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Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday From the Heart: I Am Unleavened

Spring is arriving as it does in Iowa slowly and teasing. One day it is in the 70's, the next day in the 50's and we have to have every type of clothing available for whatever temperature we are facing when we wake up. One thing I love most is the increase in the sunshine no matter what the temperature. There are less dreary gray days and more bright sunshiny ones.

Spring means a gushy sloppy mess in my yard, an increase in mud tracked shoe prints on my linoleum and carpet and layers of sand to sweep out of the garage that was tracked in by the vehicles through the winter months. It also means flowers blooming, the brown grass giving way to new green sprigs and leaves budding on the trees.

Spring also means we celebrate the greatest gift of all. Yes, Christmas brought the world a Savior in a manger but Easter brings us the fulfillment of all that He was meant to do while He was here. This week I found myself in the book of Exodus (chapter 12) and reading about the first Passover. For those who don't know the story, the Israelite people were in Egypt as slaves (God prophesied to Abraham years before that his people would be slaves) and it was time for God to lead them out through his servant Moses.

The process was long. The Pharaoh who held them captive was hard-hearted and it took much "negotiating" and the hand of God through His plagues on the land that slowly changed the hard heart, forcing Pharaoh's hand. God was describing to Moses what was going to happen during the coming 10th and last plague upon the land of the Egyptians who were oppressing His people. The death angel was coming. He would be coming in the darkness of night (as all evil does) to take the lives of all of the first born in the land of Egypt.

How awful! This was the final show to a leader who would not humble himself before the Almighty God. For all he had gone through with blood for water, frogs, hail, boils, and the other nine plagues that came before, it is hard to believe that it would have to come to this, but it did. The Israelites had been waiting for their way of escape for over 400 years. They knew nothing else besides a life of slavery and a promise of freedom.

This was the last step and they needed to obey because God had specific instructions for them. And, if they paid attention and walked in obedience, they would be saved. Their instructions were specific. They were to take a lamb or a kid without blemish. It couldn't be the one that wouldn't be missed, it had to be their best. They brought it into the house on the tenth day of the first month. They kept it until the fourteenth day at which time they would sacrifice it following God's instructions. They were to take the blood and paint it over the top of the door and along the sides. This was imperative along with the command to stay in the house and do not come out all night. If they were inside, they were safe. The death angel would "pass over" their home and all would be spared.

Verse 23 in chapter twelve stood out to me this year. I have heard this history and told this story to so many through the years but this time, the words that come from the mouth of God rested on me in a new way. "For the Lord will pass through and smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two door posts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your house to smite you." WILL NOT ALLOW. The sovereignty of God. They were His and they were under His protection. 

Before turning to Exodus, I had been in Luke 22 reading of the last supper. Jesus was a Jew and He would have celebrated the Passover as a child and young man growing up. He knew the history because it is HIStory! He is the fulfillment. Celebrating a version of the Passover my whole growing up years I missed that somewhere. This week was a reminder in a big way as I reviewed the disciples in the upper room, the bread and the wine and how so vital it is that I am covered by the blood of the perfect Lamb of God. He wasn't just a prophet who did good things. This is the Perfect Lamb free of blemish who needed no leading to the cross He was committed to. Is there evil around you? Accept the blood of the Perfect Lamb, His protection is everlasting!

There are no words to describe the work that He has done for me. Before I was born, before I had sinned my first sin. I am not worthy of that blood but He loved me first. He is the One whose blood covers my every wrong step, compromising thought or evil intention. And that is just my sin. The sins of the world were and still are ugly. Watch any reenactment of the Crucifixion. It is not something we can even imagine having not been there. He took it all on Himself.
The last place I turned as my time with Him came to a close was in 1 Corinthians 5:7. The Israelites were told to eat their lamb with unleavened bread. They were about to leave Egypt and didn't have time for the leavened dough to rise. Here, Paul tells the Corinthians to get rid of that old leaven (picturing sin) because YOU are unleavened. "For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." Just like Egypt was soon behind the Israelites, sin is behind me. I am unleavened...because He is my Passover.

So the question I ask myself this week is this...am I living an unleavened life? I can not be perfect but the Perfect One was sacrificed for me. If I stay within the boundaries of His blood (because lets face it, He put the understanding of right and wrong in all of us from the beginning and if we don't like the "legalistic" sound of that, let's just say He put us in the "center of His Will") we are going to be able to escape because we belong to Him, it is His blood bought us. The beauty is, if you want that unleavened life, the one where His blood covers and protects and makes you walk in newness of life, all you have to do is ask! 

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