While most of my blog focuses on healthy, tasty recipes, I do have a spiritual side I like to share now and then. This post is about some valuable lessons I’ve learned from keeping the Appointed Times of my Heavenly Father – specifically, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. If you’d like to learn more about what I believe and how I came to believe that way, you can read about My Faith here.
Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread have long been thought of as only Jewish holidays.
I used to think so too, until YHWH (God) began to open my eyes to understand that He only has one set of family rules. As a believer in Yeshua (Jesus), I am “grafted in” to His family tree.
So, I have chosen to follow the family rules as outlined in YHWHs own word, the Torah, which means so much more than just “law” as it’s usually translated. It means teaching, guidelines and instructions and it shows us how to live set-apart (holy) lives before YHWH and how to live in peace with each other.
The first Passover was a foreshadowing, a picture of the death and resurrection of our Messiah.
After this first Passover YHWHs people were then commanded to eat unleavened bread for seven days and to observe the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread from then on. We are commanded to remove the leaven (chametz, or fermented grain…often thought of as yeast) from our homes in preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
I use this as my Facebook cover photo during this Feast. Feel free to download and use it on your profile!
18From the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty-first day, you are to eat matzah.19During those seven days, no leaven is to be found in your houses. Whoever eats food with hametz in it is to be cut off from the community of Isra’el – it doesn’t matter whether he is a foreigner or a citizen of the land. -Exodus 12:18-19
Now, before you envision some kind of perfect, frenzied “spring cleaning” kind of scenario, just let me say this…
I do my best to clean my home for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I can almost guarantee that it won’t all get done. Or that it won’t be done perfectly.
Honestly, throwing out food is hard for me to do.
Since leaven represents sin, I struggle a bit with giving it to someone else who does not observe Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I’ve thought about putting some things (like sourdough starter) outside of my home for the Feast, like in our shed…but then I think that’s like temporarily stopping a sin just for the Feast and then bringing it back into our lives again when it’s over.
As with many things we do in the natural (like cleaning), there are some spiritual counterparts.
This year, I realized Scripture clearly says to not only remove leaven from our homes but all our borders as well. The spiritual counterpart here is removing sin from our lives completely, not setting it aside temporarily in order to appear holy.
7Matzah is to be eaten throughout the seven days; neither hametz nor leavening agents are to be seen with you throughout your territory. -Exodus 13:7
As I cleaned this year in preparation for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, I saw many natural representations of sin and the importance of removing it from our lives completely. Here are just seven of those lessons.
1. No matter how much you clean, there’s always more dirt.
No surprise here, that’s for sure! I have kids…one of whom is a seven year old boy. We have a dog. Chickens. And my husband has a dirty job so yeah, there’s always dirt around here.
Boy (n); A noise with dirt on it
It was a perfect object lesson for my fourteen year old daughter, who asked (exasperatedly) “We have to sweep like this AGAIN in a few days? What’s the point?”
The point is, dear daughter, that just like dirt sin has a tendency to accumulate if you don’t stay on top of it. It’s not a take-care-of-it-once-and-never-have-to-deal-with-it-again kind of deal. And if you do a halfway job on a regular basis, there comes a day of reckoning when all the dirt…or sin…you missed has to be cleaned up and taken out of the camp.
Many thanks to our dog, Chloe, for also contributing to the object lesson. Particularly the one about doing a halfway job and the day of reckoning…can anyone say ginormous furballs in places that should have been swept by my dear daughter on a regular basis?
2. We can easily become blind to dirt. And sin.
While I was cleaning a glider rocker in my living room, this one really hit home. I had cleaned this chair less than a year ago when we moved. I thought I had cleaned it well, only to discover a thick layer of dust/dirt/grime in places I had apparently never thought to look at before.
Isn’t it also like that with our hearts? How many times have we not even seen sin in our hearts and lives because we never thought to look? You know, those deep, dark corners hidden away out of view. The ones no one sees…not even you?
Yet, the Father sees them. And when you finally become aware of them, you have two choices…clean them up or continue on blindly.
How often do we do the latter because the former seems to difficult? I almost didn’t clean those parts for just that reason…but once that realization hit me, I knew I needed to choose to clean it even if no one but me ever even knows.
3. How did THAT get there?
If I had a dime for every time I’ve said that recently…but that just reminded me of how easily sin can sneak into our hearts and minds.
It’s almost like that mysterious little green man that lives in your house and loses remotes, breaks things, puts dirty socks in the toys and leaves the refrigerator door open and the lights on. His name is Nobody at my house. Nobody knows how it happened. Nobody did it.
And yet, it happened. Just like with sin…you find yourself sometimes just going “how did that happen?” Or “how did that get there (in my heart/mind)?”
It happens because we get busy with our lives. We don’t pay attention. And sometimes, we just don’t even know – which is the whole purpose of the “law”, to show us what sin actually is.
7 Therefore, what are we to say? That the Torah is sinful? Heaven forbid! Rather, the function of the Torah was that without it, I would not have known what sin is. For example, I would not have become conscious of what greed is if the Torah had not said, “Thou shalt not covet.” -Romans 7:7
4. We can never clean perfectly.
The perfectionist in me struggles with this one. Why bother if it can’t be done perfectly? But if we take the same attitude toward keeping the Father’s commands, then we won’t do any of them…because we can’t do them perfectly.
There’s nothing we can do on our own strength that will cleanse us perfectly either. Only the blood of Messiah Yeshua can do that.
I was reminded over and over of this these past many days. I do the best I can with the best of intentions, and yet continually fall short. But that doesn’t keep me from doing my best to live as YHWH has outlined in his Torah, and I am continually blessed with understanding as I walk, in faith, in the ways of my heavenly Father.
Cleaning our hearts is a dirty job, but it’s got to be done!
5. Our sin affects more than just ourselves.
While sweeping under our kitchen cabinets, I found a blue pacifier. It was left behind by the previous occupants of our home. It reminded me that our sinful choices and actions leave behind consequences that can, and often do, affect those around us. Sometimes those consequences last for a lifetime, and can cause those we love tremendous pain.
My stove top also reinforced this lesson. I have an electric stove, so I was able to remove the burners and drip pans to clean them well. Under one of the drip pans on the stove top was a small, burnt-on spot that no amount of scrubbing would remove.
6. There’s no reason to clean THERE…or is there?
My wise, 14 year old daughter pointed this one out to me. I remarked that I wasn’t moving the refrigerator to clean under it because I was running out of time and “I’m sure there isn’t any chametz under there, I don’t know how it would get there anyway.”
Besides, it had been way less than a year since we moved the old fridge out and put this one in and I cleaned very well then. She said “That’s kind of how we think sometimes about cleaning our hearts. We think that there wouldn’t be sin there so we don’t even bother looking.”
It is such a blessing to hear my children speak such wisdom!
7. What my wise, self-cleaning oven taught me.
I just want to send a shout-out to the Engineers at GE for inventing the self-cleaning oven.
Cleaning an oven is no fun…it’s a hard, dirty job. It’s also one of those easily overlooked cleaning chores. The self-cleaning cycle is three hours of 500 degree heat, burning up and reducing any food particles inside to ash.
It was certainly time to run the self-cleaning cycle on my oven again and so I did. It reminded me that sometimes, to remove the sin from our lives, we need to go through some pretty intense heat.
Sometimes, that can take a long time.
Burning myself on the lock several times (it sticks out a bit and I kept bumping the metal part of it somehow) reminded me that the process is often painful.
And when it’s all over, there’s a pile of ash left inside that has to be cleaned out and removed.
So it often is with those hard, crusty, baked on sins in our hearts.
The ones that are hard to remove because they are so ingrained in us. They can only be removed by the fire of purification. It’s a long, painful process and when it’s all done there’s a pile of ash to be swept up and removed. It’s a humbling process, but necessary if we’re going to be like Christ.
I am so thankful for the loving grace of my Heavenly Father who freely forgives.
It is humbling indeed to be reminded of how much and how often I miss the mark, in spite of my best intentions. And to think upon how Yeshua had to suffer and die in my place…to remove the stain of my sin…is overwhelming.
These lessons learned this year while cleaning for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread have been a blessing. I’m also thankful that YHWH uses ordinary things in our natural world to teach and remind us of His ways and principles for living.
His Torah is not bondage! Having guidelines and rules by which to live bring joy and freedom as we do what YHWH said to do to live lives set-apart for Him.
13Therefore, get your minds ready for work, keep yourselves under control, and fix your hopes fully on the gift you will receive when Yeshua the Messiah is revealed.14As people who obey God, do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires you used to have when you were still ignorant.15On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life;16since the Tanakh says, “You are to be holy because I am holy.” -1 Peter 13:16
Do you keep Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread? How have you been blessed by keeping these Appointed Times of our Heavenly Father?
Be Sure to Pin this Post to Your Favorite Pinterest Boards!