I wonder what this is about? Are you focused on proper deleavening? Well, many of you reading my blogs and hearing our sermons, know we keep the Passover instead of Easter, and we observe the 7 Days of Unleavens – or unleavened bread, and Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles and the 8th day after the Feast of Tabernacles.
Right now many will be “deleavening” or will soon be starting to put out leavened products from our homes – our dwellings. And you’ll feel good about that, maybe even smug. Why? Some of you started so early. Some of you will keep 8-9-10 or more days of unleavened bread, because you want to be so sure all leaven is out DAYS before Passover. But if so, have you missed the point?
And you do it because we’re told to by God himself to do so, and even the mostly Gentile Corinthians, from a pagan background, were obviously keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. And they weren’t Jewish. Paul clearly discusses the Passover in 1 Corinthians 5 and 11. In chapter 11 he speaks of remembering the bread the and cup of wine that Yeshua offered at his Passover, saying the unleavened bread was his body and the cup and its contents represented “the new covenant in my blood”. We keep the Passover because it was kept by Yeshua and Christians long after -- and because it was what inaugurated the new covenant!
Let’s read it. Then we’ll get to the thought-provoking point of this blog. And again, remember, if this was just for the Jews, then why were the mostly pagan Corinthians keeping these days as well. Let’s read it – words spoken to a predominantly Gentile congregation. But I FEAR that many are missing the POINT of the deleavening process!
1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 6-8 --- “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles — that a man has his father's wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. …
6 Your glorying -- not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us KEEP THE FEAST, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened sincerity and truth.”
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 -- “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of ME.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.”
Exodus 12:14-16 --- 'So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to YHVH throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat — that only may be prepared by you.”
All these holydays are listed in Leviticus 23 – and in Lev 23:1-3, Almighty God calls them “the Feasts of YHVH” – not the feasts of the Jews, not the feasts of Israel, but Feasts of YHVH.
Leavened bread in the Bible was usually a picture of sin in most places, though not always. (Even the Kingdom of God, for example, is pictured as leaven in the sense that once it began to do its work, it will spread and someday fill the whole earth—Matthew 13:33). But usually, leavened bread is picturing the work of sin and how it can deceive one and spread.
So – like sin – as we deleaven, we think of how leaven can hide in so many products. Do all the cereals we have – like Cheerios -- have leaven? How about those fruit/nut bars (yes)? Hmm, Grape Nuts in the cereal bin – oh yes. Leavened. So we begin to carefully go through the cupboards and fridge and freezer and look for anything – breads, ice cream bars and ice cream cones, and crackers, and frozen baked goods that we have to consume before the Unleavens begin. We lay them out for all to see, so they’re used up. What’s not used up is thrown away. In the same way, we think about how sin can be hiding in our lives in areas we don’t even think about much – but should be!
We make to-do lists so we don’t forget to clean out the toaster, to empty or replace the vacuum cleaner bags. Oh yes, the cars need to be carefully cleaned out and vacuumed out. We get way down between the seats. We pull the couches apart and vacuum way down and find old missing toys, a half-eaten piece of toast and - maybe – even some money. But keep the money, it’s not leavened.
You get the point.
Now in deleavening, we humans love to see the fruit of our labor. I said “OUR labor”. We like to weed or mow the lawn because it feels so good to see that we accomplished something. After painting a room, we can see what we’ve done, and it feels good. Same thing with Deleavening. We like spending oodles of time of deleavening – even 2-3-4 weeks – because it makes us feel good, like we’re being righteous or something. We can see the results of our work. But IS THAT the real point of deleavening? Beware, lest you miss the point of the exercise.
We love “Do it yourself” (DIY) projects, but we can’t do a DIY salvation, and we really can’t put sin totally out of our lives ourselves. We simply can’t. Not as long as we are flesh and blood. The SPIRIT is willing, but the flesh is weak. Therefore we still sometimes do what we don’t want to do – as Paul explains in Romans 7 and Galatians 5. But nonetheless, we do our best to put sin (leaven) out of our lives and homes.
Some of you start this process 3-4 weeks before Passover. But is that what we should be doing? Is it possible we end up trying to be more righteous than GOD? If you read Exodus 12:15, God himself allotted the Israelites ONE DAY to deleaven. ONE DAY. Let that sink in. But we’ve turned it into a full-fledged spring cleaning and by the time Passover actually arrives, many of you are worn out! Surely you can admit that. And yet it’s true, we’re told to have no leavened food in our homes for 7 days.
Exodus 13:6-8 -- “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to YHVH. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters. 8 And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what YHVH did for ME when I came up from Egypt.'
Now we ourselves will take more than a day but not much more. We will carefully remove what leaven we have in our homes. But THAT won’t be my focus. THAT is not where I will put my energy. What IS my focus? What is YOURS?
Click here on “Continue reading” to get the wakeup call we all need right now.