Warmer days. Cool nights. Brown turning to green. Vibrant colors bursting through the green. These all point to the season of Spring. Green and color representing fresh, new growth everywhere we look. The smell of fresh blossoms is in the air around us. And with it comes the excitement of a fresh start.
Spring. Just the word brings pictures to our minds of opening up the windows, letting fresh air in, while we sweep away the dust that had settled in our homes during the drab, cold months of winter. As if going from death to life. We box away the blankets and sweaters. We step outside to breathe the fresh air, while planning time to get with friends and family for fun activities. Windows are shined. Corners swept of cobwebs. And everything just seems to come back to life.
Our current ritual of spring cleaning is not too far removed from an ancient practice that God orchestrated with the first Passover. When the children of Israel came out of the dark, cold season in Egypt, God ordained the first feast of Passover as a continual reminder of how He had delivered them They were to remember the night which they had been told to box up all they had and prepare for a desert journey. As they prepared their food for traveling, the bread had to have no leaven - or yeast. It was to be simple and without any extra ingredients that added flavor.
When we read the account in Exodus 12, God made it clear how serious He was with the putting away of the leaven.
15 You will eat unleavened bread for seven days. On the first day you must remove yeast from your houses because anyone who eats leavened bread anytime during those seven days will be cut off from Israel.
19 For seven days no yeast should be found in your houses because whoever eats leavened bread will be cut off from the Israelite community, whether the person is an immigrant or a native of the land.
What was so significant about leaven that He would cut a person off? Besides that to ignore this act was disobedience to God, it also represented things in our lives that can pull us away from Him. This act was to teach the principle of dealing with the areas that war against our spiritual growth. He knew that if we did allowed ourselves one slip up, it would be easier to allow another.....and another.....and another. In time it could eventually effect every are of our lives. Just like the yeast.
I love the smell of warm yeast bread fresh out of the oven. And baking bread is a favorite past time for me. No matter how large of a recipe I am making, I trust that the dough will double in size while just sitting there. Even after I punch it down, it will rise again. Eventually it is large enough to make bread to feed a family because that yeast had effect every cup of flour I had added to the dough.
Just like the yeast in my bread, sin or complacency will effect our lives if we allow it to sit too long without cleaning away every spec of yeast in the hidden corners of our hearts. Sometimes 'punching it down once' is not enough. This cleaning away of anything 'extra' in our lives should be continual. A daily sacrifice. It was to be an example of the spiritual act of 'laying aside every weight and sin' that should govern our lives.
Every Passover, the Jews spent hours cleaning their homes. The goal was to make sure NO SPEC - not a single drop - of leaven could possibly be found anywhere in their home. And they still do it to this day. And so should we. Each of us should spend time asking Him what needs to be swept away from our lives. Sometimes it's a secret sin. Sometimes it can be just a weight that pulls us away from time with Him and gets our focus on other things. Galatians 5:9 gives the warning: "A little leaven leavens the whole lump."
May we take time today to Spring clean our souls while spending time in His presence. The results? We may just find that He will breathe new life into old dreams!
2 Peter 3:14 "Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace." ESV
(Note: This is an article I posted last year, yet it seems so fitting with what is happening in our world today. God is wanting to give His people a fresh start. By silencing the gods of this world, He has started 'sweeping the yeast out.' May we take this stay at home time to focus even more on the deeper meaning of Passover and start searching the hidden things of our hearts that need to be swept away. And a thought for those with young kids - talk about the yeast and make a game of going around to 'sweep away' things that are hidden as an illustration of what we are to do in our hearts.)