We eat unleavened bread because of something the Lord did—not because we came out of sin, but because of something God did: God released us from our bondage. Whether or not we understand this will determine a great deal about whether we will use His Holy Spirit in the right manner. We must get the horse before the cart. In this case, the horse is God—it is God who did the work; it is God who got us out. The eating of unleavened bread is a memorial of His act.
The eating of unleavened bread directly connects to coming out of sin, but that is not the context in which it first appears. When it is introduced, it is being done because of what God did. Coming out of sin is something we do. In its first appearance, the eating of unleavened bread reflects on what God does, not what we do. The eating of it is a memorial of that.
God intends the keeping of the Days of Unleavened Bread along with the eating of unleavened bread for seven days to remind us of what He has done to bring us out. He made the Israelites go through the literal steps, and we learn the spiritual lesson from them. They went through the steps physically, and we go through the steps spiritually. We will see as we go along how much they actually did in coming out of Egypt, and by comparison, we will see how much we do when we come out of spiritual Egypt. We actually do very little. It is God who frees us, and unleavened bread serves as a reminder of that.
The Days of Unleavened Bread are about overcoming. However, they are primarily about God overcoming Satan, the world, and sin—not so much about us doing it. So, we must see the Days of Unleavened Bread and eating unleavened bread in this context so that we have the proper foundation for rightly observing the festival.
As we consider this analogy, keep this at the forefront of your mind: How much did the Israelites have to do? How much did you have to do in coming out of the world?
Looking back, the extent of their participation was enough for them to believe that God was working through Moses. This belief allowed them to obey his commands to prepare the lamb, to keep Passover, to stay in their homes overnight, to gather in Rameses the next day, and to walk out when the signal was given for them to march. How much overcoming of the world, Satan, and sin did they do to accomplish those things? Very little, if any.
When they left Egypt, did they leave sin? The answer to that is, obviously, no. When they got out in the wilderness, they committed one sin after another! No, they did not leave sin. What they did was leave the place of their bondage. Egypt, then, is not a symbol of sin but a symbol of the world.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Unleavened Bread and Pentecost
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Exodus 13:4: