Thursday, June 2, 2011

Proverbs 20:23 commentary; your double standard revisited

23 ¶ Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

I’m going to repeat what I said earlier in verse ten, which was very similar, and add a few short words. In Deuteronomy God has prohibited using false weights to cheat someone. That’s what they were used for, to lie about the weight of money which denoted its value. They didn’t have the worthless paper we have today.

Genesis 24:22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;

2Samuel 12:30 And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.

Now, you can imagine the opportunity to cheat might arise. But there was confidence in a talent of gold or silver and in a shekel of gold of silver. Now, there’s a lot of things to be said about God’s standard and the way modern governments produce fiat money out of thin air that has no real value. I’ll leave that for others.

God is not in a system of dishonest weights and measures. He values honesty in our relations with each other. He made this clear under the Law given to Moses for the Hebrews.

Deuteronomy 25:13 ¶ Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. 14 Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. 15 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. 16 For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

When a Christian cheats his brother or sister it is obviously over the love of money, which he prefers to God’s standard of justice and dealing.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Jesus said to his disciples;

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Mammon is a word that refers to wealth or even the economic system itself. You can’t worship money and serve God. Worship of wealth and money has long been a problem for many Americans since our earliest days as a nation. Some historians have even shown how part of the purpose of our Constitution was to protect the investments of many wealthy people. I refer you to Charles Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States written in 1913. Before the pseudo-Patriots go off, notice I said and he said, that it was part of the purpose, not the entire reason.

In any event, cheating people, whether it be the government and its private bank who refuses to be audited, or you and I individually, is proscribed by God. In fact, it is an abomination. There is no freedom in fact without economic freedom and that debate is important to a so called free country. But, don’t make trivial the importance of this Proverb to you and me personally by making it a tirade against some government policy. Let’s examine a deeper import to it.

God makes it clear that we are to use the same standard for all and not to have different weights in our spiritual bag. In the following verses Jesus says that His disciples are going to be judged by the same standard that they use to judge others.

Matthew 7:1 ¶ Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

We are to use the same standard in our judgments for all. Paul, talking in Romans, chapter one, lists a long list of wickedness and sin and most Christians stop with that but then he drops a bomb on the people he is speaking to in Rome.

Romans 2:1 ¶ Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

We are notorious for using a different standard to judge other people by than the one we use on ourselves. For others we assign sins, for ourselves excuses. A divers or different standard is as much an abomination to God in our hearts as it is in our money bags.

You run down a young woman who dresses to impress the boys with her attractiveness while you might dress to impress people with your assumed piety and spirituality; which is a false modesty. You criticize young men who use vulgar speech and blasphemous references to a God in which they don’t believe while you use the same exclamations only with more acceptable speech and you change God to gosh, golly, and goodness and Jesus Christ to gee whiz.

You talk about how wicked those drug addicts are on the corner in town for letting themselves be controlled by a substance while you can’t get through the day without your own legal drugs to wake you up, keep you awake, and get you to sleep at night. You might go on and on about the sexual sins of others but a careful examination of your thought life would make any decent person throw up. You complain that your child is disobedient to you and yet how disobedient are you to your Father in heaven?

You complain about how your employer wants too much from you for the money you get paid while you actually MAYBE put in a good four hours work for the eight hours of pay you agreed on when you were employed. You talk about how someone has an ungrateful spirit in the church but if you looked at the reasons why you purchased your last house, car, or piece of clothing we might see a covetous, unthankful spirit in you. You rant about how the government spends too much money and yet, if your own spending habits were examined closely we might find that some of us have lived on credit and practice deficit spending as a matter of course ignoring God’s admonition;

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Certainly the sins you commit hypocritically might not cause the damage that the sins of the others I mentioned cause but don’t reduce living for God to a mere pragmatism. There is no evidence in the Bible that God honors the phrase “I ain’t so bad”. If your standard is “do unto others things that aren’t quite as bad as they do unto you” then we have a different religion. God makes it clear that we are to have the same standards for ourselves as we have for others. Don’t keep a divers weight and a divers measure in your spiritual bag. That, too, is an abomination to God.

“A false balance is not good.” Sometimes, this using of different standards to judge others and ourselves produces bitter fruit. Churches have been split and families divided because of the hypocrisy of a false standard as much as they’ve been split over people who are self righteous, know it all, busybodies who view every word, every look or glance, and every unexplained action as being of the worst, possible motives. Of course, these people poison the congregation or family with their accusations which get worse and worse with each telling.

To be consistent and fair, in fact, to even consider yourselves as thinking in line with Christ you must stop judging others in a way that you don’t judge yourself. Think about it the next time you look down your nose at other people.

No comments: