January 22, 2021

A Salt Covenant?

Learn more about a salt covenant, which has much to do with the keeping of promises and with God's good will toward man.

Salt and light

How's the salt and light thing going this week?! (And the fasting/prayer?) Ready to move up to the 'big people table'? Check out Jon's message from last week.

One of our pastors, James Gray, passed on some fascinating information about salt from the Old Testament that I had never heard of before! (Thanks James!) Have you ever heard of a "salt covenant?" Here's what I found online:

Salt was used to express promises and friendship between people. It was even considered by the Greeks to be divine. Today in many Arab cultures, if two men partake of salt together they are sworn to protect one another-even if they had previously been enemies. In some cultures, people throw salt over their shoulders when they make a promise. Who knew sodium chloride was so important?

In the ancient world, ingesting salt was a way to make an agreement legally binding. If two parties entered into an agreement, they would eat salt together in the presence of witnesses, and that act would bind their contract. King Abijah's speech in 2 Chronicles 13:5 mentions just such a salt covenant: "Don't you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?" Here, Abijah refers to the strong, legally binding promise of God to give Israel to David and his sons forever.

The Old Testament Law commands the use of salt in all grain offerings and makes clear that the "salt of the covenant" should not be missing from the grain offerings. (Leviticus 2:13). Since the Levitical priests did not have land of their own, God promised to provide for them via the sacrifices of the people, and He called this promise of provision a "salt covenant." (Numbers 18:19). Salt has always been known for its preservative properties, and it is also possible God instructed the use of salt so that the meat would last longer and taste better-and thus be of more value to the priests who depended upon it for their daily food.

The idea of a salt covenant carries a great deal of meaning because of the value of salt. Today, salt is easy to come by in our culture, and we don't necessarily need it as a preservative because of refrigeration. But to the people of Jesus' day, salt was an important and precious commodity. So, when Jesus told His disciples that they were "the salt of the earth," He meant that believers have value in this world and are to have a preserving influence. (Matthew 5:13).

The salt covenant is never explicitly defined in the Bible. However, we can infer from the understanding of salt's value and the contexts in which a salt covenant is mentioned, that it has much to do with the keeping of promises and with God's good will toward man.

Our salt and light lessons continue this month!

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Raise your hand if you love these 3 things:

  1. God
  2. Kids
  3. Serving your neighbor

If you raised your hand, please email Christina Montague at cmontague@whitewatercrossing.org in Harbortown Kids today. We are in desperate need of 3 volunteers to help THIS Sunday during our second service. Specifically, we are looking for help in the nursery. These are our youngest disciples, ages newborn - 3 years old. These kiddos need some supervision and to know how much God loves them. Please consider joining us to be on mission during this COVID season!

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Watching online?

We would love to connect with you. You can sign up for our Online Connect by clicking HERE. If you are ready to take the next step in your faith journey and chat with a pastor, this is for you! It's a one-hour Zoom call with one of our pastors and others who register. And one of the best parts, if you register we will have pizza delivered to your door. You heard right? That's right! You matter that much to us. For those of you who are connected with us, you can help by sending this link or forward this email to someone you know who has been watching--or should start watching--church online!

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Golden Rule Respect

I'm sure many things are swirling through your head about our country. Life Center Manager, Jody Burgin shared some wise words he wrote in his journal this week. Worth passing on to you as you pray about being stronger salt and brighter light:

NEW YEAR, NEW PRESIDENT, NEW PROSPECTS, AND A NEW ATTITUDE - GOLDEN RULE RESPECT

With C19 vaccines heading to drugstores, another villainous disease threatens us that no amount of pharmaceuticals or PPE will prevent. It is the heinous disease of disrespect. The inoculation against it called civility begins in the human heart.

Jesus' words about treating people the same way you want to be treated are commonly known as the "Golden Rule." Here is how it reads: "Therefore, treat other people in the same way you would like to be treated." (Matthew 7:12).

It says to take some time, think it through, and decide how you want to be treated. Then, treat every single person that exact same way. How would you most like to be treated?

I want to be treated respectfully, courteously, and kindly. I would like it if people would think the best of me and not jump to conclusions about me. I would like for people to treat me like I am a unique, custom creation of God and not lump me in with a group of people they have already decided to hate.

The Golden Rule provides a cure for this disease of disrespect. Based on the Golden Rule, here are 3 tips that will get us moving in the right direction:

  1. Listen. Move from suspicion about someone different than you to curiosity. Instead of stereotyping and avoiding others, move toward them. Listen to people who look, believe, and think differently from you. Ask them to tell you their story. Ask them why they don't have a seat at the table. Ask about their barriers and feelings. Then listen. Don't interrupt or dominate. Respectful people listen.
  2. Learn. Learn from delightfully different others. You can differ without devaluing, diminishing, or demonizing them. Respectful people learn how to hold differences well. Thank God we have changed our mind about a few things. From the 1930s to the 1950s, doctors recommended smoking. Let that sink in. We have learned and changed. Respectful people learn.
  3. Live. Live it out. Live differently. Implement. Apply. Incorporate. Knowledge is useless if not applied. To learn is to change. For example, respectful people carefully choose their words. They are kind and inordinately courteous to others. Respectful people live respectfully.

The disease of disrespect is exposed. It is time to treat it. It begins with me as I listen, learn, and live. The power of "Golden Rule Respect" provides a rudder to guide us through the struggles before us.

When was the last time you reflected deeply on your own convictions regarding respect? The way we treat the people we disagree with the most says a lot about what we've learned about love. We'll know we're growing when our love for people supersedes our opinions about them.

On this day after the inauguration, I will be respectful by setting aside time to pray for our new administration and for our country.

"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Thanks, Jody. Let's all be 'Golden Rule' disciples right now. See you this Sunday.

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