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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Weights, Measures, and Fried Chicken

God sets the standards of truth and wisdom

Proverbs 6:16-17

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,  

Proverbs 16:11

11 Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s;
All the weights in the bag are His work.


How many miles per gallon does your car get? Is that US gallons or imperial gallons? Or maybe, for you, how many liters per 100 kilometers? Or perhaps, rods to the hogshead? These days, with the price of fuel, I imagine you are very conscious of this, no matter what unit of measure your country uses. 

Units of measure are intended to be absolute and infallible–the baseline for the rhythm of the machinery of life. Every coin has an exchange value, every shirt has a collar size, the lady at the country cooking buffet weighs your tray to charge you for your meal, and every song on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” had a disco rating: 

“I'll give it an 65, it’s got a good beat but you just can't dance to it.”

When someone alters a standard unit of measure, bad things happen. Comedian Jerry Clower, of Grand Old Opry fame, liked to tell the story of Mr. Duvall Scott’s country store:

Mr. Duvall Scott owned and ran the country store where he grew up. The ice truck started delivering to the store, and Mr. Scott would get a big block of ice and chip it up for cold drinks and other things. He would put that chipped up ice in a freezer box and sell fresh chickens for people to fry. 

One Saturday evening a lady came in and asked Mr Duvall Scott, “do you have any chickens?” “Oh yes,” he said, “I have a beautiful chicken right here.” He stuck his hand in the ice and felt around–and there was only one fryer left in there. He pulled the chicken out of the ice and laid it up on the scale, and said, “this one’s two-and-a-half pounds.” 

“I’d like to have one just a little bit bigger than that,” the lady replied.

Mr. Scott took that chicken and stuck it back down in the ice. He swirled that chicken around in there real good, brought it back up and laid it on the scale,” this one’s three pounds.”

The lady said, “Fine. I will take both of them!”

Solomon uses images of weights and measures throughout the book of Proverbs. In ancient times, as in modern days, the merchant’s scale and the carpenter’s plumb line were used to set prices, settle debates, and ensure the flow of commerce. Solomon may not have been thinking of southern fried chicken, but he had known a thousand men like Mr. Duvall Scott, and the trouble that results when poor ethics clash with absolutes. 

Military academies teach officers learn codes of honor, and business schools enroll students in ethics classes–which could have benefitted Mr. Duvall Scott. Even in this age of post-modern relativism, there are still absolute measures that cannot be disputed. 

I am a commercial banker by trade, and for every real estate loan that I originate, a property survey is required. Business deals have been made or broken by a surveyor’s pins, placed in the ground with the assistance of mathematics, maps, and orbiting GPS satellites. I have known many surveyors over the years, and it never fails to amaze them how vehemently a property owner or heir will dispute a boundary line that does not favor their notion of the dimensions of the land they claim. And yet, without these lines, chaos would reign in the hearts of men–and the tax assessor’s office.  

Solomon is calling his young pupils, including his son (the future king), to remember that God is not a god of worldly whims. He cannot be tricked and cheated, like Zeus by Prometheus–or the Devil by Johnny the fiddle player, when he went down to Georgia. God demands honesty and truth in all things–even when you may never be found out. Words from UCLA basketball coach John Wooden* capture this:

The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.–John Wooden

God, the Ancient of Days, your Heavenly Father, is the very standard-setter Himself. His standards are the very highest–and He is always watching. God cannot lie, as Paul tells Titus: 

1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,–Titus 1:1-2

God incarnate in His Son, Jesus, proclaims Himself to be “…the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” and He lives out that truth in your heart. God sets the highest standard of honesty and truth–because He is Truth. 

 So much so, that God hates lying:

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,–Proverbs 6:16-17

Lying is the second sin listed in the “seven deadly sins” of Proverbs, and as you considered previously, lying is so abhorrent to Him, it is listed twice (vs 18-19).

You begin to understand this better when you consider that God is the source of all things, including wisdom, justice and righteousness. In these things, God is the source of all measure. 

God is truth by nature, His every word is flawless and without deceit. This modern culture seeks to revel in its post-modern relativism and cafeteria-style choosing of what is true and what is not. God, is your Ebenezer, Christ is the mighty rock on which you stand, in bold statement against this. Through Christ, the God who cannot lie is your true refuge:

17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.–Hebrews 6:17-18

Tim Keller contrasts God and the world thus:  

The Lord is real in contrast to the fictitious; He is the absolute in contrast to the relative; He is substantial in contrast to the ephemeral.–Tim Keller

Like the old hymn that you love to sing, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less:” 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand


Do you find yourself on sinking sand in this life? Trapped by the bend and sway of those around you who have come unmoored from Gospel truth–or even good common sense. For even common sense comes from God, as St. Augustine writes: 

Nay, but let every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his Master…–St. Augustine, “On Christian Doctrine”

This is your Heavenly Father, the very author of truth and the standards of measure themselves. Solomon elaborates on this in chapter 16:  

11 Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s;
All the weights in the bag are His work.–Proverbs 16:11

Solomon is telling you a number of things in this passage. On the surface, it is a call to truly ethical living, that good business practices are godly and right. In another, more deeper way, he is revealing the nature of God. In the image of the weights and scales, God Himself is the setter of standards of truth. Even kings, just and good kings, recognize the authority of God’s units of measure and the need for consistency in balancing their own kingdoms by their rule. Commentator Bruce Waltke explains the imagery here:   

(The balances and scales) are not something arbitrary which each king can manufacture to suit his convenience. They are fixed by God and delivered into the king’s keeping to administer fairly.–Bruce Waltke, “Commentary on Proverbs” 

This passage of Proverbs shows that God not only stands behind the standards of righteousness and justice, He is the one who has made them. Waltke again reveals:

The Lord instituted and sustains the means of justice in His everlasting, ordered kingdom, and the king himself is subject to that higher government.–Bruce Waltke

Kings that do not feel the need to subject themselves to God’s standards of righteousness and justice, soon find themselves afoul of their own whims and mania-and the sycophantic cronyism of those who sell their souls for his favor. The governments of the modern world are replete with leaders such as these, who seek to redefine the very meaning of words that do not flatter them–only to change back when the breeze of vox populi shifts.

Verse 11 describes the “bag” or “pouch” where the weights are kept. This is the merchant’s pouch, or the tools of the surveyor, items that are given to you to carry in this world and in your own life. God has armed you with His truth and you are to measure all things by it. 

How do you do this? How can you know the truth in this world that seeks to twist the concepts of right and wrong, to say that evil is good and good is evil and oppressive? First, by knowing that reality is what it is because God has created it to be so. He has spoken with the creative power of His Word from the beginning, revealing Himself in creation. By this “general revelation,” all people know the truth of God: 

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,–Romans 1:20

The world is either blessed or condemned by the evidence of God as revealed in His created order–and in the adherence to His timeless standards of truth and justice. You can look at the Grand Canyon, a bee on a flower, or a brilliant sunset and see His handiwork. 

Second, God has revealed Himself to you in His written Word. He calls you to “do justly and walk humbly” before Him (Micah 6:8). You are called to abandon your former lusts and live a life of holiness, as Jesus, who saved you, is holy (I Peter 1:13-16). Paul teaches this clearly to the Ephesians as he exhort them to live in this truth from Christ:

25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.–Ephesians 4:25

You follow the God who is the measure of truth, who weighs all things in the balance–including you and me. In a world that is turned upside-down, He is true in His love for you, a love that will never fail. 

I am reminded of one of the greatest of country songs by artist George Strait, simply titled “True:”    

True, like the sun comin' up each mornin'
Bright as the light in a baby's smile
Sure as a mountain river windin'
Right as the rain fallin' from the sky
Girl my love for you, is true


As surely as the sun rises this morning, your Heavenly Father loves you. He has given you His Son and taken you as His own for all eternity. Embrace His truth in this world, and He will always be yours, and you His.


*Edit: Reader correction - UCLA coach John Wooden not Tom Wooden


The Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay and this Saturday Deep is written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

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