously exit one level of Tumah, as well as to enter its corresponding level of Kedusha.

Rabbi Yehuda Oppenheimer