14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day 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. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do. 17 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”
At this time in history, the Israelites have reached the end of their proverbial rope. They are weary physically and spiritually and are desperate for the Lord's deliverance. And in the height of that desperation - a time when Pharoah was tightening his hold more than ever before - the Lord answers with - "Remove the yeast from your houses", "Take a vacation", and while you're at it "Throw a festival"! Ummmmmm....does that feel off to anyone else but me? Maybe the Israelites had far more faith than I do but even in my obedience I would, in the back of my mind, be questioning God's methods! "Soooo...you're telling me that even though Pharoah and his men are bearing down on us stronger and harder than EVER you want us to take a vacation and throw a party?!?! God, I think our wires got crossed a little when you heard our cries for help!" Oh but my friends. Aren't you thankful that the Lord's ways are higher than our ways and that His plans are always perfect...even when they don't make sense? I know I am. And I'm sure the Israelites would wholeheartedly agree. Let's take a step back and take a deeper look at God's incredible plan, caring for His people in even what may seem the simplest of ways!
The scripture above outlines the process of Passover. The Passover took place the week before what we call "The Exodus" or God's deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt. During the Passover God instructed His Israelites, not to take a vacation and throw a party, but to eat well and rest!! As God worked a crazy amazing deliverance plan behind the scenes, He took the time to make sure that His people were well fed and rested, for He knew the desert journey that lay before them. The Israelites have spent YEARS laboring hard for Pharoah and God, caring for every little detail, set aside time BEFORE their deliverance for them to rest, recharge, and put their focus fully back on Him! What likely felt like a delay in deliverance was actually the Lord's provision in action!
We see this gracious provision from the Father sprinkled all throughout the Bibles and also in our own lives if only we will take the time to stop long enough to take note of them! I think far too often we forget that our God is El Roi, the God who sees! He sees our tears. He sees our desperation and pain and sorrow. And He works and moves on our behalf every. single. time. But friends, He doesn't stop there! He doesn't just "rescue us" from our mess - though He has rescued me more times than I can count! - He also sees the difficulties that lie ahead. The desert seasons you have not yet encountered. And He is working and moving to help prepare you for the journey.
Sometimes what God asks you to do may seem completely random and out of left field! "What do you mean you want us to throw a 7-day festival, in which time we won't work! Do you know how far behind we will be? Plus Pharoah is breathing down our necks! Taking time off will only set him against us to a greater degree!" Or, to take a page from my own story "What do you mean you want me to step back from my role as a Staff Pastor to become a homeschool mom? Don't you remember you called me to ministry? I'm going to lose time advancing the Kingdom and miss out on valuable leadership experience!" In those moments, nothing about God's leading made sense to me. It felt like I had taken 5 steps forward only to take 10 steps back. However, in the same way, El Roi, the God who sees, could see the desert journey (and ultimately the promised land!!) on the other side of the Passover for the Israelites, God could see the season rest, restoration, and healing I would need as I walked through the most difficult season of MY life with the loss of my sister.
What about you? Is God asking you to do something that seems absolutely crazy? Illogical even? Are you sitting back surveying all the "but why's" as you hesitate to take that step of faith obedience? If so, then can I just remind you today that even when it doesn't make sense, His ways are still higher!! (Isaiah 55:8-9) How do I know...Because through it all He is still El Roi. He is the God who sees!