Kay McKean’s second installment in her series, “Salt,” gives us a greater appreciation of what is in God’s mind, when he calls Christians to be the salt of the earth
The book of Job contains a host of hypothetical questions. He was searching for a reason for his suffering, and was left unsatisfied. In this passage, the question he asks is almost humorous. But he brings it before God as an imploring complaint regarding his unanswered requests for clarity. Some take this passage to refer to the conversations that have been going on around Job, meaning that they have been insipid and meaningless. Whatever was on Job’s mind at this point, it’s absolutely accurate to say that food is not as tasty without salt. He refused to eat what had no flavor!
Certainly things haven’t changed through the centuries. Although we’ve admitted the modern dangers of overly-salty processed foods (see Part One – “Salt”), we have also acknowledged the true danger of living without a supply of salt in our bodies. We truly can’t live without it.
As we move through the centuries following the time of Job, we see further reminders of the importance of salt as a part of the covenantal relationship between God and his people:
“Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to theLordI give to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before theLordfor both you and your offspring.” – Numbers 18:19 (NIV)
“Season all your grain offerings with salt.Do not leave the salt of the covenantof your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.” –Leviticus 2:13 (NIV)
When God gave the Israelites the instructions about sacrifice, he promised this as a covenant of salt. Salt was the emblem that represented that which was incorruptible and permanent. Therefore, this covenant was one that would last. It was a binding alliance. Salt was also used in the grain offerings to the Lord. So we see salt as the symbol of the eternal nature of God’s covenant with Israel.
God was always willing to keep his promises, but unfortunately the political turmoil that followed the Israelite nation revealed that the people weren’t always willing to keep theirs:
Abijah, the rightful king, was appealing to those who knew that the royal line of kingship should come from the line of Judah. David was from that line, and the dynasty was to remain with his descendants. When civil war broke out, Abijah, David’s great-grandson, addressed the rebels by reminding them of the “covenant of salt” – an agreement that was to last for all time. Although the rebellion began by the poor leadership of Abijah’s father, he still maintained that to resist his kingship was to resist the Lord. The message was clear: regardless of poor leadership and the mistakes of the past, the commitment to God’s plans were to be upheld.
Salt continued to play an important role in Israel’s history as we come to the time of the prophet Elisha:
The Jews weren’t the only ones who recognized the important nature of salt. Later in history, the Greeks exchanged salt for slaves. That’s where we get the phrase, “He isn’t worth his salt.” The Romans gave salt rations to their soldiers, calling it “Salarium Argentum,” which eventually became our word, “salary.” Even today, the traditions surrounding salt are plentiful. The British made it a point to bring salt to a newcomer’s home. Nelson Mandela made this appeal: “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”
When Jesus declared that his followers were to be the “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13), he meant it in the best possible way. Salt was one of the most valuable commodities of his time. It was crucial for survival. Jesus calls each of us to see our incredible value. He wants us to remember the eternal covenant that we have been invited into, knowing that God will keep his promise to us. His desire is for us to keep our commitment to uphold his leadership in our lives. He wants us to see that because of God, we are instruments of purification and healing among those that are in our sphere of influence.
Hopefully, these thoughts will make you look at salt a little differently. It’s not the enemy some make it out to be! Otherwise, Jesus would never have said “Salt is GOOD!” (Luke 14:34) When you say, “pass the salt,” consider it as a reminder that you are to add flavor and hope to the world.
Shared from teachicoc.org.