Proverbs 11:1

Proverbs 11:1 "A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight."
Proverbs 11:1 Church West Seneca NY
In Solomon’s day, a balance, or a scale was extremely important.  It determined how much money you had and how much money you spent.  Today, a scale means more much to our vanity than it does to our currency.  Most of our scales today are designed and calibrated in such a way that they don’t need a set of standard weights to be used.  As in Lady Justice’s scale, Solomon’s scale would’ve had two bowls suspended from opposite sides of the same horizontal arm hinged on one vertical column.  A proven standard weight of stone would be placed in one bowl and then the silver, gold or grain would be placed in the other bowl to determine if it was greater or less than the standard weight.  There would’ve been a variety of standard weights available to determine how much a piece of silver or gold weighed, which would ultimately determine its value.  Outside of experiments in science classes in some schools, we rarely use this method for anything in today’s world.

This “weighing way of business” is found all throughout Scripture.  In Genesis 23, Abraham “weighed silver” to a man he purchased a burial plot from.  In Genesis 43, Joseph’s brothers noted that they had their money in “full weight” after Joseph ordered his servants to return their money to their luggage.  In Numbers 7, the princes of the tribes of Israel gave offerings when the Tabernacle was complete and their offerings were recorded by “weight.”  In Joshua 7, Achan foolishly stole a wedge of gold of “fifty shekels weight” from the accursed city of Jericho.  Prophesying of Judas Iscariot’s price of betrayal, Zechariah wrote, “So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.”  The balance, or scale was extremely important in Biblical times.  Where we have coins and dollar bills with their value inscribed or printed on them, Solomon and company had to weigh their silver and gold pieces to determine their exact value.  When it comes to money and financial transactions, it was a whole different world in Biblical times.  

The “false balance” that Solomon speaks of in this proverb would’ve been a scale that was intentionally manipulated to read falsely.  A false balance could’ve been a scale that was modified to have different length arms or different size bowls.  A false balance would’ve been any scale that gave the merchant an advantage.  The “just weight” that Solomon speaks of would’ve been any “master weight” that was heavier or lighter than the actual weight.  It would’ve been very easy for a merchant to modify a piece of stone and falsely inscribe a lighter weight on it than it actually was.  A heavier weight would result in obtaining more money than was fairly due for a service or product.

This memorable proverb clearly addresses matters of honesty and dishonesty.  This proverb clearly denounces deception and dishonesty in areas of business and finance.  It most obviously endorses economic fairness and equity.  This proverb reiterates what the Law already taught, in particular in Leviticus 19:35-36, “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have.”  Forty years later, Moses repeats these instructions in Deuteronomy 25:13-15, “Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”  In Solomon’s Book of Wisdom, if one were to be wise, he would need to be fair.  If one were to be virtuous, he would need to be honest in all matters but especially so in money matters.
In addition to reinforcing God’s command for just balances and just weights, Solomon inserts a subtle truth that is definitely worth pointing out.  In denouncing dishonesty and deception, God uses Solomon’s literary genius to teach us about Himself.  Solomon did not declare a false balance sinful or unacceptable.  He did not declare a rigged scale as unlawful or illegal.  He did not describe dishonest business dealings as wrong or evil.  Instead, he described a false balance as an “ABOMINATION TO THE LORD.”  Furthermore, Solomon did not declare a just weight as righteous or acceptable.  He did not declare an accurate weight as lawful or legal.  He did not describe honesty and integrity as appropriate or godly.  Instead, he described a just weight as “GOD’S DELIGHT.”  These are intensely emotional terms.  They are intensely emotional reactions to man’s moral behavior.  In the process of addressing matters of morality in this proverb, Solomon is informing us that God has feelings too.

God isn’t robotic and He certainly isn’t void of feelings and emotional color.  Because He is God, it is easy for us to view God as an emotionless Intellect Who has no spikes or dips of feelings.  Because He is perfectly composed and entirely in control of Himself, it’s easy to assume that God exercises no noticeable expressions.  Because He is omniscient, He is never caught off guard.  Because He is sovereign, He is never threatened by anyone.  It’s easy to assume that real emotion and real feelings would weaken God or make Him less of a Deity someway.  Given the nature of the Old Testament Law, it’s natural to view God in black and white terms.  We often think that God classifies everything in our world into two categories – good and bad, right and wrong, righteous and unrighteous.  Because of these natural thoughts, it’s easy to approach God mechanically.  “Sin is sin and righteousness is righteousness.”  A mechanical approach to God takes the feelings out of God.  When we take the feelings out of God, we take the feelings out of our morality.
God has feelings about everything.  God has feelings about everyone.  God has more feelings than man does.  God is incredibly emotional.  He is incredibly thoughtful.  He has feelings about each and every sin. He has feelings about each and every virtue.  Based on the Bible, God loves the virtue of love more than others.  Based on Scripture, God feels differently about wisdom than He does other virtues.  Based on this proverb, God has a greater disdain for financial dishonesty and deception than He does for other evils.  Based on this proverb, God has a greater delight for financial integrity than He does for other godly attributes.  God has more layers and more color than any human mind can imagine.

For all of us, there are foods we like and there are foods we dislike.  Within the category of food we like, there are foods we really like and within the category of food we dislike, there are foods we really dislike.  If we want to anger someone, we just need to touch foods they really like with foods they really dislike.  If we want to make someone happy, we just need to serve them foods they especially like.  Getting to know someone and their particular feelings is the path to true relationship intimacy.  It is no different with God.  If we’re going to ever experience true relationship intimacy with God, we need to get to know how He feels about everything.  In this case, Solomon is telling us that He really loathes people who make subtle changes in order to gain a financial advantage.  In this proverb, Scripture is telling us that He really loves people who place a high value on financial integrity, no matter what everyone else is doing.

God has feelings too.  Based on the totality of Scripture, God has strong feelings about how we manage our money.  Based on this proverb, God has much stronger feelings about how we manage our HEART when it comes to money.  God hates dishonesty but financial dishonesty is an ABOMINATION to God.  God loves honesty but financial honesty in particular DELIGHTS Him.
God has feelings too.  Do you know how God feels about your approach to money?    






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