“Dishonest Scales”

Proverbs 11

“The Lord detests dishonest scales,

but accurate weights find favor with him. (v.1)”

“Detest” is a very strong word.  If God detests something, I would guess the person doing the deed is on the wrong side of the coin!  King David made a serious mistake reported in 2 Samuel 24.  King David sent Joab out to count the number of fighting men available to enlist.  David took his eyes off depending on God and was counting on the size of his army.  God sent Gad, David’s prophet, to him and David was told to choose one of three possible punishments for his mistake.  David responded in v. 14, “I am in deep distress.  Let us fall into the hands of the Lord for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”  God did stop the plague that was killing people when David pleaded for mercy!

     So what upsets the Lord in Proverbs 11?  Dishonest scales.  To us that might mean a watered down jar of honey or false advertising about a product.  It could be buying a car and discovering it is a “lemon.”  A new house with major problems is a heart breaker.  The picture that comes to mind for me is going to the market in Kenya.  Women lined up selling ground corn meal maize by the gunnysack.  An old tin can was used for measuring.  As I watched the sellers I realized that they would pour out a can of ground corn from a height to attract attention but then fill the can by taking a handful of corn meal and rubbing it between their hands, letting it fall into the can until there was a little mountain looking like the can was overfull. In reality they were fluffing up the meal and inflating the looks but if I shook the can to let it settle, it would be less than a can.  Or the measuring can was so beaten in that the real amount of corn was less. False measures.  Sellers were taking advantage of the needy to increase their profit.

         I doubt that God wants us to starve and a fair profit is alright.  But I do believe God is not happy with deceit that takes advantage of people and is deceptive.  Maybe we are not sellers but may it be possible that stories are related slanting truth towards the teller to make the teller look good.  Maybe we make promises that sound so good, “I’ll pray for you!” and then we immediately forget.  We are all guilty of making a good story better or fudging a little bit.  God wants our “yes” to be “yes” and our “no” to be “no.”

         This verse in Proverbs encourages us to be people of integrity and honesty.  Lord, as our economic lives become more and more difficult, help us to look to you and to be honest and kind in our relationships. Have mercy on those living with starvation!

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