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May 29 – Life without the leaven of pagan Egypt

Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ – Exodus 13:7-8 

Scripture reading: Exodus 13:1-13, 16; Isaiah 26:1-15, 20-21

“Passover is about getting saved,” writes Phillip Ryken. “It reminds us that we have been delivered from death by a perfect substitute whose blood was shed as a sacrifice for our sins. The Feast of Unleavened Bread reminds us what God wants us to do once we’ve been saved, and that is to live a sanctified life, becoming more and more free from sin.”

The LORD uses the symbol of leaven as a vivid teaching lesson. What’s leaven? I’m not a foodie so I had to look this up: “It’s a bit of dough that is kept unbaked from the previous day’s baking and added to the next day’s batch of dough so that it would start the fermentation process there also.”

Discarding that lump from their time as Egyptian slaves was a “gesture that symbolized leaving behind all Egyptian influences that might work their way through their lives and corrupt them.” In Joshua 24 we’re told that the fathers in Egypt had idols that they were flirting with – even as God was preparing to redeem them out of Egypt. That same idolatrous leaven, inherited from the nations around them, was to be cleansed from their midst in this Feast of Unleavened Bread.

You’re exposed to all kinds of influences in your life – and so many things, like our culture’s view of sexuality, identity, wealth, entertainment and the like, can easily seep in. Yet the LORD sets before us this vivid reminder that He has saved us and calls us to daily live a sanctified life in Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that the LORD would further sanctify you and cause you to grow more and more in holiness through Christ and by His Spirit!

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Norman Van Eeden Petersman is the pastor of the Vancouver Associated Presbyterian Church in BC.


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