The Apple Of God's Eye

April 10, 2011

What Is Leaving Out Leaven About?

bakerieszone.com

Leaven is a substance that puffs things up. During the Days of Unleavened Bread, God uses it to represent sin, because sin has the same effect (I Cor. 5:1-8). This festival shows that we are to become unleavened spiritually by commanding the physical labor of deleavening our homes.

Leavening agents are substances used to puff up or produce fermentation, causing dough to rise, such as yeast, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and baking powder. Sourdough was the most popular leaven in ancient Israel, as it caused baked goods to rise and become light in texture. These leavening agents led to food becoming leavened (Exod. 12:8).

Leavening agents are those ingredients that leaven and cause baked goods, such as bread, cake, certain crackers and cookies, cereals and pies to rise. Even some candies and other foods are leavened, so careful label reading is a must. If you are still in doubt about any leaven, ask someone with more expertise in this area.

God also gives us a positive command that whenever bread is eaten during the spring holy days, it must be unleavened bread. Eating the “bread of affliction” (Deut. 16:3) reminds us that we were in bondage to sin before being delivered from such abject slavery. It is also permissible to eat unleavened pies and cereals, etc., in addition to our regular diet.

There are many homemade unleavened recipes; but there are also products available on the market such as matzos, Rye Krisp, some types of Wheat Thins, Triscuits, etc. Again, a careful check of the label is recommended because different brands or flavors of the products mentioned above may have leaven in them. If you have any doubts about a particular food and cannot determine if it’s safe to eat, it is best to avoid it, for “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23).

To picture our deliverance from sin, earnest effort should be made to put leavening out of our homes—just as we must exert effort to put sin out of our lives. Despite our best attempts, some leavened products may be discovered in our home or accidentally enter our premises during this festival. This is not surprising, as it types the hidden sins that were not immediately revealed upon our conversion. We should get rid of them immediately, to represent the desire we should have to not become comfortable with our sins. Putting out the leaven (sin) is not a one-time event but something we must keep doing until the process is complete. This explains why there are seven Days of Unleavened Bread—seven signifying the number of completeness.

Inevitably, questions come up about whether or not other items are leavening agents. Egg whites, for example, shouldn’t be used as a leaven substitute to purposely skirt the spirit of the law; yet they may be used in meringue for pies and in other desserts when their use is not as a leavening agent—that is, to puff up any baked product, composed of flour or meal.

Products with yeast extracts are acceptable if they do not contain any actual leavening agent. Brewer’s yeast is totally inactive or dead and not to be considered leaven. Cream of tartar, by itself, is not a leavening agent.

Questions come up about beer, wine and other fermented beverages, but there is nothing in the Bible that restricts the kind of drinks allowed during these Days of Unleavened Bread. Leaven in the Israelites’ dough is always mentioned (Exod. 12:39, for example), but never the invisible yeast or its effect in either beer, wine or other libation. Wine, naturally fermented, was a customary staple at God’s ancient festivals. If God would have banned wine and other fermented beverages, the Bible would certainly have recorded this admonition for us.

Other non-food products contain leavening, such as antacids, some medicines, bath powders, toothpastes, cat and dog foods and even fire extinguishers, but none of these needs to be discarded.

We must remember that God planned the Days of Unleavened Bread to remind us to deleaven ourselves spiritually. This is typed physically, but our prime concern should be the complete putting out of the spiritual leaven of sin, replacing it with spiritual unleavened righteousness, not just for seven days, as explicitly commanded, but every day of our lives.

May 24, 2009

God's Plan For Children Without Fathers

The core institution of society is fatherhood. Period. Every boy has a father. Every girl has a father. When those fathers are present, and especially when they are involved in their children’s lives on a much deeper level, children thrive. Common sense shows it. Research proves it. Society denies it.

“The US’ out-of-wedlock birth rate is 38 percent. Among children, 28 percent are now born to a single mother; among Hispanic children it is 50 percent and reaches a chilling, disorienting peak of 71 percent for black children. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly a quarter of America’s white children (22 percent) do not have any male in their homes; nearly a third (31 percent) of Hispanic children and over half of black children (56 percent) are fatherless.

In the book Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem is this assessment: “There are exceptions, of course, but here is the rule: Boys raised by traditionally masculine fathers do not commit crimes. Fatherless boys commit crimes.” In fact, fatherlessness has been proven to be the number-one factor predisposing someone to criminal activity—more than poverty, iq, race, culture or education.

Girls who lack the strong influence of a father are much more prone to get involved sexually before they should. They are looking for a male to fulfill that need in their life that their father failed to fulfill. “Many studies confirm that girls who grow up without fathers are at much greater risk for early sexual activity, adolescent childbearing, divorce and lack of sexual confidence” (ibid.).

The vast majority of fatherless children are also prone to emotional imbalances, motivation problems (especially boys), anger, instability, vulnerability, insecurity and feelings of rejection—a sense of being unloved and unlovable. These same problems tend to crop up where a father is present, but is perhaps abusive, a workaholic, passive and unmasculine, sickly, manipulative or a perfectionist. Sadly, the children of such men can be just as much “fatherless” as those whose father completely abandoned the family, or died! If you want to know how important the father’s role is, just look at what happens when it is neglected.

Given the God-designed need for a father, it is interesting how protective God is of two groups of people in particular: the fatherless, and the widows. The Bible contains over 40 references to these two groups! It doesn’t specifically mention the motherless and widowers, but rather those who have been deprived of that male influence of a father and a husband—those for whom that family role isn’t being filled. God specifically condems those today who neglect the fatherless and widows.

“Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge [defend or vindicate] not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them” (Isaiah 1:23). God instructs these rebels, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (verses 16-17).

This is how to become right with God! These people need help—there is a void that God intended be filled in their lives. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

Because Satan has inspired the role of the father to be attacked so vigorously today, a majority of people have had poor relationships with their fathers. But God wants every child to have a father, and He pays special attention to those who do not, giving them extra love and attention (Zech. 7:9-10). The inspiring and hope-filled truth is, for those lacking a strong physical father, God seeks to step in and fill that role—both personally, and through strong males who are practicing the pure religion spoken of in James.

In His law, God says we should go out of our way to show compassion to the fatherless. It angers Him when people don’t do this (Mal. 3:5). Why? Because God is a family and desires more members in His future family through a resurrection (I Cor. 15).

Blog at WordPress.com.