The first year student at Dallas Seminary began her message with an object lesson. She hauled out one of those old fashion scales where you put what you are weighing on one side and then start adding weights on the other side. Then she launched into her intro: “So if you’re buying these bananas, you put them on this side, and then on this side you start adding these weights until the scale is balanced. You’re charged based upon the amount of weights you have to add to get things even. Now here’s a clever way to increase your profit. If you use weights that are lighter than marked, you have to add more weights and it looks like the bananas are heavier than they are, and you can charge more. This might be a cunning way to increase profits in a grocery store, but how does God feel about cheating in business? My passage is Proverbs 11:1 “The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.”
Evidently, Hosea was reading the same proverbial wisdom my student was speaking on because he makes the same point about the business practices in the Northern Kingdom:
“In the merchant’s (Canaanite’s) hand are false weights. He loves to cheat. Ephraim says, ‘Certainly, I’m rich. I’ve found for myself the power that money gives. With all my profits, they will not find me guilty of cheating.” Hosea 12:7-8
When we cheat in business and it fills our bank accounts, we assume that this wealth and success covers the guilt. In the 8thcentury Hosea faced powerful wealthy traders. They had made a killing using dishonest scales and unjust business practices. For years it looked like these cunning cheaters had won, but then Hosea declared that the LORD knew all about their dishonest weights and they would now pay the price.
In her exposition my student explained how the LORD delighted in honesty in all our business deals. To prove her point she cited other passages like Proverbs 20:23 and then she closed.
“The first week of school I went to the DTS library. I needed to make some copies and I put in some change, hit the button, and then waited for my copies. Instead of fifty cents, the machine registered that I had put in fifty dollars. I said to myself. Wow, I’m a poor student. Praise the Lord! He has graciously supplied. Throughout this entire semester I’ve been using the balance to make all the copies I’ve needed. Then I got this assignment about holding false weights in your hand. Before I came to speak in class today, I went to the desk at the library, told them what had happened, and paid in full for all my copies.”
LORD, like my student, help me to make things right, for example, if there’s a mistake in my favor on a grocery bill. Protect me from the arrogance that believes that if it makes a profit, it must be right. Today make me honest not only with my money but with my words.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!