Yeast and the Bible
I’ve begun to appreciate and understand the bible better lately because of my interest in baking sourdough bread. Sourdough is essentially leaven that uses wild yeast rather than commercial yeast. My sourdough culture has been going strong for a couple of months now. It’s actually quite a precious thing because it can do very amazing stuff to dough. It is the yeast which gives the dough its flavour and “breadness” taste. It is also the yeast which causes bread to be light and airy. This sourdough culture must be fed continuously. With proper feeding, it can be passed down for generations!!
Which brings me to the bible. I’ve always been taught that the Passover was first observed by the Israelites by eating unleavened bread because they had to leave Egypt in haste. I mean, that kinda made sense…. after all, it does take at least 3-6 hours for yeast to properly leaven dough. But logically, it would have made better sense if God commanded them to just leave WITHOUT eating any bread right? I mean, there are other things that are quicker to cook like meat or even grains like barley. Unleavened bread still takes time to bake. You gotta get the oven hot, you gotta knead the dough, you gotta bake it, you gotta cool it down. So really, I don’t think it is right to say that the unlearn bread was to remind the Israelites to that they left Egypt in haste. If that isn’t convincing enough, how about this – God was in perfect control of the timing of everything. So, why did He have to rush His people if He was in control of time and the order of events?
I think the answer lies in the sourdough. See, to a baker, the sourdough is very precious. Imagine if that sourdough culture had been passed down to you from your great great grand parents? And it’s that same sourdough culture that’s also being used by everyone in your family tribe. So when God is saying not to eat unleavened bread, I believe He was telling His people to not use their leaven or even bring it with them to the promised land. It’s the idea of leaving behind a life that was past – the bad and the good. It’s not easy to get a sourdough culture again, and it almost takes a certain kind of faith to start afresh.
Yes, the Feast of the Unleavened bread is about starting afresh. And I believe that’s why we celebrate it. It gives us the reminder that God is with us through new beginnings that He calls us into. After all, this same message is repeated by Jesus that we need new wineskin for new wine. And again He says the old has gone, the new has come. And again in revelations, He says “I have come to make all things new”. God is a god of new beginnings. That’s why we have hope when we trust in Him.