Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.” Exodus 12:15-20
This year has been crazy for me as far as the spring feasts go. I feel as though I didn’t really have time to plan at all. I went on a trip with my daughter and her high school band, and came back home with only two days to catch up on housework and prepare. As I was rushing around preparing for the Week of Unleavened Bread, I couldn’t help but see the parallels of getting the leavening out of our houses to getting sin out of our lives.
The diligent will turn their houses upside down at this time. (I wouldn’t be surprised if this is where the idea of spring cleaning comes from.) The idea is to get rid of any crumb of leavening that may be in your home – leavening itself and the foods you find leavening in. Every year, without fail, I end up missing something – whether it be a loaf of bread I forgot was in the freezer or a box of pop tarts my son bought that I didn’t realize contained leavening. This year, I realized I had never considered cleaning out the car. We eat in it all the time. There is bound to be leavening in that thing. How much is our spiritual lives like this? Often times, we have sin in our own lives that we can’t even see. Maybe it’s because we have been involved in these sins for so long that we don’t recognize them. Maybe we are so busy pointing out others’ sins that we don’t see our own. (Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5) As we are diligent to remove leavening from every area of our homes, we are to remove sins from every area of our lives.
So far, each year I have learned about another something that was used as leavening in ancient times. This is added to the list of things that I remove from my house. I have also learned to check ingredients in any packaged food that might be in the house. If we are doing our best to understand YHVH and His desires for His creation, we will also be in a continuous cycle of learning what sins are and removing them from our lives. For me, the year of 2016 has been a major focus in how I treat others and what I think about them. It has become a year of changing my heart to truly love my neighbors – not just going through the actions. I have learned that many of the things that I thought were ok, because maybe I was acting out of zealousness for YHVH, not only hurt my neighbors, but hurt the reputation of my God too. Don’t ever let yourself become stagnant in your studies and in changing yourself into the image of YHVH. Check your own ingredient list. Is there something that needs to be removed that you haven’t seen yet?