Understand YOUR part in the salt covenant!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Mark 9:50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

As we continue to probe the lessons from the salt covenant, we now inquire into our part in the covenant.

Yesterday, we spoke of Yeshua (Jesus) as the unique Bread of Life– and His sacrifice our only provision for justification and righteousness.

Now remember that the salt was "added" to the bread as it was broken. This added salt provides a picture of our communion with the Living Bread being joined to Him for a life of holiness and good works. Our saltiness represents the influence we carry into the world through our union with Him. This influence is expressed through the savor of our works. That savor is something He exhorts us not to lose.

The apostle Paul expresses this compound reality clearly; "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." [Ephesians 2:8-10]

Our part in the covenant relationship is to be salt to the world –to be a savor which brings the flavor of our Lord to every encounter; to be a preserving influence in a world of sin and decay; and to be sprinkled around for the gospel's sake. May we remain good salty salt as we walk in all the good works He's prepared for us.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage

Season with Salt!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Leviticus 2:13 And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.

For years, when I visited my father-in-law's home in Jerusalem on the Sabbath, we would break bread and bless the bread with the traditional blessing – "Baruch Ata Adonai Eleheynu Melech HaOlam Ha-Motzi Lechem Min Ha'aretz" – which translated means,"Blessed are You Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has given us bread from the earth". After the blessing, my father-in-law would take salt and sprinkle the challah bread as he broke and passed it to everyone at the table.

I began to understand this blessing only a few years ago, when I stumbled across this verse in Leviticus about adding salt to every grain offering. Mentioned only three times in Scripture, yet this covenant carries deep significance and harmonizes perfectly with our New Covenant understanding of the gospel and its eternal blessing in our lives.

Historically, the salt covenant was used in ancient times as an expression of commitment and loyalty – affirming friendships that would last forever. It was also used in marriage ceremonies demonstrating the pact of enduring loyalty between a man and a woman.

So, the next time you break bread – salt it – reminding yourself not only of the Lord's body that was broken for you – but also of your eternal friendship with Yeshua and your soon coming marriage to Him – all resting soundly on His loyal covenant of love.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage

Don't Neglect Your Huppah!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

In Israel, couples are married beneath a "huppah", which is a beautiful canopy under which the ceremony takes place. The word "huppah" means "covering" but also, a "chamber" or "marriage room". So the canopy is a reminder that the marriage chamber is the most important room in the house for a husband and wife because it's the most intimate room. The huppah emphasizes marital intimacy and reminds us that even if we have the most luxurious mansion in the world, neglecting the place of intimacy spells deep trouble for our marriage.

In Paul's letter to the Ephesians he says this: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church." In another place he says; "For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." In some profound and mystical way our relationship to Yeshua (Jesus) is powerfully portrayed by the marriage relationship between a man and a woman. This means that we have been created and redeemed for intimacy with our Lord. He deeply desires us to be close with Him just as a husband desires his wife. Without a place of intimacy, our relationship will become dull, stagnant and eventually turn cold and lifeless. Our spirituality will also become ritualistic, performance oriented and deeply discontented. This is not the Lord's will, desire, or intention for us.

Renew the place of intimacy, your spiritual "huppah", with your Heavenly Husband; it's the place where the fire of love burns – He's waiting for you!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage

Act now!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Romans 12:17-18,21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

One minister tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even! Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has hurt me!"

The minister suggested an ingenious plan "Why don't you go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him. Make him believe you love him. Then — after you've convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, drop the bomb. Tell him you want a divorce. That will really hurt him.

"With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful, beautiful! Boy, will he ever be devastated!" And she did it with enthusiasm. For two months she showed love and kindness, she listened, served and reinforced. When she didn't return to his office, the minister called. "So.are you ready now to go through with the divorce?" "Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered that I really do love him."

This woman's actions changed her feelings. Whether it's a tough relationship, a long-time fear, or a task that seems too big for us to accomplish, sometimes we need to act in faith in order to see it conquered for the Kingdom!

Whatever it may be, let's give it to the Lord today and ask Him to motivate us to go forth with strength and passion — for His sake!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage

Understand the Obligation of Love!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. 

Here's another interesting Hebrew word parallel. The Hebrew word for "love" or "affection", "chiba", is formed by the same root letters as the word, "chova", "obligation", "debt", or "duty". In Hebrew, the only difference between these two words is a few vowel points. But you say, "Isn't love the very opposite of obligation !?" Well, yes and no. The Hebrew language has a wonderful way of relating concepts which seem incompatible.

The common romantic view of love in films and novels draws heavily on strong feelings of affection or passion. Even our love for God can flow from those kinds of feelings. (The apostle Peter was filled with them shortly before he denied the Lord three times.) But love based on obligation is another matter, and it's significant that the Jewish marriage contract, the "Ketubah", contains a list of “obligations” that a husband is required to fulfill for his wife. He might be passionately "in love" with her when he signs this contract, yet the wisdom of experience says this passion may wither with time, so the marriage ceremony formally "obligates" him to his spouse. By accepting these “obligations”, he agrees that love is nurtured by commitment.

One Rabbi commented: “Love which flows from obligation endures, but when obligation follows love, both are doomed.”

Our bridal relationship to Yeshua (Jesus) also reflects this reality. His "obligation" to us flowed from an irrevocable decision of His will and commitment to love us…which cost Him His human life. We might speculate on the Lord's feelings for us, but we don't have to wonder at all about His obligation, or the absolute security we have in His love for us. Our love for Him can be the same. Feelings of love are wonderful. But they also come and go. And there'll be times when we wonder, “Where's that lovin' feeling? Is God really there?” And that's when the sure foundation of commitment will arise in the heart of every true lover.

God's great love for us is expressed in His commitment; to cover our debt of sin; guide us through this earthly life, and be our eternal Heavenly Husband. Cleansed by His blood and filled with His Spirit we can love Him and one another with the same commitment. The feelings will follow.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Marriage