One of the most well-known traditions of Passover is the removal of the yeast. In Exodus, when God commands Israel to prepare for their flight from Egypt, he tells them to remove all yeast from their homes.
When I first read that passage my mind went to rolls and loaves of bread, and you think ok, that’s easy enough. So I have to throw away a half-eaten loaf or two of bread, English muffins, or maybe some frozen pancakes. No biggie.
Then I heard how Jews, all over the world, rid their houses of vast amounts of yeast products, and then, they dust, sweep, mop and continue to search with a feather for any remaining yeast. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have NEVER cleaned my house with a feather. Nor would I consider it the most efficient method.
A few months passed and I stumbled upon a recipe for sourdough bread, including how to make sourdough starter. Pretty simple: you place flour and sugar in a jar with some water and a cheesecloth over the top. After a very little time, yeast from their air is attracted to the flour and sugar and it passes through the cheesecloth and begins a process of fermentation that we know as leavening.
“WHAT?! The yeast is floating in the air!” I thought indignantly, feeling the shame of failure in my efforts to remove yeast from my home! “No feather, no sweeping, no mopping, no amount of cleaning I could ever do can rid my home of all yeast. It just can’t!”
And then, I understood. But, GOD!
For 4,000 years since Israel was rescued from slavery in Egypt, Jews all over the world have been sweeping with a blasted feather trying to rid their homes of yeast, and they can never get it all. Never!
Now unless you know that yeast, all throughout the Bible, is a metaphor for sin you probably think, who really cares! But as soon as you realize that yeast represents sin, this matters!
You see God commanded Israel to rid themselves of yeast, to clean their homes and remove ALL yeast, yet they were doomed to failure. Yeast is everywhere and it is microscopic so you’ll never be able to see it all or remove it all, and as soon as you think you did, some more flies in with the breeze. And that is why Jesus matters!
I can’t be perfect – not for a week, not for a day, not for an hour. I sin constantly. I sin in ways that I can’t even see. I cannot escape my own sinful nature and as soon as I think I have, some more sin blows in with the breeze.
But Jesus! On our own, we are sinful no matter how hard we try. But Jesus, our Passover Lamb, is the perfect final sacrifice. While we cannot cleanse ourselves righteous, Jesus can wash us in His blood. And that’s the story of Passover, after all. The yeast will always be there, but we are covered in His blood and made clean.
This Passover season, whether you choose to physically remove yeast from your home or not, consider areas, where there may be hidden sin that has blown into your life lately. Seek it out and rid yourself of it. Repent and be made clean.
While nothing you can do will make you fully clean, God clearly commands us to rid ourselves of sin and choose obedience going forward. I encourage you to think about areas where sin might be hiding in your life, to repent, and allow His cleansing power in your life.
Have you ever cleaned the yeast out of your house before? Have you received any positive experiences as a result? Will you attempt to clean the yeast from your home as a practice this Passover, to learn from this spiritual metaphor? Tell me in comments below!
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