Thursday in the First Week of Lent

Exodus 12:1-20

Get the Leaven Out

In chapter twelve of Exodus, the Lord commands the people how to observe a new holy day (actually, a holy week).  It was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, otherwise known as the Passover.  It was the main observance of the Jews as it commemorated THE event of their history: Their deliverance from slavery in Egypt.  It was this event to which the Israelites (later known as the Jews) always looked back to remind themselves that they were God’s people with whom He had made a covenant.  The Passover marked the tenth and last plague that broke Pharaoh’s back as the Lord “passed over” the houses of the Israelites, whose doorposts were smeared with the blood of the sacrificial lamb, and struck the firstborn of the Egyptians, from Pharaoh’s household down to that of the servant girl.

Twice it is repeated in this passage that the Israelites were to remove all leaven from their houses, and that if anyone was to eat leaven during the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread, he was to be “cut off from the congregation of Israel.”  In the Bible, leaven appears as the symbol for corruption.  And since the nature of leaven is to spread throughout the dough, the illustration is that evil spreads and finally corrupts whatever allows its presence.  (There is one place in the Bible in which leaven is viewed positively, and that is Matthew 13:33 and repeated in Luke 13:20-21, where it is compared to the Kingdom of God which spreads throughout the world.  But this is the exception.)  Therefore, the Israelites were to remove all the leaven from their houses.  It was a sign that they were to be a holy people, set apart unto the Lord.

So Christians are warned in the New Testament to beware the leaven of false teaching (Matthew 16:5-12; Luke 12:1-3), sexual immorality, malice, and evil (1 Corinthians 5:1-12).  We are to cast out such leaven knowing that harboring any amount of evil in our hearts can overwhelm us if left unconfessed and unrepented.  Christians are to abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), to be holy since He is holy (1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44), and to separate ourselves from sinful engagement with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:16-18).  Therefore, let us remove all sinful tendencies (leaven) from our hearts, and instead let the Holy Spirit leaven us with goodness and virtue.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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