All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the Lord with you and your descendants with you. (Numbers 18:19)
In the previous verses, God addressed the duties of the priests and Levites as well as defining how they would be supported through the different offerings brought to the Sanctuary. In this verse, God summarized these offerings devoted to the priests as a “covenant of salt,” which is to say a covenant meant to be perpetual, not corruptible and indissoluble. Using this terminology, God underscored His enduring promise to always take care of and preserve the priestly tribe of Levi by connecting His promise to the function of salt.
Salt protects from putrefaction and thus, symbolized permanence. From the beginning of time, salt was the most common way to preserve food, especially meat, and consequently, it was a valuable commodity. It is considered indestructible in fire and also impedes the action of yeast (leaven) in food. Leaven, as we know, symbolizes sin and has the ability to negatively influence others (1 Corinthians 5, Galatians 5:9). In that regard, salt represents preservation and the maintenance of purity in a corrupt world, and so, a salt covenant is an agreement that is meant to endure regardless of corruptive influences and circumstances.
It should come as no surprise then, that as His people, we are regarded as “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). We are the ones He has placed in this corrupt world to be a purifying influence and to sustain and advance His purposes in the earth. Furthermore, as His priests, we have been given promises that will not fail but endure. Just as salt is perpetual, God’s promises to His people are perpetual and eternal. For our part, let us continue in this call and see that we do not lose our “flavor” and be rendered ineffective. Instead, we must stand guard against the leaven and putrefying effects of this world and be exactly what He needs us to be.
Blessings and Shalom,