This Passover, millions of Jews in Israel and around the world will gather around the table for the Passover Seder. They will read from the Haggadah (telling the story of the Passover), eat a leaven-free meal, partake of the elements on the Passover plate and sing traditional songs.
During Passover, most supermarkets and restaurants do not sell any food with yeast, and many Jews clean their houses of leaven.
In the Bible, Egypt is mentioned almost seven hundred times and another 25 times in the New Testament, often in connection to the covenant God has with Israel, as written in Leviticus 26:45:
"But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord."
Why did God repeatedly remind the people of Israel that He delivered them from Egypt? And what is the connection between the Abrahamic covenant and deliverance from slavery?
There are many reasons for God reminding His people of the covenant he made with their forefathers. Here are a few recurring themes:
Because He Loves
The main reason is that God wanted to constantly remind His children of His great love for them. God saw the suffering His people endured under the heavy hand of the Egyptians and decided to put an end to their injustice.
He Alone is God
The people of Israel were easily swayed into serving and following other gods. Through signs and wonders, God proved to them that a man-made idol did not have the power to protect them.
Trust Protects the Heart
God constantly reminds them that it was He who brought them out of Egypt so that they would not lose courage in difficult circumstances. Not only did He deliver them in the past, but He would continue to do so always.
What does it mean to be in a covenant relationship with God?
On the human level, a covenant made between two people can easily be broken – but not so with God. He is a faithful God who kept the covenant He made with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob:
"But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt." - Deuteronomy 7:8
These verses should be an encouraging reminder in our own lives that God is a faithful redeemer. His reason? Because He loves us.
Even though the people of Israel experienced many miracles, they were still prone to forget His goodness. They might have been free from physical slavery, but a slave mentality controlled their actions.
By the time the people of Israel arrived at the desert of Zin, they were all but trusting:
"In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death." Exodus 16:2-4
The people were discouraged. Their lives in Egypt were hard enough, and now they were faced with an entirely new set of challenges. Was Moses a trustworthy leader? Was God going to abandon them to die in the desert without food and water?
God steps in to prove His love and asks them to put their trust in Him in Exodus 16:4-5:
"Then the Lord said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days."
God was their provider. He rained manna from heaven and told them to collect double the daily amount before the Sabbath rest. This was an opportunity for trust – an open invitation to rely on Him for their provision.
Nevertheless, the people still had a hard time trusting. When they went out to collect manna on the Sabbath day, they found none. God was determined that they would not be controlled by a spirit of fear and scarcity but would rest in his trustworthy character.
God used the manna once again as a reminder to the people of Israel for generations to come that He always was and forever will be their provider:
Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’” Exodus 16:32
God uses the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:21) as a precursor to Yeshua, who was destined to give his life for the sins of the world from the beginning of time.
When Yeshua celebrated the Passover with his disciples (Mark 14:12), they did not know that soon after, He would become the ultimate sacrifice, shedding his blood on the cross as atonement for our sins.
His sacrifice should inspire us to accept the forgiveness He so willingly offers and live pure and holy lives that honor His name.
"Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." 1 Corinthians 5:7
In Israel today, over 800,000 people live under the poverty line. Most struggle to put food on the table on a day-to-day basis and barely make ends meet, let alone a Passover meal. But God has set in the heart of Vision for Israel to partner with Him in providing food baskets and money vouchers to the needy during the holiday season.
Families, single mothers, and the elderly line up with tears of gratitude and words of appreciation for the simple gift of participating in the Passover meal with the rest of Israel. Through the generous hands of donors and partners of Vision for Israel, we are privileged to be a part of fulfilling God's covenant relationship with His people.
Just as the people of Israel were encouraged to rely on God for His miraculous provision, many rely on Vision for Israel's help to get them through the holiday season with dignity.
This Passover, let us remember again that God has always been faithful to provide for us. Every day He fulfills His covenant with us and offers daily manna in our personal lives as a testimony of love. As we sit around the table to tell the Passover story, let us not only reminisce on the miracles God did in the past but also the miracles of today.