Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings. ;Leviticus 2:13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. ;Matthew 5:13
I have been an outdoor runner for more than half of my life. It does not matter to me whether it is winter, spring, summer or fall; I am outdoors running in the early morning hours, usually while it is still dark. Consistent with winter in the upper Midwest, several weeks have been snowy and icy. One morning I stepped outside to discover about 4 inches of snow on all the roads and streets on which I usually run, with the snow continuing to fall!! What a difficult run it was covering about 6 miles. The snow was flaky so it was like trying to run on loose sand at the beach. My hips and ankles were so sore at the end of the run, it took another 48 hours before I could get out on my next run. However, by the end of that day, all the snow on the streets had been tightly packed by cars and had even turned into some heavy ice patches. Driving home from work that evening was slow but the snow plows were out clearing as much of the snow as possible while dropping a salt mixture on the streets to help clear them. Two mornings later when I went out to run, voila!!! It was still freezing cold but the streets were clear of both snow and ice. They were dry as a bone and I was able to have a more “normal” run on the streets of the city. As I ran, however, I could not get out of my mind the effect the salt had on all the streets!! In 48 hours, the streets had gone from a treacherous condition to a dry, normal pavement!! Amazing!! Call me strange but I decided I was going to look into the characteristics of salt, from both a practical and spiritual point-of-view. I came across some very convicting, but yet encouraging, information.
The verse from Leviticus above has been one of those verses that can be perplexing. Just what is a “grain offering”? What does it mean to “add salt to all your offerings”? Why was the adding of salt so important? What was God trying to teach the Israelites back then and wanting to teach us today?
Before looking at the characteristics of salt, it would be helpful to explain grain offerings which will give an understanding why it was so important to add salt to these offerings. The grain offering is described in Leviticus 2. It was not an atonement offering but was usually offered as an accompaniment to an animal sacrifice. The grain offering could, in certain circumstances, be presented alone. The grain offering consisted of four items: (1) fine flour; (2) oil; (3) frankincense; and (4) salt. The use of fine flour and the expensive spice frankincense indicates that the Israelites, in giving a grain offering, were to give of their very best to the Lord. An important key thought is that the Hebrew word for grain offering can mean simply “gift”, as evidenced in Genesis 32:13 where the Hebrew word for grain offering describes the gifts that Jacob bestowed upon Esau as he was returning after many years working for Laban.
So at this point a key question to consider is this: In bringing gifts to the Lord, whether it is my time, my talents, or my financial resources, have I given my best for the Master? Just what gifts, beloved in Christ, have you brought to the Lord? Are they your first fruits or simply what is left over of your time, your energy or your resources? In answering these questions, I pray you will be honest as you stand prayerfully before the Lord.
Let’s turn the focus to salt. What does it mean to “add salt to all your offerings” or your gifts? Salt represents the characteristics of permanence and incorruption. Grasp this truth. Salt acts as a preservative; for example, salt will keep meat from spoiling or becoming “corrupt”. The use of salt by the Israelites in an offering would demonstrate the everlasting, pure and holy relationship between God and His people. His people would permanently belong to God, and God would permanently belong to His people. As you study the Bible, you will find that salt and permanence were always combined in a covenant as shown in II Chronicles 13:5, “Don’t you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?”(emphasis mine). This matter of permanence comes through loud and clear in this verse, which was later confirmed when the birth of Christ was foretold by the angel Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:32-33, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, his kingdom will never end”(emphasis mine).
So as you bring your offerings and gifts to the Lord, bring Him your very best; bring your gifts with a commitment of permanence and incorruption. None of this half-hearted “I’ll try” stuff. And start with the gift of yourself. Have you yielded your life to Christ in a committed, permanent, pure, uncompromised, incorruptible manner? Look at what the Lord Himself commanded in Mark 9:50, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other”(emphasis mine). As expressed by Swete in Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, you are to “……. keep the seasoning power, the preserving, sacrificial Fire, within your heart, and as a first condition of its presence there, be at peace with your brethren”.
Just what are the convicting aspects of salt for the Christian? Here’s a brief list:
· Salt creates thirst. Have you ever made anyone thirsty for the Lord Jesus Christ?
· Salt preserves. As a member of the body of Christ, the Church, are you preserving and reinforcing the qualities of goodness, honor, justice, and mercy in a culture that tends to corruption?
· Salt inhibits corruption. As a member of the body of Christ, the Church, are you restraining the culture’s corrupting influences? Is your salty influence magnifying your personal and the Church’s good works within the culture and thereby rebuking evil to the glory of God?
· Salt gives zest and flavor. Do you, as a Christian, give a zest and distinctive flavor to your surroundings moment by moment?
· Salt is a sign of purity. Do you in your private character, with no one in sight, exhibit before the Lord a yielded purity? Do you in your public personality exhibit before the Lord a yielded purity?
Salt is such a magnificent wonder. It is composed of two poisonous substances. How is it possible that salt, which is so necessary to life, is composed of sodium and chlorine, either of which if taken individually would kill a person? God in His infinite wisdom has brought these two substances together in such a manner as to preserve, not to kill. Do you “see” God’s infinite, permanent, pure, righteous and holy love for you? This leads to the second Scripture noted above. What happens if salt loses its saltiness?
According to The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, there is a Hill of Salt called Jebel Usdum which is a 15-square mile elevation at the southwest corner of the Dead Sea or Salt Sea. This area has been traditionally associated with the fate of Lot’s wife who was turned into a pillar of salt (see Genesis 19:26). The salt found here is of the rock or fossil variety and because of impurities and the occurrence of chemical changes, the outer layer of salt is generally lacking in flavor and discarded as worthless. The reference mentioned above in Matthew 5:13 is to this kind of salt; rock hard, flavorless, and worthless. Yes, it is still salt but it is worthless salt.
The last convicting aspect of salt is this. You may be saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, but do you “have salt in yourself”? Are you exhibiting all that salt is intended to exhibit, a permanent gift of purity and incorruption? Have you allowed impurities to enter into your walk with Jesus such that “chemical changes” have been made to your character and personality rendering you worthless in the cause of Jesus? Does the culture ignore you and, in a sense, simply trample you down?
If your answers to these probing questions indicate you are missing the mark in your walk with Christ, let it be known, dearly beloved, there is forgiveness at the foot of the cross. Run, do not walk, to the old rugged cross and pour out before the Lord your confession of sin. Repent and let His Holy Spirit of revival and renewal fill your heart and restore your saltiness. Then go forth renewed and worthy of the calling He has made upon your life. In Genesis 17:1, Abram was 99 years old when the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty (El-Shaddai); walk before me and be blameless”. This command of the Lord is about who you are – what your character is before the Lord. Is your character pure, holy, righteous and incorruptible before the Lord? If it wasn’t too late for Abram at 99 years of age, it is not too late for you to repent and to experience the restoration of “saltiness” within as you walk blamelessly before the Lord.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow……….