January 29, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.”—Exodus 12:17 (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love bread! I think all carbs are pretty delicious, but bread is especially delicious because there are many different kinds and many different things you could do with it. There are also many references to bread in the Bible, and Jesus even calls Himself the “bread of life” to explain that He is the only one who can completely satisfy us (John 6:35).
Now I want you to picture your favorite type of bread. Maybe it’s baguette bread, dinner rolls, the delicious bread from Cheesecake Factory, or my personal favorite, Cuban bread. Most of these breads have something very important in common: yeast! Yeast is the ingredient in most breads that causes it to rise by releasing carbon dioxide and trapping it in the stretchy and expandable dough.
When we read today’s Scripture and the surrounding verses, we see God talk about bread as well! He is specifically instructing the Israelites on what to do during their first Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread. This first Passover would take place in Egypt as the final plague in God’s plan to free His people. Tomorrow’s text will cover more specifics on what would happen during Passover, but today we’ll focus on the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
Unleavened bread is bread baked without the yeast, like what we just talked about! God instructed them not to make it with yeast because it would take too long to rise and bake, and the Israelites would be limited in time once the door opened for them to leave Egypt. In order to remember God’s faithfulness and their necessity to rely on Him, they would celebrate with eating unleavened bread all throughout the entire month of the Passover celebration for generations to come.
Many similar Jewish traditions and celebrations were instituted by God with the same intent: remembering His character and faithfulness to an undeserving people! That’s why they would also celebrate Pentecost after Passover to commemorate them making it out of Egypt to Mount Sinai.
This parallels our celebrations of Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday, and Christmas. Even beyond these major holidays; however, we should take from the Old Testament and practice regularly celebrating as a community of believers the goodness of God in our lives. For the Israelites, they would also do this on a weekly basis during Sabbath. Now, we can continue that tradition with how we attend, serve, and commune with our church family!
Just like the Lord said to celebrate because He brought their divisions out of Egypt, we can celebrate because He has brought us out of the bonds of darkness and evil!
Pause: Have you made it a habit to commemorate and celebrate God and His faithfulness in your life?
Practice: Take a few minutes today to celebrate God and thank Him for who He is and all He has done. Commit to going to church this weekend if you were not already planning on it, and try to dedicate a time this week to fellowship and praise God with your friends or family, perhaps even with some “unleavened bread.”
Pray: Father God, thank You for being so radically gracious and loving! Thank You for making a way when there is no way, and for reminding me to celebrate and look back. I look back on all the times You were faithful to me, Jesus, and I praise You. May I make it a habit of mine to daily and weekly celebrate and honor You because You are so worthy! Help me to look at tangible things in this world and be reminded of You! Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.