“Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good.”
Proverbs 20:23 (ESV)
When Solomon wrote this proverb, he was referring to the fraudulent business practices that occurred in the market place during his day. The cost of an item, such as grain, was based upon its weight, so the use of a scale was necessary. Merchants kept a set of weights, often made of metal or semiprecious stones, that designated different measurements. The value of the weights was often inscribed on their bases, and the weights were sometimes shaped like animals such as ducks, lions or turtles, in order to help distinguish their values. This system of measurement was rife with misuse because sellers could physically alter the weights to make them heavier or lighter, whichever would allow them to get the better end of the deal on the scale.
Several times throughout the Bible, the Lord makes it clear that he detests dishonesty, both in our actions and in our words. Proverbs 20:23 explains that the Lord finds dishonesty an abomination. That’s a strong word for hate! Unfortunately, this idea of dishonest weights continues in our culture today: you read about the exorbitant prices being charged for necessary medical items like EpiPens. You see it on the news when cases of embezzlement are exposed. You experience it when your phone rings and the person on the other end of the line tries to entice you into a telemarketing scam.
While we all may not struggle with being dishonest in our business practices, there is a form of personal dishonesty that many of us fall victim to: self-deception. Being dishonest with ourselves is one of Satan’s most powerful weapons. The Lord detests dishonesty and Satan succeeds in separating us from the Lord when he encourages us to believe the lies he tells.
So, how can we be sure we are being honest with ourselves? By making sure our own “scale and weights system” is accurate. Our reference weight should be the Bible. When we place our thoughts, speech or actions on one side of the scale, they should always be measured against God’s word on the other. There is no other weight that can be laid on the scale opposite our actions and still provide an accurate reading. We fall into self-deception when we begin using weights with our own faulty reasoning inscribed upon them, weights such as: I am just wired that way. I can’t change. It’s his/her fault. I deserve this.
What weights do you use to justify your actions or lack of action? Are they made by your own hand or are they based on the absolute, unchanging word of God? Clean out your bag of self-made weights today, and remember “Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD.” Proverbs 16:11 (NIV).