Praise יהוה our Elohim! I always look so forward to us coming together as a family and sharing the goodness of His Word. Shabbat Shalom! As I was reading Wayyiqra (Leviticus) this week, I was again intrigued in the process of the sacrificial system and the various offerings – the ascending offerings, the grain offerings, the peace offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings – we see the wonderful work of our Master and Saviour יהושע, and what He has done for us. For the sin and guilt offerings could not be offered before the ascending offerings for atonement and the meal offerings and peace offerings! Also interesting to note in the process of the offerings is that each male bringing the offering from the livestock, herd or flock would slay the sacrifice themselves and then the priest would sprinkle the blood on the slaughter place and arrange the pieces on the fire and burn the offerings. For me this is a great picture of the work of our High Priest who reigns forever in the order of Melek-Tzedek! He was the ascending offering making atonement for us and was our grain offering having no sin in Him yet took upon our sin and is the Prince of Peace, giving us peace with Elohim, removing our sin and guilt. It is because of His sacrifice that we can come and confess our sins to the Father and be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness – halleluYah!
But what stood out for me in this section was Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 2:13:
“And season with salt every offering of your grain offering, and do not allow the salt of the covenant of your Elohim to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you bring salt.”
Salt! All your offerings you bring with salt! As I pondered on this I began digging into what this is saying to us today. Now we know that Romans 12:1 tells us that we are to offer up our bodies as a living offering, set-apart and well pleasing to Elohim for this is our reasonable worship. Having said that, it is clear then that if we are to be an offering, living that is, unto יהוה, then we too are to be salted – for all offerings must have salt! My message tonight is called ‘Seasoned with Salt’, and I would like to briefly explore the relevance of this for us today. I have already read from Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 2:13, but I would also like to read a couple of verses that speak of salt: Turn with me, firstly to:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:10-13 “Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’ sake, because theirs is the reign of the heavens. 11 “Blessed are you when they reproach and persecute you, and falsely say every wicked word against you, for My sake. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, because your reward in the heavens is great. For in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt becomes tasteless, how shall it be seasoned? For it is no longer of any use but to be thrown out and to be trodden down by men.”
Marqos (Mark) 9:49-50 “For everyone shall be seasoned with fire, and every offering shall be seasoned with salt. 50 “Salt is good, but if the salt becomes tasteless, how shall you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace among one another.”
Luqas (Luke) 14:34-35 “The salt is good, but if the salt becomes tasteless, with what shall it be seasoned? 35 “It is not fit for land, nor for manure, they throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
In the passages we have just read we see the words of יהושע speaking of salt; In Mattithyahu it is at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount connected with the Beatitudes and we will see why that is shortly. In Marqos it is joined immediately to not causing offense or others to sin and in Luqas it is supplemented to a series of sayings regarding the conditions for discipleship. In other words it is clear that salt carries with it significant meaning in our lives being offered up as a daily living offering. But why salt, what is it about salt that gives the offerings as being acceptable and carrying such depth of meaning?
Salt or otherwise known as Sodium Chloride is a substance that became a symbol of fidelity (which is a quality or state of being faithful) and constancy or consistency. In the Leviticus offerings salt was used as a preservative to typify the eternal nature of the ‘Covenant of Salt’ existing between יהוה and Yisra’ĕl. The term covenant of salt refers to an everlasting ordinance, and is a figurative form of expression founded upon the conservative property of salt which keeps meat from corruption. We see the instruction for salting being used over 35 times in the Scriptures:
Salt is used for:
Seasoning – Iyoḇ/Job 6:6
Offerings – Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 2:13 / Yeḥezqĕl (Ezekiel) 43:24 / Bemiḏbar (Numbers) 18:19
Purifying waters – Melaḵim Bět (2 Kings 2:20-21)
Scattered on site of a devoted city – Shophetim (Judges) 9:45
As we all know, I am sure, salt preserves, and the application of this scripturally is a picture of eternity and as I have said the perpetuity of the covenant. Salt is also a cleansing and healing agent and it renders the slaughtered animal unsusceptible to outside influences and is a very clear reminder to us that the absolute covenant of יהוה is not be altered in any way. Salt can be ground up finer and finer, yet it is always salt – so too with the Word of יהוה – we can dig deeper and deeper and make it finer – it is still His eternal Word! The Hebrew word for salt is מֶלַח (melach) and to season (with salt) is מָלַח (malach) which also means to rub with salt.
The understanding of the Hebrew word for salt gives us the meaning and picture of that which is pulverised – into fine grains! Heat or water cannot destroy it, and the only thing that can destroy salt is another chemical agent, and if salt loses its saltiness in cannot be made salt again! But we also have to ask how does salt lose its saltiness or flavour and preserving or purifying properties? By sitting idle for long periods exposed to the elements, not being used!!!
The English word seasoned is from the French word ‘assaisoner’ which means to ripen and so the idea of salt also bringing to maturity that which is not, through seasoning is a great picture of how the Word matures us as we season ourselves with it constantly. When maturing meat – it is the salt that brings to maturity the meat keeping it from any bacteria.
As followers of the Messiah, as a daily living offering, we are called in a sense to be ‘salty’ believers’. Salt represents also a person’s willingness to do what יהושע demands of His talmidim (disciples). In Luqas (Luke) 14:34-35 which we read we see that if the willingness turns into unwillingness – in other words – if a talmid (disciple) returns to worldly ways after experiencing the truth and joy of following יהוה’s way – what else is left to restore him? NOTHING!
The question I ask tonight to us all is “Are you seasoned?” “Are you seasoned with the salt of the pure unadulterated Word of יהוה that has not been mixed with other worldly chemical substances of profane worship?”
The context of יהושע’s words in calling us the ‘salt of the earth’ was linked to persecution! That is why I read in context Mattithyahu (Matthew) 5:10-13, for יהושע tells us that we are the salt of the earth straight after telling us how blessed we are when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake and for the sake of His Name. It is the very persecutions and trials that will ‘grind’ us or rather ‘pulverise’ us to becoming effective salt that can be used. If we undergo the grinding process of His Word – Living obediently to it and a disobedient world, we must put in to practice straight away that which we learn and discover or else the purpose will be lost, and besides Yaʽaqoḇ (James) tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, as it matures us. If we complain instead, sadly the salt of the Word being worked out in us will be wasted!
Iḇ’rim (Hebrews) 12 tells us that discipline is not always pleasant yet it yields great results – fruit of righteousness, and so we are to not moan at circumstances and ‘waste the salt’ so to speak but rather strengthen the hands that hang down and the weak knees and make straight paths for your feet – in other words stop moaning about the difficulties of being obedient – just walk it – walk according to the Truth and enjoy the salt being produced in you.
We do not know what tomorrow holds for us, and worrying does not help. What value is it to יהוה to teach us if we simply do nothing about what He teaches us? However if we apply what we learn and do it right the first time – the effects will last forever – that is the eternal properties of salt!
We are the salt of the earth – in other words we are here to preserve the world from quickly becoming totally corrupt – there are many salty believers – more than Sodom and Gomorrah! If we become tasteless or neutralised with what will the earth be salted? The Greek word used for ‘tasteless’ is ‘moraino’ which means ‘lose its flavour, become neutralised or become foolish – that which is without knowledge’! How are we ‘neutralised’ or rather how are we brought to the point of being ‘of no effect’? By mixing with foreign substances – anything that is not in line with obedience to the purity of the Word!
Salt was used in war time when a city was captured – the crops and soil would be salted in order that the enemy’s city would no longer be able to produce from the ground – destroying the productivity of the enemy. In Shophetim (Judges) 9:45 we see Aḇimeleḵ after conquering the city of Sheḵem, he salted the city. Salting a city was a ritual to symbolise the perpetual desolation of the city, salting it around so no crops could grow there. It is worthy to note that Sheḵem was not built for another 150 years after this act of salting!
We are the salt of the earth, and through being crushed through persecution, as we walk in total obedience to the Word we salt the earth preventing the evil crops of the enemy from growing where we have walked and we take back ground. Every place where your foot shall tread! As we walk in obedience to the witness of יהושע not even the gates of hades will be able to stand – and we destroy the very working of the seed of the enemy in and around our lives!
This speaks to us corporately as a body of Messiah as well as individually – perhaps there are still some evil crops growing in your backyard so to speak as you have not used the salt required which has now become ineffective and useless!
Living sacrifices, offered with salt – this is total dedication – excuses are a sign that there is no salt in you!!! Yes trying to excuse pure dedication and devotion to following the unadulterated Word of יהוה shows that salt, His salt is not in or being produced in you! יהושע said we will be salted with fire, and if you do not want to go through the ‘fire’ of trials and persecution then you will not be salted – and will and up making excuses! יהוה is a consuming fire and the fire of His Torah is His salt that is produced in us, that seasons us – to preserve us and protect us from contamination. When one tries to remove the salt by nullifying the Word they become useless – pretty much what the western church has become – ‘useless salt’ – as they have nullified this very Word of Elohim! Nullifying His Torah, His very instruction and commands for set-apart living and mixing it with foreign substances of man’s traditions and customs!
We are to be salty believers – seasoned with salt! So what are salty believers?
A – SALTY BELIEVERS ARE NOT AFRAID TO LIVE SET-APART LIVES IN A CORRUPT AND LAWLESS WORLD!
Salty believers are bold in their faith. Many in the world are very bold about their likes and beliefs – you get bold politicians, bold sport fans who are very vocal about their loyalties. Salty believers are bold for יהושע, not afraid to live set-apart.
Sadly though the world has produced a salt substitute or counterfeit salt – having the appearance of salt and even carrying ‘good intentions’ yet it is not real salt and therefore does not last – does not heal – does not preserve and does not mature. What are some of these substitutes?
1 – Education for edification!!!
Is education wrong? By no means – however what is being taught and the programmed system of education on shaping the minds according to man’s ways as opposed to the way of יהוה is a counterfeit salt! You can educate the flesh till it speaks and acts and looks so sophisticated – yet it will still be lost if the person does not know יהושע and receive the free gift of salvation and walk it out in obedience! Education must be from the basis and foundation of edifying יהוה, sadly the world has replaced all form of edification unto יהוה by offering a counterfeit salt of ‘education’ as the means to survive.
2 – Good deeds for Good doctrine!!!
Again are good deeds wrong? By no means – but what good works does the Scriptures speak of – the good works are the living practical obedience to the Word of Elohim. Today many have substituted what they would call ‘good works’ for sound Scriptural Truth. They have turned and twisted the Scriptures to make them meet their lifestyle until they have eventually forgotten what the Word actually says. The emerging church is an example – they adapt the Word to meet the culture – this is twisting and corrupting the Word for self-gain and having a sense of ‘feeling good’ about oneself never being changed by the true fire of the Torah as it is substituted for good deeds in order to appease the conscience.
Education and good deeds do not save you – that is only by the Blood of יהושע – our perfect sacrifice. What we must do is become educated in the Word and let the good deeds of the Word be lived out daily that the world may acknowledge יהוה on the day He comes!
3 – Social gospel for the True Way!!!
So many today have been trapped by the counterfeit salt of a social gospel – going to a church on a Sun-day to make an appearance and be sociable, they may hear a sermon and yet leave as empty as they came. It has become socially acceptable to go to church on Sun-day! As I look at Scriptures the early believers were far from being socially accepted – they were persecuted – they were the salt of the earth that preserved the Word for us today! The social gospel has synchronised pagan worship with it in an attempt at worshipping the Creator, yet this form of worship יהוה tells us is an abomination unto Him. The True way is not Sun-day!!! Keeping his commands and remembering His Sabbath is the sign between us and יהוה forever, and boy let me tell you that remembering to keep the Sabbath as the Torah instructs is not socially acceptable today, even within the western pagan influenced worship system called ‘church’. However you need to ask yourself whether you want to be socially acceptable or walk in the True Way? Walking in the Truth will mean for many that they will have to let go off some of their socially acceptable practices on a Shabbat – like rugby braais etc. We are to not substitute the purity of His Word the True salty way for a counterfeit salt, and the social gospel being preached today is an out and out counterfeit salt. May we be encouraged to walk the True Way – the salty way – with no substitutes!!!
There are many substitutes or rather counterfeit salts if you will, and we must ensure that we are the True salt of the earth – that which lasts, preserves, protects, seasons, flavours and nourishes unto maturity.
B – SALTY BELIEVERS ARE OF GREAT VALUE!
When יהושע said these words – You are the salt of the earth – He was speaking to a handful of disciples. May I remind you tonight that True Salty Believers have never been the majority! We have great value. In ancient times salt served as money and our word ‘salary’ comes from the Latin word ‘solarium’ which referred to the payment of Roman soldiers in salt, and hence we also have the expression, ‘he is worth his salt’! Salt was actually paid in large chunks and you would not grind up any portion until it was ready to be used in order to maintain its flavour and preserving properties. In those days they did not have fridges and freezers for their meat and it was used to preserve food and was actually the main means to keeping food. Today we think of salt in a shaker on a table at food time which is often wasted. Yet if we depended upon it to preserve our food, boy would it quickly become very valuable. We are the salt of the earth, witnesses of His salvation, for through His salvation poured out for us we are preserved through eternity – henceforth the ‘covenant of salt’.
The more we witness the more we keep moral decay and moral corruption from taking over. We are the salt that must preserve the Good News – the Torah which is now written upon our hearts and present it to the world through our obedient living. We are great value – as you know in our modern society with advancing technology, anything that lasts is considered as having greater value. Much of what you buy today barely lasts for a year before needing to be replaced. But we as the salt of the earth have great value – we carry the value of eternity – salt represents our eternal everlasting value in Messiah!
C – SALTY BELIEVERS REPRESENT A MIRACLE!
Did you know that salt in itself is a miracle? It is made up of Chloride and Sodium, Chloride (chlorine) on its own can be very harmful, but together with Sodium it makes an essential part of our diet. On our own we are just poison, but being made salt in Him we become an essential part to the life of the Body of Messiah! The fact that He can take us, sinners and in washing our impurities away through the Blood of יהושע and the continual sanctification through the very Living Word we are miraculously changed from being a poison to being a preservative!!!
Now we must also realise some properties of salt – salt can irritate – if put on open wounds or in the eyes for healing, or even for sinus rinsing – it irritates and burns! Well the same effect we may see as we walk salty – many are irritated by a salty believers witnessing. Walking in Torah ‘rubs’ many people the wrong way, as it is very irritating in their wounds of sin which is lawlessness or Torahlessness. No we obviously do not go out there intentionally to irritate people, but by or witnessing we must be aware that many will fail to see the good intent and loving concern of our witness – do not let this cause you to become salt-less and useless – use it and be useful in the hands of the Almighty!
Salt as we know seasons and in Colossians 4:6 we are told that our words must always be seasoned with salt, knowing how to answer. Our conversations must be seasoned, which also carried the meaning of being prepared – always prepared to give an answer for the hope we have. If someone asks us why we do something that is in accordance with Torah – we are to be able to answer and show them.
For example – Why do we wear tzit-tzit? Well I am not sure, let me go and ask so and so – No! Take them to Bemiḏbar (Numbers) 15 and show them from the Word, allowing your live to be seen to be lining up with the Word!
Our speech seasoned with the Torah of יהוה will preserve us in this age and bring good flavour to others as we bring the peace and joy of His Word in every way!
I hope you get the principle here – you got to be a salty believer. But just how do we have salt in ourselves? By being immersed in the Word of יהוה. Listen, the world can be very attractive, yet a very distracting and destructive influence that can contaminate us and cause us to become salt-less. Our flesh would easily rather have us live in selfishness and we are daily tempted to forsake יהוה’s Truths, yet we are to ‘soak’ ourselves in His Word that we become changed and ‘salted’ for good use! I see this as a process of osmosis. Osmosis is the process of absorption in taking the particles of a solution and passing it through the membranes of another object. This process is used when one puts meat in a brine solution – or rather a salt solution. What I learnt in my hotel and catering years was that the best way of preparing meat of any kind was to first soak it in a brine solution, together with other substances such as sugar, honey and herbs etc. By doing this the process of osmosis causes the brine to enhance and effect the meat, by carrying the water through the meat and allowing the meat to soften and be flavoured throughout as the salt does the work of pulling all the flavours through.. Brining causes a state change in the cells so that they will draw and hold more water than before.
Osmosis also inhibits bacterial and fungal growth, so leaving meat rubbed in salt, such as drying for biltong prevents bacterial and fungal growth in the drying process
Now this is exactly the same process that is required – soaking or brining in the Word will cause a state change to our cells able to hold more water – perhaps a great metaphor for the Ruach – the more we salt ourselves the more we are able to hold the Ruach. Brining meat tenders the meat no matter how tough it is making it juicy and pleasing to the taste, and so too the soaking or salting process of the Word will soften the hardest of hearts and prevent fungal growth. Now soaking takes time and is so worth it! When you want to soak some meat in salt solution for a great meal, you need to let it soak for a while – depending on the size of the meat it can take anything from a couple of hours to days – which takes diligent planning and discipline. We live in a time where people do not think what they are going to eat for tomorrow or even for dinner today, they decide at the point of needing to eat – that is why fast food has become so popular and easy, although carries no benefits for a healthy diet. The same is true for us today, in order to be of effect and ‘taste’ like the Word, we need to be diligent and disciplined in soaking, always being prepared to give an answer for the hope we have in Messiah.
We are to be seasoned with salt and when we spend time in the Word, immersed in the Word not just dipping a finger to taste but truly immersed in the Word, we in a sense receive the reward or payment of this – a deposit if you will, like a large chunk of salt that will need to be pulverised in order to be of great effect – this will happen through fire – the trials of life – yet the eternal preserving properties of the Word will keep you from decaying and becoming infected. As we are salted we are to use that salt to eliminate the soil of the enemy, rendering it barren from bearing bad fruit. In other words, take the Word each day and live it out and apply The Truth of it in your life every day, do not discard it and so become useless and unfit for any other than being thrown out and trodden underfoot!
As we are seasoned with salt and are actively living as the salt of the earth may we truly render null and void the work of the enemy in our lives and preserve יהוה’s eternal Word in us, which will keep us fungal free until the Day of יהוה!
We are the salt of the earth – we are to be seasoned with salt – and pulverised to be of great value!!!