Purging the Leaven

Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any wicked way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting!

~ Psalm 139:23-24

Passover is a mere four days away and it’s got me thinking.

Certainly, it ought to.  

While I move through the house searching – the freezer, the refrigerator, the pantry – attempting to rid it of leaven, I come to a daunting conclusion, as I always do: the real cleaning needing to be done is within myself. The physical commandment always gives way to the spiritual work waiting, and as I clean, the ugly truth about my sin is ever present before me. And as I type, I realize there is not enough space to write them all down, all those sins that are piling up around me like dust hidden under the bed. 

Definitely and most assuredly, the struggle is real.

I can scrub and clean and have the house spotless. I can follow the command to rid it of all leaven and I most definitely should; the commandments are not negotiable.  But if my heart isn’t right, if I haven’t made an honest assessment of the things about me that need to change, that require repentance, then what does it matter? 

Consider how YHWH responds when Israel adhered to the commandments to offer sacrifices and keep His appointed feasts without a servant’s repentant heart:

What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says YHWH;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.

When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?

Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.

When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Come now, let us reason together, says YHWH, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 

~ Isaiah 1:11-18

There must be in our lives the perpetual turning from sin and a walking toward Yeshua. There is nothing that takes the place of getting on our knees, humbly seeking, honestly repenting, being washed clean.

This is the cleaning that is the most important: seeking Yeshua, asking Him to search out the wickedness within our hearts, seeking His forgiveness. And when we come before Yeshua, with a repentant heart and humble spirit, He will intercede for us before Abba. He will cleanse us and purge the sin from us continuing the work of sanctification, of conforming us to His image.

The prophet Jeremiah warned, the heart is deceitful, desperately wicked, incurable. There is only One who can cure it.  He alone is salvation.

His name is Yeshua.

Because that is the real reason Yeshua hung on a cross. Not because of that jar of yeast in the fridge or the forgotten bagels I bought on sale and put in the freezer. It was for one reason and one reason only – that I would have forgiveness of my sin paving a way for me to come back into covenant with the Father. Yeshua is the only way.

Keeping the commandments won’t do it. I keep those out of love and obedience for the purposes of sanctification, for the purposes of learning to be holy and set apart, of learning how to walk a narrow path in a world of wide open roads that lead to sin. Everything Yeshua taught and everything He lived is founded in the Torah; He did not come to replace the Torah with new instructions, He came to turn us back to it. Just as all the prophets preached a returning to Adonai’s ways, Yeshua came to teach us how and to pave a way. Through Yeshua we have forgiveness and through the following of Torah we gain sanctification. First forgiveness, then obedience. We are becoming holy, because YHWH is holy. Yeshua forgives our sin, cleanses us, and brings us back into the presence of our Father.

Sin separates me from YHWH and legalism separates me from Yeshua’s grace. Grace can not be bought by following commandments nor can it be earned by being perfect. The commandments teach me what sin is so I can avoid it and repent of it when I make mistakes that lead to it. The commandments teach what love is so I can freely give it to others, even my enemies. The commandments teach me how to be merciful and just, how to love YHWH and my neighbor. I do not get to decide what sin is or what love is, how to be merciful or how to be just; YHWH does. And when I refuse to follow the Torah and its instructions, I am making myself my very own god. And the first commandment is this:  

And God spoke all these words:

“I am YHWH your Elohim,

who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

~Exodus 20:1-3

This has been one of the greatest sins in my life, going with my emotions of what felt right, claiming to be Holy Spirit led, instead of learning the Torah and doing what YHWH says is right. Because let’s be clear, YHWH’s spirit does not contradict His word, and Yeshua’s grace and forgiveness do not negate my responsibility to obey the commandments.

So as Passover approaches, as we enter into this last week of preparation to meet with our King, our Redeemer, our Messiah, let us allow the commandment to work as it should in our lives. As we do the physical work of cleaning our homes and preparing our table, let us ask Yeshua to come in and clean the wickedness from our hearts so that YHWH’s spirit can dwell within us. Then let us sit down in peace and gratitude and love with others and fellowship remembering where our unity lies, in Yeshua and His forgiveness.

as always…. mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 Responses to “Purging the Leaven”

  1. Ann Chastain says:

    Very well stated. We sometimes forget that we daily need to humble ourselves before God and repent

  2. Wendy Lopez says:

    Beautifully taught.

    May your Passover be enlightened by His truth and love, full of joy of release from the dominion of sin, truly unleavened for His Name’s sake.

Leave a Reply

© Elizabeth Marchman and A Quiet Chaos LLC., 2011 | Designed & Developed by Author Media