Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Salty Pledge of Trust

“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 underfoot.” 
---Jesus    Matthew 5:13 (NIV)

Add salt to all your offerings—this was God’s instruction to the Israelites. The fact that salt might be in short supply plus a necessity for healthy living was not to hold them back. They were to give out of obedience and love. Did they follow God’s commands? Do we?

This whole give-and-take thing is all about relationship. God desired (and still does) a relationship with His people. But a relationship is reciprocal—it takes two. 

Imagine a marriage where one spouse loves and gives continuously, attending daily to the needs of the other half. Now consider the feelings of the devoted spouse as the partner barely acknowledges his/her faithfulness, taking everything for granted, receiving it all, and returning nothing or something only out of duty. The pain would break a heart.

Or consider the marriage where one spouse dotes on the other one continually. Love oozes from every word and action. But the other half callously throws that love away by turning to someone else. Mercy and forgiveness may pour from the heart of the adoring companion, but what about trust? Can the reckless lover be trusted? Does the devoted partner trust the relationship? 

Our relationship with God can sometimes be very similar. He is our loving Creator, devoted Savior, and faithful Redeemer. He yearns for a relationship with us. He’s given us life and daily provides for our needs. He is faithful to everything He says and does. He longs for our love, obedience, and trust. But what do we do? We turn away at times and get distracted by other gods and the things of this world. 

A relationship, like a marriage, involves a covenant. A covenant is a committed agreement between two parties. Each side agrees to fulfill their promises and carry out all responsibilities. Throughout history when treaties were made, salt sealed the deal. Throughout the Middle East when pacts were made, salt was used in the ceremonies. Throughout Scripture when covenants were made, salt was added. All agreements used salt.

Salt’s enduring qualities symbolized forever. Covenants represented committed relationships. Devoted relationships involved trust. Adding salt to the agreements meant each side trusted the other. 

Consider Noah, a man who found favor in God’s eyes. When God decided to put an end to all the corruption and violence on the earth, He made a covenant with Noah. God would save Noah and his family, but Noah first had to begin building a boat where there was no water. Can you imagine the taunts he received from onlookers? Was he embarrassed? Did he contemplate dropping his end of the bargain? 

Scripture states that Noah did everything the Lord commanded him to do. Trust was involved in this covenantal relationship. Noah followed God’s directives and God saved Noah and his family. The agreement endured.  

After the flood, God made another covenant with Noah to never again destroy the earth with water. The preservation of this covenant required God’s faithfulness and Noah’s trust. Even if Noah encountered a cloudy day, he needed to trust God’s word—refusing anxiety, receiving peace. Did he? Do we?

All through Scripture, over and over again, animal and grain sacrifices were made by the Israelites for the forgiveness of sins—the offering of salt was required for cleansing, purification, preservation, seasoning, and endurance. The covenantal relationship of God and His people called for trust. God faithfully provided His pardon, keeping His promise. Did the Israelites sacrifice their salt and offer God their love, obedience, and trust? Do we?

Time and time again God’s people failed Him. Their sacrifices offered continual, yet temporary absolution. When the time was right, God sent a once-for-all sacrifice through His Son, Jesus Christ—salt was symbolically added. Jesus died once and for all for the forgiveness of sins. 

Now the covenantal relationship with God requires belief in Jesus who cleanses and purifies our lives. He preserves us for Himself and seasons us with His grace and love so that others may see and believe. He offers enduring love and life everlasting. This bond demands our trust. He is faithful to His agreement. Are we?

This is God’s sacrifice—For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV) 

Do you have a relationship with this God? Will you add the salt of trust to this relationship? 

Next week we'll continue to season our salty relationship with Christ Jesus.......

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