A daily devotion for April 26th
The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
4 “‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: 5 The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. 7 On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. 8 For seven days present a food offering to the Lord. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’”
Offering the Firstfruits
9 The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. 12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb a year old without defect, 13 together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil—a food offering presented to the Lord, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. 14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
The Festival of Weeks
15 “‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord. 18 Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 19 Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. 20 The priest is to wave the two lambs before the Lord as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest. 21 On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
22 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’”
The Festival of Trumpets
23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.’”
The Day of Atonement
26 The Lord said to Moses, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. 28 Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. 29 Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. 30 I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”
The Festival of Tabernacles
33 The Lord said to Moses, 34 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. 35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. 36 For seven days present food offerings to the Lord, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the Lord. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work.
37 (“‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing food offerings to the Lord—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. 38 These offerings are in addition to those for the Lord’s Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the Lord.)
39 “‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest. 40 On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 Celebrate this as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters 43 so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”
44 So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed festivals of the Lord.
On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord's Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. Lev 23:6
Linked with the Passover was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It began on the fifteenth day, lasted seven days, then ended. This feast again looked back to Egypt, to the command God gave then that the Israelites clear all leaven from their houses. To this day, orthodox Jews meticulously do this in preparation for the Passover season.
Leaven is yeast. It is an apt symbol of that which in human lives tends to puff us up. That is what yeast does in bread — it makes it swell. There is something at work in us which makes us swell up, puff up. A doctor once told me,
The strangest thing about the human anatomy is that when you pat it on the back, the head swells up.
Why is that? There is a principle at work in us which drives us to be self-sufficient. You know how universal that tendency is.
Mother, please, I'd rather do it myself! We don't want any help. We don't even want to tell people our problems, to let them know that we are not sufficient in ourselves. We all have this tendency within us to want to protect our images and to look as if we've got it made and don't need help. If someone makes us mad by offering aid we tell them to:
I don't need you! That is leaven. It can take all kinds of forms. Jesus often spoke of leaven. He said,
Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1), i.e., pretending. We Christians do so much of that, don't we? Pretending we don't have any problems when we do. Pretending we're spiritual when we're not. Pretending we're joyful when we're unhappy and filled with misery inside. Pretending we tell the truth when we don't. That is hypocrisy, leaven which comes from this detestable aversion to admitting that we need some help.
Jesus spoke of the leaven of the Sadducees, which was rationalism, the denial of the supernatural, the feeling that everything can be explained by what you can see, taste, touch, smell, and feel, that there is no power beyond man and that man is sufficient to himself (Matt 16:5-12).
Our Lord spoke of the leaven of the Herodians (Mk 8:14-21), who were materialists. They lived for pleasure, for comfort and luxury, and for status and prestige and the favor of people. They had their ear to the ground to be able to manipulate and maneuver politically and thus to advance themselves.
That is what this feast is all about. Preceding it, through the Passover, God begins his work with the blood of the Lamb to protect us from his just wrath in order that we might learn to be freed from leaven.
Father, thank you that you are working in me through the death of Jesus, the Passover lamb, to rid me of leaven.
Life Application: Leaven is symbolic of attitudes which are antithetical to every aspect of a God-pleasing, fruitful discipleship. Are we open to identifying them, eager for renewal of mind and heart?
From your friends at www.RayStedman.org
Daily Devotion © 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.