Friday, October 2, 2009

Thoughts on Proverbs 11:1 & 20:23

My wife and I have been studying in Proverbs lately. This morning we were looking at chapter 11 where the very first verse states: "The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight." Solomon says practically the same thing again in chapter 20 verse 23 where he writes: "The Lord detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him."

When Solomon wrote those words, using dishonest scales was probably the chief way a dishonest businessman could cheat his customers. Today there is an infinite variety of ways. I think what Solomon is really saying is that God detests dishonest business practices that cheat people out of their hard earned income, whether on the scale of Bernie Madoff or Enron or your local mortgage lender or car salesman.

I chose the latter two examples because I remember how my father-in-law was taken advantage off by two people in those professions while in his late 70's and early 80's.

When I was a teenager our church youth group spent two weeks during one summer fixing up a house in a Columbus, Ohio slum neighborhood. The house was inhabited by an elderly widow. (Of course, at 16 or 17, anyone over 40 was elderly to me!) A couple of months after we finished the project the widow was evicted. It seemed the landlord was so impressed with the work we did that he promptly raised the rent, since the house was now in so much better shape. The widow could not afford the increased rent on her fixed income and had to leave. We did some research and discovered that this slumlord was a deacon in our own church! When we asked the youth minister to intervene, we were told that the slumlord/deacon was a major contributor to the church and a powerful man on the church board and there was nothing he could do.

A number of us left the church. I did not darken the door of a church for many years. I wonder how many of my friends never went back, never developed a relationship with Christ because of that episode?

I also wonder how many dishonest "Christian" business people realize (or care) that the Lord they profess to worship abhors and detests what they do?

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