Honesty is of the Lord
1. This next section is ROYAL… Solomon begins to speak about kings… their power and responsibility.
a. vs. 10 – the sentence of a king
b. vs.12 – the wickedness or righteousness of kings
c. vs.13 – the delight of kings
d. vs.14 – the wrath of a king
e. vs.15 – the favor of a king
2. This verse is the one verse in the section that does NOT mention a king.
a. However, because of its location and the immediate context, I am assuming that Solomon directed this thought primarily towards kings… his own sons in particular.
b. The same concept appears three other times in the book.
c. But this one seems to be placed in a context of royalty for a reason.
d. The responsibility of kings was definitely on the mind of the one who assembled these proverbs in this section.
e. Thus, I am going to apply this passage to kings and to those in positions of authority… because of the context.
A just weight and balance
a. Weight Defined:
• measuring device for weight
• the weight indicator on a scale or balance
b. Balance Defined:
• A scale for measuring;
• An implement for weighing, consisting of two balance pans with a standardized weight in one pan and the object to be weighed in the other.
2. A just weight and balance…
a. Solomon is not speaking about a gym with balance bars and weights.
b. In ancient times, all business and trade was done according to weight…
c. They did not use paper money; Money was to them a WEIGHT of gold or silver. Money was not counted in various denominations, but was weighed.
d. Jer. 32:10 – both terms are used and illustrated.
e. The balance was a scale… and a standard weight was placed on one side of the scale and thus, equal amounts of goods would be sold for a standard price.
f. Wheat, barley, and all goods were sold according to standard weights.
3. II Sam. 14:26 – it was the KING who was responsible for setting, making, and distributing the weight standard throughout the country.
a. Merchants could not make their own weights…
b. There had to be one standard weight, or transactions could not be conducted fairly.
c. No doubt, the kings had governmental officials whose job it was to regulate and inspect merchants to PREVENT skimming and cheating.
d. God and the king both expected the merchants to follow the royal standards… to do things RIGHT.
e. The king was to SET the standard and enforce the standard.
f. Justice in the land was up to the king.
g. In the world of politics and government, CHARACTER does matter!
h. Justice, fairness, equality, and honesty are all important parts of what a ruler does!
All the weights of the bag are his work.
A. All the weights of the bag
1. A merchant would keep all his weights in a bag.
2. A dishonest merchant would have several weights for each standard amount.
a. Example: a just weight – the same as the royal standard. (for his friends… good customers… and when the government inspectors came by!)
b. Micah 6:11 – deceitful weights.
c. He would have another weight perhaps for foreigners, people he didn’t like, or people he wanted to take advantage of…
d. They would shave off a bit of the weight, so that when he used that weight, the customer would PAY for a full pound, but would not get a full pound.
e. It is called skimming… shave off a little and the dishonest merchant would be getting a little more profit for each item sold…
f. In the Colonial days, when coins were pure silver, folks began shaving off the edges of coins… so that the government had to make the edges of coins serrated so that any shaving of edges could be spotted.
g. This is an ancient art… but one still used today!
h. Some companies today keep TWO sets of books… (kept in their bag).
i. Instead of stealing a thousand dollars off one person, Electronic thieves steal a penny off a hundred thousand people… and no one will find out!
B. The Lord’s Work
1. The LORD’S
a. This meant that in some way, the Lord Himself stood behind the standard weight of the country.
b. God set the standard; God was the standard;
c. Lev. 19:35-36 – The reason: I am the Lord!
• It is because of who God is… His nature… His character that the weights were to be standard and honest.
• God is a God of righteousness… He is fair and right… just and equal… impartial… no respecter of persons…
• God HIMSELF is the standard of right and wrong… moral and immoral… just or unjust. He sets the standards. We are to keep the standards.
• The JUST weights were of the Lord. The unjust weights were the result of sin… and our adversary… who is a LIAR by nature.
d. Note also that they were to use just weights BECAUSE they were delivered from Egypt.
• His point is this: while in Egypt, the Jews were taken advantage of…
• They were not treated fairly.
• If the Jews began to accumulate more wealth than the Egyptians wanted them to, they would tighten the screws… and not only force them to make bricks, but to gather their own straw for them.
• The Egyptians controlled the economy of the Jews and kept them under their thumbs.
• THEREFORE, the Jews, now in a land of their own, were NOT to use dishonest practices to control the economy of their own brothers… even on a micro level.
• The Jews wanted to be treated fairly in Egypt. Now that they were free, they were also to treat others fairly and justly…
• This meant being HONEST in their business transactions.
2. God’s Work.
a. The just weights and balances were the Lord’s Work.
• He ordered them. He set the standard.
• He commanded His people to abide by them.
• He even reasoned with them as to WHY they should be fair in their business transactions.
b. For a believer, everything we do is to be done “as unto the Lord.”
• Everything we do is a spiritual ministry…
• There is no division into secular or sacred for the believer.
• Col. 3:22-24 – our earthly work or service is not really being done for our earthly master, but ultimately, for our heavenly Master: God!
• When we work at the office or the factory, we are not serving the foreman; we are serving Christ.
• The unsaved workers at the factory are working for an earthly paycheck and are working for their earthly boss.
• But the believer today may do exactly the same work, but he is serving Christ… and is really serving for a reward in heaven… not an earthly paycheck.
• That makes everything we do in the business world a spiritual ministry… sacred, not secular.
c. This was especially so during the days of the theocratic kingdom on earth…
• In the days of the Theocracy, the Israelites KNEW that their nation was directly under the eye and authority of God.
• Their moral laws were written by the finger of God.
• But their civil laws were also written by God!
d. God even wrote the laws concerning HOW they were to conduct business… including using fair, just, standard weights. No skimming… no gouging… no cheating of any sort.
e. Rom. 13:1 – today we also have government inspectors.
• We are to obey and comply with all the laws of the land.
• Whether they are wetland laws; business laws; tax laws; stock trading laws… building inspectors; meat inspectors; health inspectors…
• These laws and standards are established by the powers that be… and they are ultimately OF THE LORD.
• That means that Christians are to SUBMIT to such inspectors and rules (whether we agree with them or not) as unto the Lord!
• Those rules ARE of the Lord.
• Imperfect as they may be, we are to obey… they are for our overall good… for the benefit of society…
• But even those laws that don’t make any sense, we are STILL to comply. The weights and balances are of the Lord…
• What is MORE important than that particular law or rule is the ORDER of society… as opposed to anarchy!
• Thank God for the law and order we enjoy in our country.
f. Deut. 4:5-8 – The eyes of the world were upon Israel.
• When Israel followed God’s laws… including business laws… their nation functioned smoothly and flourished.
• When the nation was honest, business did well… and God blessed them.
• Other nations would observe and be FORCED to acknowledge the justice of their laws… AND their Lawgiver: Jehovah!
• It is part of our Christian testimony too to be fair and just in all of our dealings with men.
• Nothing tarnishes the testimony of a believer in the eyes of the world quicker than for a believer to be found to be dishonest… deceitful or corrupt in our everyday business.
• What a great opportunity we have in the world to be a witness for Christ… even without saying a word…
• Doing the BEST JOB we can for our company… being HONEST and just in all of our dealings with men…
• By doing so, we too can FORCE observers to acknowledge the wholesome influence God and His Word have in our lives.
• Your daily job is a service and a witness for Christ.