Words of Worth

Salted, Swaddled, Saved

August 23, 2014

Swaddled OliviaSwaddle. Swaddled. Swaddling. Other than last weekend when I met my great niece, Olivia, and maybe at Christmas time if I read Luke 2 out loud, I can’t remember the last time I used the words, swaddle, swaddled, or swaddling. However, last weekend more than made up for my lack of usage as I watched my niece, Gloriane, swaddle her baby girl.

Apparently, swaddling is making a comeback! Other than when my nieces and nephews were in neo-natal care in the hospital, I don’t remember them, nor do I have pictures of them in my collection of endless albums, in swaddling clothes. But present day moms are swaddling their infants in order to calm them down and help them sleep. And I witnessed this with my great niece, Olivia. After long moments of fussing, her mother swaddled her and like some kind of magic cloth, Olivia was instantly soothed and falling asleep.

Fascinated by this, my brother Rick, Olivia’s “Pop”, said he never heard the word “swaddling” other than in the Bible. So I decided to do a word search and I found the word “swaddling” two times in the well- known Christmas passage, Luke 2, and the word “swaddled” once in Ezekiel 16:4.

Luke 2:7, 12 (KJV)
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Ezekiel 16:4
4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.

Swaddling , in English, Hebrew, and Greek, simply means “to wrap with cloth.” In Biblical times, when an infant was born, it was customary to rub the baby with salt in order to make the skin firm and pure, and then wrap the child in strips of linen or cotton –mummy style. One purpose of swaddling was to ensure the baby’s limbs would grow straight and strong. Such care was nurturing attention given to the baby by his caregivers who loved him.

However, we learn in Ezekiel 16:4 that the nation of Israel had no such parental regard, no such care taken of it and they were doomed to destruction like an abandoned new born infant. Jerusalem’s umbilical cord was not cut, Jerusalem was not washed, salted or swaddled. God was saying that the nation of Israel was an outcast with no one to care for them. But He saw Israel polluted in their blood and He said unto them, “Live!”

In Ezekiel 16:9-14, we read of how God made Israel great, beautiful, desirable and perfect in beauty:

12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.13 Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.14 And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.10 I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.

What a foreshadowing of the relationship of Jesus Christ to His church! When the Lord first came to us, we were polluted because of our sins but the washing of our lives through the blood of Jesus Christ rendered us clean, gave us new life, and saved us by grace!

Ephesians 2:1-5 (KJV)

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Thanks to the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ, we can be salted, swaddled and saved!

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