CROSSING OVER THIS PASSOVER

alternate textRead 2 Chronicles 35:1-2; 16-19.

In the weeks before this Feast of Unleavened Bread we have focused on the urgent need for believers, in this particular point in time, to take a critical look at their own lives and to the world around them – a world that seems to have lost its moral compass altogether. We have focused, more specifically, on the Scriptural concepts of the calling of the Almighty and the need to return back to our first love. Last week we were reminded of the fact that the phrase “I have called you by your name – you are Mine” runs like a golden thread throughout the book of Yeshayahu (Isaiah). We have seen that calling a person closer and calling a person by his name are two flip sides of the same coin. When Yahweh calls, He reveals his Name (like He did to Mosheh at the burning bush) and when we call upon Yahweh’s Name, we become more sensitive to Him continuously calling us closer to Him. I believe we are all here today because in some way or other we have heard the call of Yahweh. Maybe you are here today because you have made a decision to stop turning a deaf ear to the constant calling of the Almighty, and to stop putting your own interests ahead of living a life where Yahweh comes first at all times. There is no better time than Pesach to come to a decision like that!

In the week before last week we focused on the word “FIRST” – the first day and the first month and the first feast of the year – this feast of Unleavened Bread. We looked at the strong emphasis in Scriptures on that which is called FIRST. The fact that Yahweh loved us FIRST – long before we even knew about Him. And that He is called the FIRST and the Last – or in Hebrew: The Alef and the Tav. The fact that Y’shua, his Son, in quite another sense, is also called the FIRST and the Last (The First because He is the First fruit from the dead and the Last because He guarantees our resurrection from the dead). The fact that loving Yahweh is called the FIRST commandment of all and the well-known verse in Revelation in which the believers are warned not to leave or forsake their FIRST love for Yahweh. Can you still remember your first love for Yahweh – regardless of whether you knew his Name, Yahweh, or not? I can remember mine. I was amazed, exited, enthusiastic, hungry, diligent, full of zeal and absolutely absorbed in the Word and the message of salvation – hook, line and sinker!

Pesach and Unleavened Bread is a time to come back to that first love! I suspect the majority of you have already removed the leaven from your homes – even to the last crumb and the smallest evidence of it. Now let’s make it our prayer that through his Spirit Yahweh may remove from our lives the slightest evidence of growing cold and becoming lazy and blasé and retreating into a lifestyle of comfort and complacency. Let us make the decision today: Unleavened Bread should lead us to Unlimited devotion. Unleavened bread can change the most Unlearnt, Unloved and Unlikeliest of us all. Unleavened Bread can Unlock and Unleash the huge potential that our Creator has built into our lives. Notice the similar sounds: Unleavened, unlimited, unlearnt, unloved, unlikely, unlock and unleash. Each one of these concepts came into the picture when Yahweh performed the miracle in Egypt of removing the yoke a slavery and hopelessness from the necks of his people, presenting them with the hope and the reality of the Promised Land. And each one of these concepts can come into the picture again, if we recognize the remains of Egypt in our own lives and allow Him to do the same to us, today!

The Hebrew word “pesach” comes from a word that literally means “to pass over” and it refers, of course, to the fact that the messenger who brought about the death of the firstborn sons, literally “passed over” the houses of the Israelites where the symbol of blood was found on the posts of the doors. What is quite interesting is that the word “Hebrew” has a similar meaning to the word “pesach”. This word (“hebrew”) comes from a word completely different from the word “pesach” but with almost identical meaning. This word is “abar”, meaning “to cross over, to come over, to bring over or to pass over”. The people of Yahweh were called “Hebrews” long before terms like “Jews” or “Yehudim” or “Judaism” were used, or even existed. And these people were called by this name, because in order to be associated with Yahweh, you need to cross over or come over or pass over – like Avraham had to cross over from living in Haran, to an unknown place that Yahweh would point out to him. He had to cross over from a comfortable and popular lifestyle polluted with foreign and pagan elements, to a lifestyle set apart to Yahweh.

This is why we are interested in going back to the Hebrew roots of our belief. There is something in the word “hebrew” or “pesach” that is applicable to all of us. Naturally, we are all living in Haran, or in Egypt, if you wish, and we need to cross over or pass over to the Land or the Path that Yahweh has handpicked for us. In the beginning of this path we may not even know exactly where it will take us. But let us not despair. We are in good company. Avraham was there. His son, his grandson and his 12 great grandsons were there. And eventually the whole nation of Israel was there. Without knowing exactly where they were going, they too, had to cross over or pass over. From bondage to freedom. From being polluted by the ways and the traditions of this world, to set-apartness. From lawlessness to righteousness. From doing what is right in your own eyes, to coming under Yahweh’s authority and allow Him to be your Teacher through his teachings or (as it is called in Scriptures:) Torah. From hopelessness and despair to a great hope and unwavering expectation. From putting the Almighty way down on your list of priorities, to making Him your First Love again! Passover is here and this is the proper time for passing and crossing over. No one knows better that we, ourselves, what we need to pass over from, right now, today. And no one knows better than Yahweh what lies beyond this Passover for each one of us. Let us put our trust in Him once again. Let us put the blood of Y’shua our Passover Lamb on the doorposts of our heart and allow Him to turn our lives inside out, once again. And who knows, maybe this Pesach will be for us like the one that took place in the time of King Yoshiyahu (who’s name has this meaning: “Founded in Yahweh”) in 2 Chron 35:18, of which it was said: “There had not been a Pesach performed in Yisrael like this one since the days of Shemuél the prophet.”

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