10Two things the Lord hates
are dishonest scales
and dishonest measures.
23The Lord hates dishonest scales
and dishonest weights.
So don't cheat!
These two proverbs are essentially the same, both speaking to the theme of dishonesty. They harken back to Deuteronomy 25:13-16 where instruction is given “not to have in your bag two kinds of weights, large and small.” An ephah and an ephah¾a stone and a stone, diverse weights and measures allowed the possibility for deception, overcharging for what is being purchased. The issue here is dishonest intentions and such intentions are an “abomination” to the Lord. They are intentions that ruin the social fabric – disrupt social order and deceive our fellow human beings. Yahweh’s laws are given to maintain peaceful and righteous community and breaking those laws has a ripple effect in the community.
We live at a time when many believe that they can do what they wish – whatever is within their power to do without thinking of the consequences. We want to be a law unto ourselves and escape all obligations to other constraints on our behaviour. This sense that we have ultimate control, that we are masters of our destiny is at bottom an instance of idolatry. These texts are a reminder not to fall into the trap of believing that we are in control and that what we do is to be centred on ourselves. Focusing on our own gain and advantage with no attention to others or to God is ultimately destructive.
Yahweh’s call is to shed self-centred desires. Instead he calls us to open ourselves to obedience and the wisdom of God as articulated in scripture and supremely in Jesus. This will mean our lips will speak the truth, our actions will be transparent and our intentions will be pure. This is a tall order for fallen humanity but it is what we are called to, enabled by the Spirit to walk a path of righteousness – a path that calls for discernment, discipline and diligence.
Dear Lord: forgive the falsehood in my life, the dishonesty, the pretense. By your Spirit enable me to live with integrity of heart and honesty of practice. In all that I do and say help me to align my life with the wisdom you have provided in scripture and in Jesus. Teach me the discipline it takes to be a disciple of Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.