Monday, April 16, 2012

Does God Set Us Up for Failure?

"In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.  For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel.  Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread."  Exodus 12:18-20

 This past week marked the time set aside for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  If you are unfamiliar with this Jewish tradition, there are a few key points to note.  This was a remembrance that was required by God.  It was required for the entire nation, as a people set aside to the Lord.

I must admit that I was curious as a child (heck! even as an adult) of what God was thinking when He came up with this plan.  I was taught how the yeast represented all of the ways we think, say, and do things that go against God's laws.  Therefore, the people were to get rid of the yeast as a picture of getting rid of the spiritual impurities.  That much made sense to me.

However, while the picture was all warm and fuzzy, I got caught up on the actual way things would go down.  Once the people got rid of every little bit of yeast in the entire nation, how then were they supposed to eat?  Were they banished to a bread-free realm?  Where was the picture of the Bread of Life then?

There were only two ways I could think of to get past the intricacies of  the feast.  Either they held a little bit back for a rainy day or they traded with the pagan nations nearby for yeast when the week was over--an idea that didn't sound very wise since every time they traded with those pagan nations they ended up worshiping false gods.  Either way, it seemed as if the Hebrew nation was doomed to failure in one way or another.

I was so relieved when, as I was going through my traditional, real food journey, I came across the answer.  More importantly, I was relieved to find out that the answer was deep enough to reveal an aspect of God's character.

In my ignorance, I had always thought that yeast was something that came in a little packet or a brown jar, a fragile item that required refrigeration and tender care or it would die.  It didn't occur to me that there was life before Fleischmann's.  That sounds silly, because I realized that they didn't have little packets in an ancient refrigerator, but I figured that ancient yeast was raised and sold in some ancient way just like ancient olive oil and ancient flour.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.  Our God is a God who saves... Psalm 68:19-20a

What I discovered was that God supplies our every need.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  II Corinthians 9:10-11 

The yeast that is needed covers the ground that the grain grows in.  It rests on the grain, covering it completely.  It isn't harmed by grinding the grain.  It doesn't die in a cold snap.  It blows on the wind.

We as humans can do everything possible to rid our homes of yeast, but that doesn't mean that the yeast is in any danger of long-term loss.  A little flour, a little water, daily attention, time--the bread is back in only a few weeks.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Perhaps this is also indicative of a greater picture.  God asks us to set aside yeast as a picture of turning away from breaking His laws.  However, at our very nature we are law-breakers.  There is no way for us to get rid of all of that baggage.  Only the God who created us can set us free from all of that.

Perhaps that is the real picture of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.  Titus 3:5