Sodium is a highly reactive element that can explode when it contacts water. Chlorine is poisonous to all living organisms. Yet together in the compound sodium chloride (salt) they are essential for life. Salt is another of the amazing items in this wondrous world that God created. This simple compound has greatly affected life on earth and has been used by God to relate to us and to teach us.
In modern America salt is found in great abundance, but in ancient times salt was often worth its weight in gold. Before refrigeration salt was used to preserve foods. Many countries used salt to prepare the dead for burial. It was therefore essential for survival and a part of cultural traditions. Trade routes were established just for the selling of salt. Countries went to war over it, and many countries levied taxes on salt. Salt was highly valued.
For the ancient Hebrews, salt was a sign of their covenant with God. Salt was added to their offerings to represent their covenant relationship. (See Leviticus 2:13) The salt covenant was also mentioned in relationship to King David’s promised eternal reign. (See 2 Chronicles 13:5)
Jesus used salt as an analogy when he taught, “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” (Matthew 5:13). We are the salt of the earth! We are the ones who bring flavor to the earth. This makes sense to us because salt is a part of our daily life.
Salt is a very useful item in God’s world both as a flavor enhancement and a preservative. Its properties also provided Jesus with a useful analogy to teach us. So for us who love and follow God, we can enjoy salt and be salt as we walk through God’s world.