“Season all your grain offerings with salt to remind you of God’s eternal covenant. Never forget to add salt to your grain offerings.”
Never forget to add salt. Why? Did God taste the difference?
It seemed like a strange command to me, so I dug a little deeper and was intrigued with the cultural parallel. Apparently, it was a thing to “share salt” with another person. AKA, a shared meal was a pact of loyalty, and there was a level of trust established once people had eaten together.
An oriental considers as sacred the expression “bread and salt.” When it is said, “There is bread and salt between us,” it is the same as saying, “We are bound together by a solemn covenant.” A foe will not “taste the salt” of his adversary unless he is ready to be reconciled to him.
-Fred H. Wright, Manners and Customs of Bible Lands
Perhaps this is why the older brother remained outside when his father threw a feast for the Prodigal Son. A meal together meant friendship. Shared salt meant you were on the same side. And here in Leviticus, God drew this symbol of hospitality, loyalty and peace into Isreal’s worship.
The Amplified version says it this way: “ You shall season every grain offering with salt so that the salt (preservation) of the covenant of your God will not be missing from your grain offering.”
So God and Israel “shared salt” with each grain offering and He told his people to never forget the salt when they came to Him. It was a tactile memorial of their agreement, as grain by grain, they were prompted to remember His promises and keep them close.
I think what I noticed most was the word never. It carries the tone of warning, of heaviness, of grave importance.
“Never forget to add salt.”
NKJV reads: “You shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking…with all of your offerings you shall add salt.”
In other words: Do this every single time. Never bring an offering to me and leave out the reminder of what I have offered you. Worship. Thank. Confess. Sacrifice. Surrender. Pray. Do all of these, yes. But Remember most of all. Come to me and sprinkle the symbol of my covenant with you into every interaction. Do not, in your rituals, forget who I am and what I have promised.
Never forget the salt.
How much of my interaction with you is steering my mind back to the salt? How often do I become concerned, frustrated, and stressed because I have lost sight of who you are and what you have promised me?
Like the presence of salt in a meal, a mindfulness of your promises changes the whole experience. It’s not a good idea to leave it out.
Israel was given a covenant: obey and God would bless them, disobey and He would curse them. But I have been given “a far better covenant.” (Hebrews 8:6) I am not just one of your own people, I am your own child: made righteous, wholly loved, given power, offered rest, called to purpose, washed clean, held safe.
How much more important it is that I never forget the salt?
Remind me today, Lord, in all my tasks and interactions, to come before you often, and to keep close in mind who you are and all you have promised me. It is the savory flavor of hope to my soul.