In my eastern Kentucky home, food was usually the same and normally bland. My grandmother would say, “a pinch of salt will bring out the flavor.” A pinch of salt would add needed zest and savor to our ordinary fare. Mountain folks, in the day, seldom used saltshakers. Small dishes called ‘salt cellars’ were placed on the table. We would take a pinch of salt between our thumb and forefinger and sprinkle it on our food to season it. A pinch of salt made the beans and taters more palatable.
Salt has been a part of man’s life across time. Not only did our spiritual ancestors, the Hebrews, make use of salt in their food; but they also used it in their religious services as an essential accompaniment to the various offerings presented at the altar. The altar was the table of the Lord; therefore, salt being always set on their tables, God would have it always used at His. It is called “the salt of the covenant with your God” (Leviticus 2:13) . The Hebrew people confirmed their covenants with each other by eating and drinking together. Salt was always used at these special meals. Sacrifices were a type of feasting with God, and salt confirmed the covenant He had made with them. Eventually, when the temple was built, there was a court in temple called the chamber of salt (Ezra 7:22-22). Salt was required in all offerings (Leviticus 2:13). No injunction in the laws of God was more sacredly observed than the application of salt.
Because salt possesses strong preservative properties, it became an emblem of incorruption and purity. Used in sacrifices, it symbolized the unbending commitment of self-surrender and willing service. The use of salt was representative of casting off all impurity and hypocrisy. It was also a sign of a perpetual covenant, a perfect reconciliation, and a lasting friendship with the heavenly Father.
In the New Testament, as in the Old, salt had a special significance religiously as well as an article of food. Salt was used to represent spiritual principles. Salt had a typical meaning referred to by our Lord concerning the effect of the Gospel on those who embrace it (Mark 9:49-50). As salt generously applied preserves food from spoiling, so will the Gospel keep men from the corruption of sin. Jesus, speaking to God’s people, said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned.” (Matthew 5:13) God’s people are expected to make their world better, as opposed to corrupting it by their sins. God’s people are to season their world with peace. Mark 9:50, “Salt is good … Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.” The Apostle Paul had this advice for the believers at Colosse, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6, EVS).
Paul, speaking to believers in Romans 12:1 (EVS), says, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” In order for our sacrifice to be acceptable we must be salted with salt. We must be pure and free from corruption. We must have in our souls the savor of grace.
A final thought about salt: we must be aware that if salt has lost its power to season, it is no good and should be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. Pure salt maintains its flavor and preservative properties. In Israel, some salt was mixed with other ingredients. When it was exposed to the elements, the salt would be “leached out.” Leached out salt was used to coat walkways. We must, through the help of the Holy Spirit, keep ourselves free from contamination of the things of this world.
Prayer: Lord, may we be ‘salt cellars’ filled with pure salt. May we add zest and savor to the lives of those around us. Jesus said to us,
“You Are The Salt Of The Earth”
~ Brother Roy