Volume. XXI, No. 14
Monday, 02 October 2006

From the pastors heart: journey with salt - introduction

The UK government educates its people not to take more than 6g of salt a day.  It also says that taking too much salt will raise our blood pressure, which triples our risk of having a stroke, whatever our age.  It also says that too much salt is bad to our heart.  On the other hand, I have seen many people who are pouring salt on their food even before they taste them.  Some of them are also respectful medical professionals.  Sometimes I am confused about what is better as far as the use of salt is concerned.
Salt is also called sodium chloride.  It's the sodium in salt that can be bad for our health.  Sodium is usually listed in the nutritional information on food labels. Salt is also listed on some foods, but not all.  Here is a formula to know how much salt we are consuming: Salt = sodium x 2.5.  Of course, my purpose to write this article is not to give you any medical and health advice.  Instead, I hope to see the nature of salt and the history of its use, and to know its relevance to our spiritual life.
The Bible talks about salt at least 41 times.  Genesis 14:3 talks about the salt sea.  When Lot’s wife did not listen to the angels’ advice and turned to see her hometown, she became a pillar of salt in Genesis 19:26.  Leviticus 2:13 says about the use of salt in preparation for meat offerings (cf. Ezekiel 43:24). And also there is such a thing as the salt of the covenant of God.  Numbers 18:19 talks about the covenant of salt (2 Chronicles 13:5).  Salt had such significance to even name a city.  Joshua 15:62 says, “And Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and Engedi; six cities with their villages.”  Abimelech did an interesting act of spreading salt in Judges 9:45, “And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.”  2 Samuel 8:13 talks about a valley of salt.  When Elisha was told about one particular place that was barren, he asked the men of the city to bring him a new cruse and salt in it in 2 Kings 2:20.  He put the salt into the water to purify (or fix, whatever that means) in 2:21.  King Cyrus decreed that the Jews would return to their homeland, build their temple, and restore their worship.  He also decreed that all the necessary materials should be provided for the Jews.  Ezra 6:9 says, “And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail.”  In other words, salt was not a cheap commodity in those days, and it had to be provided in favour of the Jews under the king’s decree.  Job 6:6 recognizes its savoury nature, “Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?”  As we all know, Jesus compared us with salt in the world in Matthew 5:13.  Mark 9:50 says, “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”  Paul said about salt in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
Though it sounds a bit funny if I say today that salt is a very luxurious commodity, it was the case in ancient times, even only a couple of centuries ago.  Have you known that the 17th century British leaders spoke about the danger of national dependence on French sea salt?  Today, many western countries’ leaders are warning about the danger of national dependence on oil from the Middle East.  But, salt was the case in olden days.  Chinese government for centuries had used salt as a source of state revenue.  There is a record about salt tax even from the 20th century BC.  In fact, the first known state-controlled monopoly of a vital commodity was of salt.  It has been known that during the Tang dynasty (AD 618-907), half the revenue of the Chinese state was derived from salt.  Many towns in Europe were named after salt.  Austrian town of Hallein means “saltwork.”  Salzburg means “salt town.”  Hallstatt means “salt town.”  The Romans called the Celts as Galli or Gauls, calling from a Greek word, used by the Egyptians as well, hal, meaning “salt.”  In other words, they were salt people.  The Celts contributed to Western culture by giving ideas to make salt-cured hams.  The grand look of Venice and many of its statues and ornaments were financed by the salt administration.  Do you know that on the eve of Emperor Augustus’ naval campaign against Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, he garnered public support by giving out free oil and salt?  Maybe, if you want to win someone’s heart, you may give him/her a couple of cans of salt.  The first great Roman rode was the Via Salaria, Salt road.  I have found interesting information about the origin of the word, salary.  “The Roman army required salt for its soldiers and for its horses and livestock.  At times soldiers were even paid in salt, which was the origin of the word salary and the expression ‘worth his salt’ or ‘earning his salt.’  In fact, the Latin word sal became the French word solde, meaning pay, which is the origin of the word, soldier” (Mark Kurlansky, Salt, 63).
For the British, salt was very important because the British navy rationed salt cod and corned beef.  By the fourteenth century, a standard procedure to prepare for war was to obtain a large quantity of salt and start salting fish and meat.  As we can see, when the Lord Jesus told us to be the salt of the world, He did not mean that we should become cheap commodities, but in fact, very valuable and indispensable ones.  The importance of salt is found that monasteries were often located on the sites of ancient salt mines so that the salt could provide revenue.  Though gold, copper, and silver were found in Salzburg territory, Salzburg fought for salt which gave its independence.  During medieval ages, the Polish Crown earned one-third of its annual revenues from the salt of mines near Cracow, Wieliczka, and Bochnia.
I know that there are some young people who support Liverpool in English premier league.  The last three miles of the river Mersey form a sheltered and deepwater harbor.  In 1207, King John granted permission for a town to be built there, which was called Liverpool.  Later it became England’s second most important port after London.  It was the port that brought in West Indian sugar, slave trade, and iron.  However, before all of these, it was the port of English salt, Cheshire salt.  It became known all over the world, Liverpool salt.  Anglo Saxons called a saltworks a wich, and any place in England where the name ends in “wich” at one time produced salt-Nantwich, Northwich, and Middlewich.
Physicians saw in garum all of the health benefits of salt fish contained in a bottle.  It was prescribed as a medicine or, more commonly, mixed with other ingredients to make a medicine, usually for digestive disorders, and for such problems as sores, for which salt has clear healing powers.  It was also prescribed for tuberculosis and migraine headaches!
I have written a little bit of salt today, but it will be continued in order to find more significance of salt.
Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Please pray for health & God’s healing: Ps Ki, Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev David Koo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, & Winston Selvanayagam; Sisters Sheila George, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Chrisanthi Selvanayagam, Iris Surman, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction. "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped:” (Ps 28:7a).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions - Rev & Mrs Luke Kim (Veal Renh); b) Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam; c) Pastors & believers in India & Pakistan; d) Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim; e) Journey Mercies - Dn Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong; Bros Raphael Ng, Joseph Selvanayagam, Daniel Volvricht, Charles Yeo & family; Sisters Mei & family, Joyce Gong, Bernadette Lee, Josephine Lee (Melb); Sis Sally Law (Camp); Chong family, Bro Peter & Sis Sonia Mitchell (Flinders Ranges); Sis Rachel Volvricht (Adl); Bros Jason Teng (Syd-Adl), Bro Josh Tan (Singapore); Mr Phil Surman & family (KL); others travelling during school vacation; f) Jobs for - Mr Leo Xeng & Sis Yee Min Tee; g) Salvation of those who received tracts in the September 30 in 30 event.

Praise and Thank God for – a) YAF Bible Study, Men’s Prayer Breakfast Meeting, Sunday School’s Parents and Children’s dinner; b) Journey mercies - Bros Joseph Selvanayagam (Adl) & Tony Tong (M’sia); Bro Craig & Sis Clara Samels, Bro Checkie Mah, Sisters Amber Au, Bindu George, Shirley Tong (Adl); c) YAF members - All those involved with the evangelism event “September 30 in 30”; d) Successful surgery for Bro Winston Selvanayagam.

Special prayers for God’s blessing on the wedding of Bro Joshua Lim & Sis Pamela Ong on Sat 7 Oct in Melb.

Please pray for The Lord to provide $8,745 for Pastor’s car fund.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041