|“Search me, O God, and know my heart; |
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
After a long winter of road sand tracked into the house and the build up of dust and grime that hides in the darker days of winter, the time comes for a good spring cleaning. My mother and grandmothers pulled everything out of pantries and cupboards, wiped down walls, and scrubbed floors. They laundered bed linens and window curtains, polished silver and swept away cobwebs.
Similarly, but more strictly, the Jewish people prepare for a full month before Passover by thoroughly cleansing their homes from all “chametz” or leavening products. Just after the Israelites left Egypt and took with them unleavened bread, God prescribed for their celebration in Exodus 12:15 that they were to:
…remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.
Even today, Orthodox Jews search for bread crumbs under the cushions of sofas and chairs. They look in the pockets of jackets and slacks and remove every trace of leaven. The kitchen appliances get a complete cleaning. Once they finish cleaning the rooms, no one is allowed to eat in them until the celebration of Passover has ended.
Jesus referred to “leaven” as belief in the wrong thinking of the Scribes and Pharisees. The Apostle Paul, referring to sin in believers’ lives in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 wrote:
Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The leaven represents to us anything that corrupts and keeps our inner lives from being the temple where the Lord God may dwell through the Holy Spirit. In these days, we need to doggedly search out every trace of sin that would keep us from following Christ with our whole beings.
Puritan writer, John Gibbon preached these words 1:
Do not be a stranger to yourself. Unlock your bosom, and ransack every corner of your heart. Make a diligent search. Feel the pulse of your soul. Don’t let any region of your mind be undiscovered. Watch how the tempter has taken advantage of you in the past. Make these searches daily and compare them to the eternal law of God. These considerations will greatly help in the prevention and cure for the sins which so easily beset us.
|1 From “Puritan Sermons,” by John Gibbon as quoted in Rushing, Richard, editor. Voices from the Past. Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009.|