Proverbs 11:1 says, “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.” In other words, God is not in favor of cheating someone by using scales that aren’t properly balanced. Notably, the word for righteousness in Psalm 89:14 means to have a balanced scale. Proverbs 11 makes a distinction between an unbalanced scale that provides riches versus righteousness: “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (vs. 4).
Not only that, but “the righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight, but the wicked falls by his own wickedness” (vs. 5). Clearly righteousness wins the day! Being fair, honest, and treating people well is better than building riches through lying, cheating, and stealing.
Life will throw many curveballs, and it’s righteousness that will help us navigate those many storms. All the wealth in the world doesn’t make someone happy. It doesn’t stop death or disease. But righteousness makes the world a better place. It can bring peace and order, and this is what God calls his people to be!
Proverbs 11:1 says “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is a delight.” Cheating is not a new concept. People in antiquity could rig their scales so that they were unbalanced. It was a way of skimming. Weighing metals or food where it works to your favor will add up significantly over the course of many transactions. There’s a simple term for this–scam.
But Proverbs 11:1 isn’t just talking about physical scales. It’s talking about the concept of cheating, whether in business or in dishing out justices. The word “just” means balanced. It means to do what is morally right or fair. If we tip the scales of justice, we are creating injustices.
Many people tip the scales in the church. “So and so is my best friend, so she would never do such a thing.” That’s a tipping-the-scale-statement. When we cover for people because they are friends or family, we are tipping the scales. Wisdom requires us to use balanced scales. We show no favoritism and don’t turn a blind eye to sin based on who we know. If we all worked with balanced scales, it would be much easier to hold people accountable.