Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Nature Of Leaven - A Study


The writers of scripture have used the image of yeast many times to explain a very important premise in scripture...



 Leaven, or yeast as we call it, is actually a composition of tiny individual plants, each one so small that it can only be seen through the eye of  a very powerful microscope.  Like all other plants they require food, and they find this in the dough they are placed in. The dough is made up of various kinds of substances and the yeast takes one of them as food, and in doing so sets free another substance called carbonic acid gas. This gas bubbles up and makes the heavy dough spongy and light. If it were not for these tiny bubbles of gas your bread would be as heavy and dense as a soft brick.





This is the reason why yeast is put into dough for making bread or cake. One of the most remarkable things about this yeast is, that when it gets into any substance that contains it's food, it begins to grow buds like most all plants do, however within just moments yeast does this and breaks away. So rapid is this increase, that if a single yeast-plant were to be put into a great mass of dough it would very quickly leaven the whole mass.




After understanding what yeast does it really helps us understand better what God wants us to know...that no matter what it is that leaven is being used to describe, the result is quicker than we can imagine, as well as thorough!  



Matthew 13:33 Jesus also used this illustration: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough."



The above scripture tells us, especially after understanding what yeast does...is that the Kingdom of Heaven is made to permeate our whole lives. Not just our church life, or our plans, or how we treat those we love...but every single area including those areas we would rather be in charge of -- our words (tongue) for instance, or our carnal attitudes as listed in Galatians 5: 19. 



This means that it will do what it was created to do unless we have not become a part of the Kingdom of God yet. Some might say that we can halt the process by our stubbornness, however, God's love toward us is even more stubborn and therefore He disciplines us until we give in. We have this life in mind when we are stubborn...but God has all of eternity in mind, therefore He loves us too much to leave us behind!



Usually however yeast or leaven is used to describe sin and the effects sin has...this is why God had literal laws about the use and disuse of yeast at certain times in the OT, as it gave them and us a perfect type of what kind of relationship we should have with sin. Understanding this helps us get much more out of scriptures such as the ones in the following url.



One thing I notice in this segment of scripture is that it helps us see how leaven is used in relation to those in the church that we are to judge...those who have allowed the leaven of sin to permeate their lives to the point where they need to be dealt with. Then in contrast, in many other parts of scripture it is obvious that we are to do the opposite, as we are being reminded in those instances to be patient with the faults of others and before we try to judge the speck in their eye, we are to deal with the log in our own. (although I believe this is what we are to do before any and all evaluating of others) So we are to make sure we understand that some people are growing and the sin in their lives is on it's way out...and then there are some people who's sin is becoming more entrenched in their lives.  





In the following url is where we can find the heart of the story of when the Israelites left Egypt. You will notice one of the central themes is what to do and what not to do with leaven...to the point of not leavening the dough before the exodus because they would not have time to let the dough rise because they would be leaving so quickly. Therefore, one thing it communicates to us is that we enter our new life completely clean! No leaven at all. Not even a speck. Then there was something else that happened to them that sealed the beginning of this new life. This 'happening' is a type of Christ's work on the cross...can you find it?


 I would highly encourage you to dig in to this story and relish in the 'types' it gives as another way of pointing to what Christ was destined to do...and well, has done!  





Exodus 12: 9 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born.


Even the Jews of today that keep the law as closely as they can, keep busy in their endeavors to keep it

I had the opportunity to visit a family’s home such as this once. I had taken a Nanny job with a Jewish family a number of years ago for about 10 days. They were not Orthodox Jews, but their children went to an Orthodox school and went by their many rules. While I was caring for them, they were invited to another family’s home for a Jewish celebration. So, I was given very strict written instructions on when and how to drop them off on Friday, and then when and how to pick them up on Saturday eve. I was not to knock on the door before or after very specific times, and was warned about what I could and could not send with them to eat and etc. 



It took a lot of preparation and work to make sure everything was adhered to. Their mother said that she came from a home like this…where (during Passover) they had to clean the whole house several times to make sure it was completely void of leaven.  The dishes were put through the dish washer more then once…and then the dishes that were used for certain foods on a normal basis, could not be used for Passover.  

It is plain to me that Jesus came to show us that the whole reason the law was given was so that we could have a good solid picture of what was to come ~ that more than wonderful act He did for us on the cross!!



  1. Very good post Jenny. The hardest thing we fight against as Christians is sin, the leven in our lives and we are constantly having to remove it. Washed clean by the blood of Christ but still having to live in this world means this task will last to our dying day. As with yeast, sin permeates everything around us even in the air we breathe! We cannot be totally rid of it in this life but we must eradicate it where and whenever we can. We have the promise of God through Jesus Christ of everlasting life and our sins have been washed away but even so we can tarnish that relationship with the Lord if we allow the yeast (sin) to settle on us and gradually smother us. Small things lead to big things if we don't keep them in check.

    Shirley Anne x

  2. Wonderful post -- Open mind to the word of God and what He require of us

    Thank you Jenny-- God bless you


Please let me know of any comments or questions you may have...I enjoy learning from others and hearing what they have to say...