Every year on June 4, Joseph gives a book of poetry to his wife, Jane. They met in a poetry class in college when she had forgotten the assigned book one day and he loaned her his copy. June 4 is their wedding anniversary, and Joseph’s annual gift reminds them of how they met all those years ago.
Today’s passage comes from a series of reminders and instructions given to the people before they entered the Promised Land. The Lord had made it clear in His instructions for the first Passover that He wanted Israel to continue to observe this commemorative meal (see Ex. 12:14). But now decades had passed, and the people were about to emerge from their wilderness wandering and enter the land promised to their forefathers. Throughout the five books of the Pentateuch, the importance of keeping Passover has been repeated. Now in Deuteronomy, the people are given instructions again.
Why did God care so much about making sure the people ate a certain kind of bread for a certain length of time at a certain time of the year? First, the unleavened bread is described as the "bread of affliction" (v. 3). The lack of leaven would remind them of the urgent departure from Egypt where they had been enslaved. Second, eating unleavened bread for the prescribed time would remind them of the anniversary of God’s deliverance, just as celebrating a wedding anniversary reminds a couple of the day they took their vows.
Perhaps most importantly, the Festival of Unleavened Bread or Passover was a key part of obedience for the people of God. Eating unleavened bread then was a sign of belonging to God (see Ex. 12:43–49). By obeying this command, they were bearing witness to who God was as Deliverer and who they were as His people.
Apply the Word
Israel didn’t have to eat unleavened bread
all the time, but for a few days each year they were to give up yeast. Is there something in your life that God is calling you to give
up for a period of time in order to deepen your relationship with Him? Prayerfully consider whether the Holy Spirit is leading
you in this way.