When mentioning the word bread what comes to your mind? For me, I envision walking into a house were someone has baked homemade bread. The aroma of fresh bread which overloads my senses; and I long for the pleasure of tasting the still-soft-in-your-hands, warm-to-the-touch, oven fresh bread. At long last it is brought to the table. My taste buds can hardly endure the wait any longer. I take a slice in my hand bringing it to my mouth, take a generous bite and close my eyes anticipating a delightful flavor. But in dismay I wince at the repulsive flavor, recoil in shock and hastily spew out the contents. I am not left with satisfaction but disgust because the flavor failed to meet the expectation of the aroma’s appeal.
While the example of the freshly baked bread serves as a type of parable, we must understand that God does expect our living sacrifice1 to live up to its appealing aroma. Consider some details of the grain offering2 being discussed in Leviticus 2. The offering was acceptable to God only when substance and seasoning were appropriate. The substance was the grain, that which is used for making bread, which could be brought to the sacrifice in one of several ways: dough (2.1-3), oven baked (2.4), griddled (2.5-6), or within a pan (2.7). The seasonings included olive oil, frankincense (2.1) and salt (2.13). Without the seasoning, the substance of the grain offering would be rejected. Without the substance, the seasoning of the grain offering would be rejected. It took both to be acceptable.
While the motive (the intentions of the heart of the one bringing the sacrifice) is not mentioned in this Levitical passage, we can understand that God has always expected the one bringing the offering to have the right heart (motive). This is first seen with Cain3 and the clarity of sacrificial motive is expressed by the prophet Isaiah when the Lord speaks through him to severely criticize the hollowness of sacrifices.4 The same prophet later states, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me….”5 So important is having the right heart (intent), that Jesus quotes Isaiah6 and further clarifies that we must truly love God with everything.7
The primary seasoning for our consideration is salt. With all of the sacrifices contained within Leviticus, the grain offering is the only one that receives salt. The only other time salt is included with a sacrifice is found in Ezekiel (43.24). Although Abimelech used salt to poison the ground,8 God used salt as healing for fresh water.9 So important is salt that God considers the covenant with His people to be a Covenant of salt.10 Even Job extols the use and importance of salt when rhetorically asking, “can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt?”11 The beneficial influence of salt is not to be understated, but the detrimental influence of salt is disastrous.
Just as God wanted salt to be included in the grain offering, God wants His children to have beneficial influence upon this world. Jesus expresses that righteous people, those who obey God,12 are the preserving quality for the people of earth.13 As a Christian, substance alone is not enough to please God, He expects seasoning as well.14 The self-reflection that each Christian must do is whether or not they have beneficial salt in their physical and spiritual lives. Are you helping preserve godliness?
1 Romans 12.1
2 The KJV specifies the sacrifice as the meat offering, but other versions translate this as grain, the meaning of meat has changed since the KJV.
3 Genesis 4.3-5; Hebrews 11.4
4 Isaiah 1.10-14
5 Isaiah 29.13
6 Mark 7.6
7 Mark 12.30
8 Judges 9.45
9 II kings 2.21; Ezekiel 47.11
10 Leviticus 2.13; Numbers 18.19; II Chronicles 13.5
11 Job 6.6
12 Matthew 7.21
13 Matthew 5.13
14 I Corinthians 13.1-8a; James 2.14-26