Passover Ruminations

Palma Il Giovanni, Passover, between 1580 and 1581

Just sharing from a teaching I gave back in March 2014 at The Covenant Center. I will post the audio files once I have them. I know it's a little late to post, but I think it's good to revisit this. I find that in my life, Passover in the Spring and Rosh Hashanah in the Fall are significant times. There is usually a lot of spiritual activity, and even warfare, and a sense of introspection and seeking God to see the movements in my own life. And of course, we can do that at any time during the year. You may also download a .PDF of this teaching.

Peace and blessings...

Passover 2014

Passover begins on April 12, 2014 at sunset.

Background

In the Exodus account, God had been present, manifesting in power and miracles for a season as He developed intimacy with not only Moses but through Moses began to introduce Himself to His people. 

He began forming a history with them as he battled supernaturally against Pharaoh and all the power of the Egyptian gods. He was building a history of a covenant people, one that they would remember and were commanded to celebrate perpetually at Passover.

Even for those of us new to this walk, most can say that there are moments where God has begun to show up, to get our attention, in order to develop relationship. Maybe even recently, you are experiencing more dreams or other types of revelation from the Lord through scripture or prayer. Maybe this has been a time of building faith as God helps to you see His activity and movement.

Yet there is a time that comes for obedience based on that relationship and for stepping through the door that God is opening to each of us in the Passover season.

In the case of the Israelites, they went through their door en masse as a community at Passover when they took the first steps of their journey out of Egypt.

For us, we often experience this spiritual transition in community as well. The church observes Lent at this time of year, which is a similar expression of the movement of Passover. It is a time of introspection, cleansing, repentance and preparation which is followed by a celebration of resurrection, or new life. 

With Passover, there is the same preparation.

This time of year can be overwhelming, sobering, feel somewhat weighty or heavy and you may even be battling a sense of sadness. 

It’s important to remember that if you are experiencing those things, beyond whatever process of transformation we are in individually, we are also a part of the community of God. If we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we will often experience God’s seasons as well. It helps to know that there may be a bigger picture to lean into and explore.

The Open Door

The Year 2014 is the year 5774 in the Hebrew calendar, and it is known as the year of Ayin Dalet, which means, according to the Hebrew, God has provided a door of deliverance. You will walk on a new path this year.

Ayin: Ayin is the letter symbol for "eyes that see" in order to understand and obey through God's divine providence. Dalet: The letter Dalet is associated with the number 4, and is mainly a symbolic picture of a moving back into or passing out through a hanging tent door.

(Source: Barbie Breathitt, April 2014, learn more at barbiebreathitt.com)

In the Exodus account, the door was significant. The door was where the sign of protection was placed as the blood of the lamb was sprinkled (Exodus 12:22). 

The open door is provided by God for us. It is provided by the work of Christ which provides resurrection life to those who walk into and through it. 

Please understand I am talking about obedience and faith, not works and striving. There is nothing we can do to open the door that only God can open! (Isaiah 22:22 and Revelation 3:7)

Preparation

Even though it is God who opens the doors, there is a preparation aspect that we are wise to participate in.

It can feel introspective and sober and feel like a lot of work as well, but this is a time to:

  • lean into intimacy with the Lord
  • ask God to show the areas were repentance is needed
  • clean house
  • ask God to reveal the doors in your life he is asking you to move through
  • ask to eyes to see what God is opening, remember this is the year of “ayin” which means “eyes that see”
  • resist spending time and energy on doors that are not open
  • invest the energy to press into transition

Humility Is Key

The people were told to eat unleavened bread on the night they left Egypt, and during the Passover observance ever since, there is a preparation time of cleansing the home and ensuring there is no yeast in the bread or the home. 

Biblically, yeast is connect with pride:

Our Rabbis explain that chametz is symbolic of haughtiness and conceit - traits so deleterious that they are at the root of all negative traits. This is one of the reasons why even the minutest amount of chametz is forbidden - haughtiness and conceit must be completely nullified.

(Source: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1819/jewish/Season-of-our-Freedom.htm)

As we engage with this spiritual season and prepare for whatever door the Lord has for each of us to move through at Passover, it is so important to do so with humility.

It is God who creates the open door and God who brings the deliverance and enable us to become free and transition through our lives. He even created these spiritual cycles that seem to overtake us and cause us much distress when we misunderstand His ways.

Being Ready to Move When the Door Opens

The time of preparation is for our benefit to be able to move when the time is right. You may even experience a sense of sudden changes during this season.

All this began while the Jews were still in Egypt, when G-d told them about the Passover service, including the instruction that the entire service be done "in a manner of bounding and leaping." This vaulting manner of service culminated on the first night of Passover, when G-d Himself leapt over the bonds and fetters of exile, revealed Himself to the Jewish people while they were still in Egypt, released them from their captivity and established that from then on their inner state would be one of spiritual freedom. 

(Source: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1821/jewish/Vaulting-Bounding-and-Leaping.htm

Going Through the Door

Dalet: The letter Dalet is associated with the number 4, and is mainly a symbolic picture of a moving back into or passing out through a hanging tent door. Tents are transitory homes that allow us to follow God when His Spirit moves or transitions. Transition is an act or process of changing from one place, state, form, or activity to another; a passage from one subject or existence to connect to another; a modulation. To transition from the inside to the outside of the low hanging tent door, one must humbly bow to escape the limited confinements of the enclosure. By bowing we gain access to an expansive world. By bending we also gain a full view of ourselves: Our feet (which carry us through the journey of life); the hands (which achieve feats, worship God, develop relationship), arms (which demonstrate strength, ability to reach to God for help), and our torso (wholeness in body, health in soul, and strength of spirit to serve God and man).

(Source: Barbie Breathitt, April 2014, learn more at barbiebreathitt.com)

Even though things can seem sudden, going through the door is a process. There may be something definitive and sudden in this season for you, but often the process is not that easily defined. But it’s still the focus of this season each year and an invitation into God’s cycles that we can engage in. Often we may not identify the door we walked through until afterward!

I am in constant healing and transformation, hopefully, and plan to be, by God’s grace, until I die. And along this journey, at this time of year, I take time to ask God to show me what He is freeing me from. There just seems to be a different sense of grace for that type of release from bondage at Passover. 

I used to focus on just being able to see and agree with what God was bringing me deliverance from or out of. But now I realize that a doorway always has a negative and positive. It represents a transition from something also means into something else. The door isn’t a place itself where we can exist and set up a new house. So, now I’m learning to press into that understanding as well each year. 

This transitional process is continual throughout life, even though it is often more pronounced in this season. The rabbis view Passover also as representative of a life of entering into freedom:

On the day the Jewish slaves left Egypt they achieved the status of free people. This transition, however, is an ongoing experience that requires constant meditation on the concepts of slavery and freedom. A person's ruminations must have a salutary effect on his daily conduct. This is why spiritual redemption from all straits and limitations that constitute spiritual Egyptian exile is an ongoing process, notwithstanding the fact that the Jews' physical Exodus took only one day. This is expressed by our Sages when they state: "In each and every generation and on each and every day, every man is obligated to see himself as if he had gone out from Egypt on that very day." Man's viewing the Exodus from Egypt as a continuous process will lead to daily improvement in conduct as well - as befits a free man.

(Source: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1820/jewish/The-First-and-Final-Redemption.htm)

Keeping Perspective

Finally, it is important to remember that God is at work in our lives and the details of our lives because He loves and cares about each of us. But God also because He has a greater purpose in which we participate.

…the main purpose of the Exodus was the receipt of Torah, as G-d told Moshe: "When you will take the nation out of Egypt, they shall serve G-d upon this mountain [of Sinai].”…it was in merit of their eventual service to G-d at Sinai that the Jewish people were redeemed from exile…

So, as you progress through this time before Passover, the introspection might make you feel that you are being self-focused or selfish. It’s important to see that your journey is not just for you, but you are part of a larger people, the church.

We all have a Kingdom purpose and God invites us each to see and go through the individual doors He opens, even if there are purposes we may never fully understand.