“You shall eat no leavened bread with the Passover; seven days shall you eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for you came forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that you may remember the day when you came forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life” (Deuteronomy 16:3).
When Jacob led the Tribes into Egypt in the time of Joseph’s administration in the land there was little thought that although there was a temporary release from the ravages of famine in Canaan at that time, there would follow over 400 years of bondage and affliction at the hands of the succeeding Pharaohs ruling over them, thus fulfilling the dream given to Abraham:
“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And God said unto Abram, ‘know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation whom they shall serve will I judge, and afterward shall they come out with great substance” (Genesis 15:12-14).
Eating the bread of affliction as a remembrance of the day of deliverance was a fitting way of remembering and appreciating the salvation given by the hand of the Lord. Oh, what a day of salvation it was! A great day of judgment, deliverance, redemption and rescue from bondage for the people, the Children of Israel.
As we continue in these present days of trials and tribulations under oppressive governmental policies and continuous testing of our faith, let us hold fast our confidence in the faithfulness of our God and partake of the bread of affliction through our participation in the “afflictions of Christ” even as was experienced by the Church Fathers, of which trials the Apostle wrote to the Church at Colossae: “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body’s sake which is the church” (Colossians 1:24).
Eating the bread of affliction, the true bread from heaven, even the Lord Jesus, is a testimony to our faith and the steadfastness of our love for the Lord. The Apostle also wrote to the Church at Corinth concerning these things: “Our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation” (II Corinthians 1:7). We have been given a great hope of a glorious deliverance and great consolation of which we shall commemorate with the remembrance of Him by the breaking of the bread and eating of the Body of Christ in the joy and rejoicing of our hearts in the Lord.
The Apostle Peter also spoke of these things in his First Epistle: “But rejoice inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when His Glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:13).
In the coming season there will be many fiery trials and temptations which will test our faith and may cause some to stumble (cf. I Peter 1:6-7). But for those who will eat the bread of affliction and go through the tribulations to follow, there will be a great salvation and reward (cf. I Peter 1:9). Therefore, let us celebrate with a great remembrance our victory that is assured as we endure the times of testing in these days of our oppressors, and the corruption of justice in the land against the saints.
There have been many such times throughout the life of the Church and the enemies of Christ will continue to do so until they are taken out of the way “with the brightness of His coming” (cf. II Thessalonians 2:8b).
The bread of affliction is our daily bread in the Lord for “affliction and persecution arise for the word’s sake” and this is the law of the sower (cf. Mark 4:17). Therefore, let us eat the bread of affliction with fullness of joy, knowing that as we do we are partakers of Him of Whom we are and have become.