This week while studying for my small group’s study in Proverbs, I ran across a theme that blew my mind. This theme is worth remembering- especially during Holy Week- and is found in Proverbs 16:11, 20:10 and 20:23.
20:10- “Differing weights and differing measure, both of them are abominable to the Lord.”
20:23- “Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord, and a false scale is not good.”
What the writer of Proverbs talking about in these verses and in with this theme of weights and scales?
The first thing he is talking about is honest business. This goes back to the Law of Moses and Deuteronomy 25:13-16. But is that all? Is God so concerned with honest business that He reminds us of it at least three times in Proverbs?
I think there is a deeper level to this theme.
If you or I approached most people and asked them why God should let them into heaven when they die, they would probably say something along the lines of- “I’ve done good things and my good deeds out weigh my bad deeds and therefore God should let me into heaven.” Then if you or I asked them if God would be just for doing this, they would probably answer, “Yes God would be doing the just thing.”
Do you realize, however, that God would not be acting just God would be acting unjust? In fact, God would be acting in a manner that we would not accept within our own society from our own human judges.
Think about it this way. Person A is caught in the act of robbing a bank. There are witnesses, cameras, and DNA evidence that prove Person A is guilty of robbing the bank. During the trial, Person A tells the judge of all the good things he does (opens doors for women, doesn’t cheat on his taxes, doesn’t curse out loud, keeps his yard mowed, ect.) and argues that because of all the good things he does and that he has only done this one bad thing, it makes him innocent of the crime he is guilty of. Would it be just of the judge to declare Person A innocent of the crime of robbing the bank on the basis that his good deeds out weight his bad deeds? No, of course not. The good things Person A had done might reduce his punishment but it doesn’t make him innocent of the crime committed. If the judge does declare Person A innocent, we would call the judge unjust and demand that judge’s removal and for justice to be done.
Do we want a God of unjust justice?
If we wouldn’t stand for such injustice in our human legal system, why do we want it with God? We want a God of unjust justice.
In these Proverbs, God is reminding us that he doesn’t have different sets of scales for each person- he only has one set and it is balanced and it is fair. The scales don’t change because you are religious. The scales don’t change because you are born into a specific family or in a specific country. The scales don’t change if you are a pastor or a murder. Both Pope Francis and Billy Graham are judged on the same scales as Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.
That thought should give us all pause.
On the one hand, it means that there aren’t any surprises when it comes to God and his scales. On the other hand, it means that we are judged on just one thing- Jesus. I know I can only speak for myself but if my life is set against Jesus’ life, the scales will not go in my favor.
But thank God for Holy Week. Thank God for Good Friday. Thank God for Easter Sunday. Thank God that Jesus took my place on the scales and though he wasn’t guilty he took my guilt and my punishment.
In Jesus we find a God of just justice and a God of magnificent mercy.
While most of the world wants a God of unjust justice, in Jesus we find a God of just justice and a God of magnificent mercy. In God we find just justice because guilt was pronounced but magnificent mercy because the judge took the guilt and punishment upon himself.
During Holy Week, those of us who call ourselves “Christian” can thank God for that.
© Ryan Vanderland 2014