Exodus 34:18 Those who partake of Jesus, the Unleavened Bread will give their lives unreservedly to serve God.
Exodus 34:18 Those who partake of Jesus, the Unleavened Bread will give their lives unreservedly to serve God
“You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.
The feast of the Unleavened Bread is celebrated together with the Passover feast. During the first Passover, after the Israelites had eaten the Passover lambs, God sent an angel to kill the firstborn son and animal in every house. However, the angel of death would passover the houses marked with blood sparing the firstborns within. Following the Passover feast is the feast of the Unleavened Bread which stretches for seven days.
The feasts are memorials to remind the people of God’s goodness and supernatural protection over them. In particular, the Unleavened Bread feast reminds the Israelites of how God delivered them from slavery. It encourages them to trust and obey God amid life’s challenges. At a deeper level, the unleavened bread symbolises the body of Jesus Christ. Those who partake of it will give their lives unreservedly to serve God just like Jesus did.
The Passover feast is followed by the Unleavened Bread feast which stretches seven days. During this period, homes are to be cleansed of yeast and no yeast can be used in making bread. And anyone who ate anything with yeast would be cut off from Israel. On the first and seventh days of the feast, the people are to gather for special Sabbath services. And no one is allowed to work during this period of seven days.
Here, God resets the calendar to reflect the redemption of Israel. And the first month is no longer based upon the old agricultural cycle. God appoints the month (Abib) when they are delivered from Egypt as the first month of the new calendar.
Those who partake of Jesus, the Unleavened Bread will give their lives unreservedly to serve God.
What immediately comes to mind every time the Israelites observe the Unleavened Bread feast?
It conjures within them a sense of great anticipation, for they are about to experience freedom; something which they have never experienced before. All that is possible because God is faithful to fulfil His promise made to Abraham. Indeed, God is always ready to deliver His people from sickness, poverty and oppression. However, we must be found at a place of complete trust and obedience to His directives. The trouble is we often want God to deliver us on our terms, not His.
At a deeper level, what does the Unleavened Bread feast teaches us?
The Unleavened Bread symbolises Jesus, His life and works. It teaches us to never stop growing in divine love and perfection as exemplified by Him. On the other hand, leaven symbolises sin and the devastation it brings as it spreads through its host, affecting the entire community. In the making of bread, a little of the previous day’s dough (which contains leaven) is preserved and deliberately mixed with current day’s dough. In this way, the leaven from the old dough may spread through the new dough causing it to rise. The Unleavened Bread feast teaches us that we must on a daily basis leave behind a little of our old self. Paul warns the Corinthians that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” And he exhorts them to “cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump.” Hence, we must continually rid ourselves of the old attitudes that we have grown so used to. These old attitudes may not be explicitly sinful. But they will stop us from entering God’s kingdom.
The leaven of the law.
Jesus said to His disciples, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” (See Matthew 16:6). Jesus is referring to those who uses the law to justify their self-serving ways. When Jesus asked the rich young man to sell his possessions to follow Him, the young man justified his unwillingness by citing his achievements in fulfilling the law. He said to Jesus, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said concerning him, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:23). The young man, who possessed the leaven of the Pharisees was not motivated by love for God or for others because he puts his interests first. Such do not give themselves fully to serve God. But they will fulfil a set of man-made laws believing that will earn them a place in the kingdom. However, God commanded us to love Him supremely and to love others as ourselves.
Many in the churches today possess the leaven of the law. While they are committed to attending church services and to offer their tithes, they are unwilling to go beyond the boundaries they have set for themselves. When asked to go the extra mile, they often say in their hearts, “Haven’t I done enough?” They compare themselves with others by saying, “Many are also behaving in the same way. Surely, I have done nothing wrong!” Jesus is the Unleavened Bread who gave His own life despite grave injustice. Those who partake of the Unleavened Bread will likewise do the same. They will give not just their time and resources, but their very lives in service for God and for others.
Ask God to reveal to you the leaven that lies hidden in your heart; the leaven of lethargy, and unwillingness to submit yourself fully to Him, to serve a need in the church or community.
Dear Lord, reveal to me my hidden leaven so that I may recognise who I am. Cause me to love you more and to give more of myself to serve the community. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.