One of the things mentioned in the “old covenant” that finds challenge in translation to the “new better covenant” is something God specifically calls an “abomination”, it is something He has strong feelings about and is displeased by, it was having differing weights and measures.
God was not suggesting people were not allowed to have “various sizes, hence different” measures, what created the abomination was having one set of weights for one particular customer and a totally different set of weights for another…the abomination was in having a varied baseline that valued customers differently.
In an agrarian/nomadic culture whenever you went to conduct business, say you wanted to purchase a pound of wheat, you would barter with the vendor and banter over the price until both parties were satisfied on the terms, then the vendor would take out a set of weights and place them on one side of the scale and commence to measure out the purchased product on the other side until the two sides were equal…the customer was always at the mercy of the merchant, because he provided the standard for measurement.
God felt so strongly about sustaining a consistent baseline, and not exploiting the process of social interaction, that He refers to the act of tricking the system as an “abomination”. It would not have been to difficult to drill out a lead or metal weight and then fill in the hole with a lighter substance and resealing it to give the impression of a solid weight…the customer would never know and you would make a progressive extra profit through deceit rather than honestly bartering for your intended value.
As a believer I have experienced situations where other believers took advantage of me either intentionally or through a process of deceit where the value system was shifted after the bargain was struck…and there have been times where people close to me managed to “trick the system” or get away with…well…all sorts of things.
I’ve had believers take thousands from me in business partnerships knowing that I would never consider any legal action…and I have had people deliver way less than the agreed value of a covenant without any remorse or care of my cost.
And I am convinced that I have also failed to deliver the appropriate value in many of my relationships, be it the honor of Gods gift in another, or just the simple kindness they deserved as fellow travelers, I know I have defrauded others of the value that our relationship required…when they needed a fair share of wheat, I have substituted a hollow measure and walked away with an illegal profit whether I planned on it or not.
This change in measure, this hollow replaced weight is actually the core experience of a divorce, where you finally realize that the vows mean something different between the affected parties, be it the phrase “until death we do part” or “taking no other” or perhaps “I pledge thee my love” …at some unexpected turn in the road you might find that the value placed upon the vows you took are not equal, the standard has changed and you experience the reality that a foundational unit of measure has changed.
It happens between business partners, it happens in churches, it happens in social settings, just about anywhere people have the capacity to adjust the standard, there have been differing weights and measures…and frankly God hates it.
Sometimes the values are shifted instantly when one person decides or enters an emotional judgment against another, sometimes it a slow gradual eroding of value until the original standard is forgotten, sometimes it premeditated and intentional, and sometimes its just negligence and dullness of life…sometimes its just human dumbness that doesn’t even notice that one person is getting the defrauded version of the deal.
But it happens. All the time. To most all of us.
And the fact that it happens creates an opportunity for bitterness, resentment, anger, payback and a whole lot of other negative possibilities to exist inside our interpersonal world.
Jesus told us there would be stumbling blocks, he knew that given the power of freedom, there would be people who would take advantage of the opportunity and exploit others…He says “woe to them”…and man I don’t want to be “them” when Jesus says “woe”…
So how do you avoid using a different set of standards, and better yet how do you not become angry and bent because you were rejected and ripped off in the first place?
Well its really quite simple for me…I remember “just one moment”…
See one of the unavoidable facts of life for everyone who believes in God, and everyone who eventually will (there are no atheist in heaven or hell) is that one day every person ever born will stand before the Creator and give an account of his or her life.
This is Bible 101, basic stuff, Romans 14:10 “So then every one of us must give an account of himself to God”..
…and 2Cor.5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
There is just one moment that all of my life points to, there will be no “do over” no “second chance” no excuses and no hiding, I will have to stand before God and account for everything I have done while I lived in this skin covered earth suit, whether it was good or bad, there will be no grading on the curve and everything I have done will be open to the eyes of the One who made me.
That one moment can be glorious or…not so much, and the only person who determines that is me…no one else will be standing there with me, and no one else will come up in the conversation that launches me into eternities unrelenting grasp, just me and Jesus…
Now knowing that God is a rewarder (Hebrews 11:6), and knowing that He is eternally good, I have a suspicion that His plan for that moment is to reward me beyond my wildest dreams, His design in every moment I am on this planet is to get me into bigger and better rewards and move me as far away from disappointment as possible, but that require two things from me, a focus on eternity, and a willingness to see the biggest rip-off as well as the smallest infraction against me as an opportunity to get rewarded.
If I truly live for that one moment, and you have changed the weights on me so that a vow is no longer worth the paper in the memory book it was recorded on, then even the deepest rejection of me by another can find value in a much larger economy, Heaven is not simply an escape from hell, it is also a system of honor that God intends I invest in long before I get there.
If I set my weights and measures to His honor, to His pleasure, to seeing Him smile and accept me, then the temporary rejection, and momentary rip-off here, by someone who was probably ripped off themselves and bankrupt already, seems insignificant to say the least.
Paul called it a “light and momentary affliction” and he was referring to getting beaten, stoned, plotted against, lied about, ripped off and defrauded by his own people…those were “light” things…
“Just one moment”…everything in your life will culminate in that one moment, everything you do, every word you say, or do not say, every act of faith, every act of unbelief, every fear of man, and every lazy and dull attempt to live will find its place in the spotlight of His eyes…there is one phrase I am living for…
…”Well done Mark, you were faithful, you were a good servant, come and enter into the Fathers Joy for you”…