A Covenant of Salt

Sweet Savor, Purifier, Preserver, Provider.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and the meditation of his heart?

Meditating and resting.

Do you have a regular practice of meditating on God’s Word and resting in his promises? This is a vital part of the sanctification process, a separation and surrendering to the will of God for you.

Sanctification.

Sanctification is not an attainment, it is the state into which God, in grace, calls sinful people, and in which they begin their course as Christians, followers of Christ. It is a separation to God; it is the relationship with God to which their sole title is the death of Christ. Sanctification is God’s will, his purpose in calling sinful people by the gospel, and must be learned from God as he teaches it by his Word. It must be pursued by the believer, earnestly and undeviatingly, for the holy character is built up little by little, as the result of obedience to the Word of God, and following the example of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Agent in sanctification. The sanctification of the Spirit is associated with the choice of God; it is a Divine act preceding the acceptance of the Gospel by the individual.1

Lectio Divina.

I encourage you to practice Lectio Divina – taking in just a small bite of Scripture each day, and chewing on it all day, all week, all month, all year, all life long, giving Holy Spirit time and access to the deep recesses of your heart to cleanse and nourish your soul as you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Pet 3:18).

“Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. …the stages…

lectio (reading)… meditatio (reflection)… oratio (response)… contemplatio (rest), where we… simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within… The movement of the prayer is towards silence… The practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the Scriptures has been a fruitful source of growing in relationship with Christ for many centuries and in our own day is being rediscovered by many individuals and groups. The Word of God is alive and active and will transform each of us if we open ourselves to receive what God wants to give us.2

Lectio.

Reading. Read the Word of God slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into you.

2 Chron 13:5 – Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? (ESV)

Meditatio.

Reflection. Think about the text and ruminate upon it so that you take from it what God wants to give you.

2 Chron 13:5 – Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? (ESV)

Ought you not to know?

2 Chron 13:5 – Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? (ESV)

You shall offer salt.

Lev 2:13 – You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. (ESV)

You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing.
With all your offerings you shall offer salt.

The salt was never to be wanting; with all offerings the salt was to be offered. And what gives a strong leading feature to the whole was this, that this was called “the salt of the covenant of JEHOVAH.” (Lev 2:13)

Now if we first consider the property of salt, that it is to save from corruption, we discover that the salt, which was never to be omitted in the offering, was the grand object the Lord had regard to in the whole. It is expressly called “the salt of the covenant of thy God.” Supposing then that this figuratively sets forth the Lord Jesus Christ, we instantly perceive that such is the importance that his person, blood, and righteousness, should be in and with all our offerings, that there can be no coming to the Father but by him. Where Christ is not, there is no savour; it is his blood which gives a fragrancy and a perfume to our most holy things, And if Jesus be the salt of the covenant of our God, and with all our offerings he be first and last presented, both the Alpha and Omega, in our view, as he is in the view of God our Father, then is that Scripture blessedly fulfilled which the Lord delivered by the prophet: “For in mine holy mountain in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me. There will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. I will accept you with your sweet savour; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek 20:40-42) Observe, your sweet savour! and the Holy Ghost by Paul, calls Christ’s sacrifice a sweet-smelling savour. (Eph 5:2)

There is another consideration in the view of the subject which serves to confirm the doctrine yet farther, namely, the universal use of salt. It is essential to all the purposes of food. It not only ministers to give a taste to the several articles of meat, but to preserve animal life from leprosy, and similar diseases. What is called curing of meat, that is, salting it, hath much signification of a spiritual nature in it. I do not presume to say as much so as to decide upon it, but I venture to believe that the term of “curing of meat by salt” took its rise from the circumstance of the divine cure of our nature by the salt of the covenant. Job saith, “Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt’?” (Job 6:6) Much more may it be said, Can our poor nature be accepted but in Christ? Can our nature be cured and preserved from everlasting corruption but by the Lord Jesus?

Once more—salt is of the Lord’s own providing: it is among the natural productions of the earth. There is indeed a process of art now used for refining salt, and making it minister to various ways of usefulness; but the rock salt in its own pure nature is not of human production nor contrivance; like the earth itself, it is of JEHOVAH’S forming. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.” (1 Cor 10:26) Such then is Christ, JEHOVAH’S own providing for curing the souls of his people. So that in the salt of the covenant we offer nothing of our own for acceptance, but what God hath first given to us.3

You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing.
With all your offerings you shall offer salt.
Grace.
The one who blots out your offenses for his own sake.
The Spirit of God.
The Word of God.

In the salt of the covenant, we offer nothing of our own for acceptance, but what God has first given us.

2 Chron 13:5 – Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? (ESV)

Live a life of love.

Eph 5:1-2 – So imitate God, as his dear children; and live a life of love, just as also the Messiah loved us, indeed, on our behalf gave himself up as an offering, as a slaughtered sacrifice to God with a pleasing fragrance. (CJB)

Our true identity.

1 Cor 5:7-8 – So get rid of this “yeast.” Our true identity is flat and plain, not puffed up with the wrong kind of ingredient. The Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has already been sacrificed for the Passover meal, and we are the Unraised Bread part of the Feast. So let’s live out our part in the Feast, not as raised bread swollen with the yeast of evil, but as flat bread — simple, genuine, unpretentious. (MSG)

God will throw a feast for all the people of the world.

Isa 25:6-9 – But here on this mountain, God-of-the-Angel-Armies will throw a feast for all the people of the world, A feast of the finest foods, a feast with vintage wines, a feast of seven courses, a feast lavish with gourmet desserts. And here on this mountain, God will banish the pall of doom hanging over all peoples, The shadow of doom darkening all nations. Yes, he’ll banish death forever. And God will wipe the tears from every face. He’ll remove every sign of disgrace From his people, wherever they are. Yes! God says so!

Also at that time, people will say, “Look at what’s happened! This is our God! We waited for him and he showed up and saved us! This God, the one we waited for! Let’s celebrate, sing the joys of his salvation. (MSG)

Look. See!
This is our God!
We waited for him
And he showed up
And he saved us!

Wait: to bind together, perhaps by twisting, i.e. collect; to expect.4

2 Chron 13:5 – Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? (ESV)

What word or phrase stirs you? Take some time to murmur and mumble the word/s, taking a kind of pleasure in making the sounds and getting the feel of the meaning. Take in what God wants to give you that will make you more yourself, created in his image and likeness.5

Oratio.

Response. Leave your thinking aside and simply let your heart speak to God. This response is inspired by your reflection on the Word of God.

Prayer means yearning for the simple presence of God, for a personal understanding of his word, for knowledge of his will and for capacity to hear and obey him. It is thus something much more than uttering petitions for good things external to our own deepest concerns…

We wish to gain a true evaluation of ourselves and of the world so as to understand the meaning of our life as children of God redeemed from sin and death. We wish to gain a true loving knowledge of God, our Father and Redeemer. We wish to lose ourselves in his love and rest in him. We wish to hear his word and respond to it with our whole being. We wish to know his merciful will and submit to it in its totality. These are the aims and goals of meditation and oratio.6

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

Contemplatio.

Rest. Let go of your own ideas, plans and meditations, your holy words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still small voice. As you listen, you are gradually transformed from within. Take what you read in the Word of God into your daily life. The way you live is the test of the authenticity of your prayer.

Christ’s rest is not a rest from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections—of will, heart, imagination, conscience—because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development.7

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Sanctification: A. Noun. hagiasmos (<START GREEK>a)giasmo/$ <END GREEK>, NT:38), “sanctification,” is used of (a) separation to God, 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; (b) the course of life befitting those so separated, 1 Thess 4:3,4,7; Rom 6:19,22; 1 Tim 2:15; Heb 12:14. “Sanctification is that relationship with God into which men enter by faith in Christ, Acts 26:18; 1 Cor 6:11, and to which their sole title is the death of Christ, Eph 5:25,26; Col 1:22; Heb 10:10,29; 13:12.

“Sanctification is also used in NT of the separation of the believer from evil things and ways. This sanctification is God’s will for the believer, 1 Thess 4:3, and His purpose in calling him by the gospel, v. 7; it must be learned from God, v. 4, as He teaches it by His Word, John 17:17,19, cf. Ps 17:4; 119:9, and it must be pursued by the believer, earnestly and undeviatingly, 1 Tim 2:15; Heb 12:14. For the holy character, hagiosune, 1 Thess 3:13, is not vicarious, i. e., it cannot be transferred or imputed, it is an individual possession, built up, little by little, as the result of obedience to the Word of God, and of following the example of Christ, Matt 11:29; John 13:15; Eph 4:20; Phil 2:5, in the power of the Holy Spirit, Rom 8:13; Eph 3:16.

“The Holy Spirit is the Agent in sanctification, Rom 15:16; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; cf. 1 Cor 6:11…. The sanctification of the Spirit is associated with the choice, or election, of God; it is a Divine act preceding the acceptance of the Gospel by the individual.”

From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 115, 271.

For synonymous words see HOLINESS.

  1. Verb. hagiazo (<START GREEK>a(gia/zw <END GREEK>, NT:37), “to sanctify,” “is used of (a) the gold adorning the Temple and of the gift laid on the altar, Matt 23:17,19; (b) food, 1 Tim 4:5; (c) the unbelieving spouse of a believer, 1 Cor 7:14; (d) the ceremonial cleansing of the Israelites, Heb 9:13; (e) the Father’s Name, Luke 11:2; (f) the consecration of the Son by the Father, John 10:36; (g) the Lord Jesus devoting Himself to the redemption of His people, John 17:19; (h) the setting apart of the believer for God, Acts 20:32; cf. Rom 15:16; (i) the effect on the believer of the Death of Christ, Heb 10:10, said of God, and 2:11; 13:12, said of the Lord Jesus; (j) the separation of the believer from the world in his behavior — by the Father through the Word, John 17:17,19; (k) the believer who turns away from such things as dishonor God and His gospel, 2 Tim 2:21; (l) the acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ, 1 Peter 3:15.

“Since every believer is sanctified in Christ Jesus, 1 Cor 1:2, cf. Heb 10:10, a common NT designation of all believers is ‘saints,’ hagioi, i. e., ‘sanctified’ or ‘holy ones.’ Thus sainthood, or sanctification, is not an attainment, it is the state into which God, in grace, calls sinful men, and in which they begin their course as Christians, Col 3:12; Heb 3:1.”

From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 113, 114.

(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

2https://www.ocarm.org/en/carmelites/what-lectio-divina

5“Meditate (hagah) is a bodily action; it involves murmuring and mumbling words, taking a kind of physical pleasure in making the sounds of the words, getting the feel of the meaning as the syllables are shaped by larynx and tongue and lips. Isaiah used this word “meditate” for the sounds that a lion makes over its prey (Isa 31:4). They purr and growl in pleasurable anticipation of taking in what will make them more themselves, strong, lithe, swift.” From: Peterson, Eugene H. (1991). Answering God: The Psalms As Tools For Prayer (pg 26). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

3SALT: We meet with so many portions of Scripture where this word is used, and in senses so very different from each other, that it merits our more particular attention. The Israelites called it Melach—and probably from the sovereign properties with which it is endued.

I shall beg to set before the reader some of the Scriptures where we meet with it, in order that we may have a better apprehension of the design of God the Holy Ghost in the use of it. I shall begin with those which speak of its destructive quality.

The first account we read of salt is Gen 14:3; where mention is made of the Salt Sea in the vale of Siddim; and this is probably what elsewhere is called the Dead Sea, forming the spot where once stood Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain, which the Lord destroyed by fire, and over which Jordan in the seasons of its overflowing pours itself. It is said even to the present hour to send up such steams of a sulphureous nature, as to kill every bird attempting to fly over it.

The next account of salt is in the instance of Lot’s wife made a pillar of salt. (Gen 19:26) We read in the prophecy of Ezekiel also concerning the miry places, and the marshy places, which were never to be healed, but to be given to salt. (Ezek 47:11) And the prophets Jeremiah and Zephaniah have much the same expressions concerning the perpetual barrenness of lands given to salt, (Jer 17:6; Zeph 2:9) The psalmist saith, (Ps 107:34) that the Lord turneth a fruitful land into saltness, (so the margin renders it) for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

Those instances may be sufficient, in the view of the Scripture, concerning salt, where its use is marked in a way of destruction. Let us now look into the holy volume again for passages where an opposite quality is described, as resulting from the appointment of it.

The first account we meet with where salt is directed to be used in the way of a blessing is in Lev 2:13, “And every oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offerings; with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” So again when the prophet Elisha sweetened the waters of Jericho, he did it by casting a cruse of salt into them; and this was done by commission from the Lord, for the prophet added, “Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren and.” (2 Kings 2:21) And that salt was considered in the light of a blessing it is said, (2 Chron 13:5) “that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him, and to his sons by a covenant of salt.” Hence we find also that Jesus called his disciples the salt of the earth, as if to intimate that his grace in them preserved the earth from universal putrefaction. (Matt 5:13) And elsewhere the Lord said, “have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mark 9:50) And his servant Paul figuratively recommended the church that their speech should be always with grace seasoned with salt. (Col 4:6)

From both those views of salt, according to the holy Scripture, in being appointed as a figure of evil and of good, it becomes a very interesting enquiry to know yet somewhat more particularly the mind of God the Holy Ghost respecting the use of it. And if I do not greatly err, that service in the church concerning the salt of the oblation, throws a great light upon the whole. We there read that every oblation of the meat-offering was to be seasoned with salt. The salt was never to be wanting; with all offerings the salt was to be offered. And what gives a strong leading feature to the whole was this, that this was called “the salt of the covenant of JEHOVAH.” (Lev 2:13)

Now if we first consider the property of salt, that it is to save from corruption, we discover that the salt, which was never to be omitted in the offering, was the grand object the Lord had regard to in the whole. It is expressly called “the salt of the covenant of thy God.” Supposing then that this figuratively sets forth the Lord Jesus Christ, we instantly perceive that such is the importance that his person, blood, and righteousness, should be in and with all our offerings, that there can be no coming to the Father but by him. Where Christ is not, there is no savour; it is his blood which gives a fragrancy and a perfume to our most holy things, And if Jesus be the salt of the covenant of our God, and with all our offerings he be first and last presented, both the Alpha and Omega, in our view, as he is in the view of God our Father, then is that Scripture blessedly fulfilled which the Lord delivered by the prophet: “For in mine holy mountain in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me. There will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. I will accept you with your sweet savour; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek 20:40-42) Observe, your sweet savour! and the Holy Ghost by Paul, calls Christ’s sacrifice a sweet-smelling savour. (Eph 5:2)

There is another consideration in the view of the subject which serves to confirm the doctrine yet farther, namely, the universal use of salt. It is essential to all the purposes of food. It not only ministers to give a taste to the several articles of meat, but to preserve animal life from leprosy, and similar diseases. What is called curing of meat, that is, salting it, hath much signification of a spiritual nature in it. I do not presume to say as much so as to decide upon it, but I venture to believe that the term of “curing of meat by salt” took its rise from the circumstance of the divine cure of our nature by the salt of the covenant. Job saith, “Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt’?” (Job 6:6) Much more may it be said, Can our poor nature be accepted but in Christ? Can our nature be cured and preserved from everlasting corruption but by the Lord Jesus?

Once more—salt is of the Lord’s own providing: it is among the natural productions of the earth. There is indeed a process of art now used for refining salt, and making it minister to various ways of usefulness; but the rock salt in its own pure nature is not of human production nor contrivance; like the earth itself, it is of JEHOVAH’S forming. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.” (1 Cor 10:26) Such then is Christ, JEHOVAH’S own providing for curing the souls of his people. So that in the salt of the covenant we offer nothing of our own for acceptance, but what God hath first given to us. JEHOVAH is very jealous of his honour. “An altar of earth shall thou make unto me: and if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shall not build it of hewn stone, for if thou lift up thy tool upon it thou hast polluted it.” (Ex 20:24-25)

Fourthly, if the reader will consult the context concerning this meat-offering with the salt of the covenant, he will find that it was an offering also made by fire unto the Lord. (See Lev 2:13-16) Hence the salt of the covenant was not simply to cleanse and render pure for acceptance, but it was to sprinkle the offering made by fire. Hence therefore, when the offering was offered with the salt of the covenant, and the Lord gave token of his acceptance by consuming the sacrifice with fire, this formed a confirmation of the divine favour. This is beautifully explained, Lev 9:24 “And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat, which when all the people saw they shouted and fell on their faces.” Here was both God’s acceptance of the salted offering, and testimony at the same time given that the consumption of the sacrifice became the salvation of the people. The fire that consumed the one would, but for the acceptance of the salted sacrifice, have consumed the other. Well might the redeemed shout for joy while they fell on their faces with the lowest reverence.

Now if the reader will pause over the subject, and by looking back take a retrospective view of the whole, he will perceive that salt in the church of God had a twofold dispensation: and, like Him whom it evidently prefigured, it became “the savor of life unto life, or of death unto death?” (2 Cor 2:16) Jesus was set for “the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” (Luke 2:34) Where Jesus is like the salt of the covenant, he will preserve from putrefaction, “That little leaven shall leaven the whole lump.” (1 Cor 5:6) Like the tree of Marah, Jesus makes the waters sweet. (Ex 15:25) Like the cruse of salt at Jericho, though salt in its own nature will make sweet water brackish, Jesus will heal the spring, and make it wholesome. In short, where Jesus is there is the salt of the covenant—”Destroy it not, there is a blessing in it.” (Isa 65:8)

On the other hand, “if the gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost.” (2 Cor 4:3) Where Christ, the salt of the covenant, is rejected, that land, that people, that family, is given up to perpetual, barrenness: it never can be healed. Oh, for grace to know our mercies, and truly to value them! For he that now saves from corruption, will one day be the everlasting condemnation of those that reject him. “For (he saith himself) every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt have lost his saltness,” (if Jesus be not the savour of life unto life) “wherewith will ye season it?” (who can then give acceptance to the sinner?) Christ” becomes the savour of death unto death”—graciously therefore he adds, “have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mark 9:40,50)

Very largely as I have trespassed on this article, I cannot forbear, by way of confirmation to the whole, to add the relation given by a traveller concerning the usage in the eastern nations of making solemn engagements with salt. He tells us, that one of those people, willing to assure him of the seriousness of his promise to him, and that he would certainly fulfil it, called to a servant to bring him bread and salt; as soon as it was brought, he took a little of the salt between his fingers, and looking very gravely, he put it on a morsel of the bread and ate it, assuring me that now I might rely on his promise. Baron Du Tott. Is it not possible that this might have been a custom received by tradition, however understood, and worse applied, of the offering made with salt in the Scripture?

(from Hawker’s Poor Man’s Dictionary. Biblesoft formatted electronic database. Copyright © 2015 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

4Wait: OT:6960 <START HEBREW>hw*q*<END HEBREW> qavah (kaw-vaw’); a primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), i.e. collect; (figuratively) to expect: KJV – gather (together), look, patiently, tarry, wait (for, on, upon). (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5“Meditate (hagah) is a bodily action; it involves murmuring and mumbling words, taking a kind of physical pleasure in making the sounds of the words, getting the feel of the meaning as the syllables are shaped by larynx and tongue and lips. Isaiah used this word “meditate” for the sounds that a lion makes over its prey (Isa 31:4). They purr and growl in pleasurable anticipation of taking in what will make them more themselves, strong, lithe, swift.” From: Peterson, Eugene H. (1991). Answering God: The Psalms As Tools For Prayer (pg 26). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

6Thomas Merton (2014). Contemplative Prayer (pg 45-46). New York, NY: Image Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC.

7Rest: anapausis (<START GREEK>a)na/pausi$<END GREEK>, NT:372), “cessation, refreshment, rest” (ana, “up,” pauo, “to make to cease”), the constant word in the Sept. for the Sabbath “rest,” is used in Matt 11:29; here the contrast seems to be to the burdens imposed by the Pharisees. Christ’s “rest” is not a “rest” from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections — of will, heart, imagination, conscience — because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development” (J. Patrick, in Hastings’ Bib. Dic.); it occurs also in Matt 12:43; Luke 11:24; Rev 4:8, RV, “(they have no) rest” [KJV, “(they) rest (not)”], where the noun is the object of the verb echo, “to have”; so in 14:11… (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

 

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