Pastors Report - 25 Jan 2019
godlyWeightsAndMeasures

Godly Weights and Measures:

"Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt." (Leviticus 19:36)

A Godly Principle:

Taken at face value the above passage in Leviticus 19 is straightforward. It was part of the law of the land – given to the ancient Israelites by God who freed them from a hopeless slavery – so the life they'd live in the Promised land, was one that dealt honestly with each other in the area of weights and measures. A modern translation makes this passage's physical intent quite clear:

  • Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight, or volume.
  • Your scales and weights must be accurate. Your containers for measuring dry materials or liquids must be accurate. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
  • You must be careful to keep all of my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:35-37 – New Living Translation)

Today, without exception, the modern Western nations also recognise the need to have very similar legal decrees on their statute books – and an appropriate government department to enforce the legislation. This is so that the general population can be reasonably sure of obtaining an accurate measure for the price charged. But rest assured, the heart of man has not yet changed! What was the true problem in ancient times in this area, is still very much the case today – however many laws and standards may be imposed – because the heart of the problem is spiritual. And therefore the only true solution must itself be spiritual as well.

Spirit of the Law:

This need – to provide a true solution which is spiritual in nature – is hinted at in the parallel account found in Deuteronomy 25. Notice how the passage broadens its application well beyond mere weights and measures in verse 16:

  • Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.
  • Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.
  • But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
  • For all that do SUCH things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)

It's not merely those who have inaccurate weights and measures who are condemned in God's sight by this passage, but any who have a similar spirit of unrighteousness. Those who are devious in their dealings with others – who deliberately give a certain beneficial impression, while flagrantly knowing that impression is actually false. God does not mince his words. He calls such people an abomination! Yet today our society appears full of them.

Shrinkflation:

As an example, have you noticed just how many items on the shopping list seem to be shrinking in size – yet often with the box remaining the same? If you have, you're not alone, and there is now a term for it: "shrinkflation"

Shrinking chocolate bars, cereal boxes and loaves of bread have contributed to a rise in so-called "shrinkflation" in Britain, official figures have shown. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 206 products shrank in size between September 2015 and June 2017. They included bread and cereals, meat, sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate and other confectionery. Prices tend to stay the same when products change size, the ONS said, consistent with the idea that some products are undergoing "shrinkflation"... The ONS's Mike Hardie said: "the majority of size changes occurred in the food and drink sector. Everyday staples such as bread and cereals most likely to have seen reductions in size, while consumers may also find some chocolate products to be smaller." (The "I" newspaper: "Shrinkflation hits every day groceries" 22 Jan 2019 page 5)

The reason behind this practice is simple: maintaining profit by deliberately hiding the decrease in value. An increase in price would probably be apparent, but seeing the outer wrapper stay the same the average shopper tends to be a creature of habit – which is what the companies "that do SUCH things" (Deuteronomy 25:16) are counting on – and most likely would fail to notice the subtle difference. This practice is often followed a few months later with yet another price increase but this time accompanied with the promotion "20% extra!" bringing the product somewhere near its original size. Legal? Yes – technically – but a form of deceit that does not love your neighbour as yourself? Certainly!

Built-in Obsolescence:

In so many ways advertising seems to make us like a brainless bunch of lemmings prepared to leap over any financial precipice to "get the latest" in everything. Yet it certainly has not always been this way. Judy and I knew a lady - who died well into her 90s - who, for the past 65 years or so, used the same refrigerator that she and her husband purchased around the time of the 2nd world war. This 'fridge continued working in her home day in and day out without problem, effectively cooling food. There was simply no need to buy "the latest" model. The one she had was built at a time when the idea was to make "the best possible product" - so that the user would have many, many years of good, reliable service.

Today the idea is the reverse. Built-in obsolescence -- the deliberate practice of making shoddy goods that break after moderate use -- is a policy that is actively followed so that more and more purchases must be made. Those "that do SUCH things" are effectively using false weights and measures – knowingly short-changing their customers. I even remember hearing of a man whose very job was specifically created to further the built-in obsolescence principle. The company he worked for made large industrial transformers that were lasting 60 years or more, so they hired this man - a fully qualified engineer - to examine and redesign each facet of each transformer so that it would last no more than 20 years. And the reasoning behind such a frame of mind? To get ... to make ... to acquire ... three times the sales! And at the other end of this wasteful cycle are the environmental authorities that charge to dispose of the mountains of obsolete junk created! An entire system designed on greed solely to maximise company profits. All based on the way of get. All spawned from the wrong tree.

The Wrong Tree:

And this self-centred spirit is to be found in so many different areas concerning weights and measures – "and such things", today. Much of it we have become so used to that we hardly even stop to consider how it will need to change in the World Tomorrow. Presenting a certain appearance on the one hand – but for concealed real motives. Placing sweets in the reach of children by supermarket checkouts, for example – knowing full well the difficulty that gives the parents while queueing to pay. Even placing a price of £9.99 rather than a straightforward £10 could be classed as a weights and measures issue in its true spiritual sense.

This week, four men have been put on trial in Paris France for their part in the 2013 horsemeat scandal where horsemeat was sold as beef on an industrial scale. The four men are accused of helping organise the sale of more than 500 tonnes of horsemeat labelled incorrectly as beef throughout Europe, including the UK. Here is an article from the Daily Mail at the time, when the food manufacturer Findus had to finally admit its frozen "beef" lasagne was in fact made using virtually all horsemeat:

UK - 8 Feb 2013 - Findus has tonight admitted that it has been selling packs of its popular frozen lasagne that were 99 per cent horsemeat. The news is the first time that it has been confirmed that horsemeat contamination of products sold in the UK has spread beyond beef burgers. There are concerns that the horse meat used in the lasagne contained the drug bute, which is a known human health risk. Findus was today unable to say how long horsemeat has been used in its products. ( http://cogiw.org/news/?id=16153)

On the surface the problem seems to have been one of overly long, multi-country supply lines and the industrialisation of our food. And indeed that is a problem. But there is also the spiritual dimension - not only of not loving our neighbour as ourselves and putting profit as the primary goal, but also a failure to both provide - and BE - the genuine article. It is a form of lying. A spiritual weights and measures issue.

US fish scandal:

Such food scandals are by no means limited to the UK and Europe. Note this report from a few years ago on the DNA analysis of fish from across the United States. It makes you want to only purchase something on which you can actually SEE the fins and scales!

Oceana's study tested more than 1,200 seafood samples through DNA analysis in Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and other major cities, and found that 33 percent of seafood tested was mislabeled, according to Food and Drug Administration guidelines.......

Of all the places Oceana tested, sushi joints were the biggest culprits, with a national mislabeling rate of 74 percent. The most common type of sushi fraud was the substitution of escolar for white tuna, which occurred 84 percent of the time. Escolar, nicknamed the "ex-lax" fish, is a snake mackerel and not actually a tuna at all, and can cause serious digestive issues for some people who eat more than a few ounces. The FDA warns against eating this fish in large portions and it is even outright banned in Italy and Japan. But avoiding escolar is nearly impossible if you are unaware that it is actually being served. ( huffingtonpost.com)

Such flagrant mislabelling is rightly classed as a criminal offence in virtually all Western democracies today – but in so many cases, breaking the identical spirit of the law is not. Take monosodium glutamate (MSG) as an example. Added to food, this chemical enhances the flavours present – but it would not be "needed" if the flavours were there as they should be in the first place. But the forcing of our food on the modern farm – both vegetables and meat – produces a product with little favour, let alone nutrients. Add to that the long industrial supply lines of food manufacturers and it's easy to see just why MSG is being used. But spiritually? Once again it's a weights and measures issue and an attempt to lie and deceive the consumer.

The List Goes On:

And the list goes on: chicken breasts that contain 40% water – deliberately added to increase profit, while claiming it merely increases succulence; GM food of all kinds – yet deliberately hidden by using the chemical companies' lobbying groups to pass legislation hiding it on the product description; insecticide and chemical residue; gold bars with tungsten interiors; financial derivatives – bundled and re-bundled so many times that the investor will never know just what he is buying until it's too late; even the money supply is corrupted across the earth today – with inflation being used by governments to surreptitiously tax the population without them knowing it. And the solution? Certainly not having to make more and more complex laws – trying desperately to hold back the flood on the other side of the levy by sticking a finger in every hole – when the problem is actually spiritual. Going back to the two original trees in the garden of Eden – and finally seeing the wisdom of taking the tree of Life – is the only real and lasting solution.

True concern for our neighbour must form the bedrock of every action plan and scheme we implement as a society in the World Tomorrow. And to do this, what is needed is to remove the spirit evident within this passage from Amos and replace it with the diametrically different Spirit symbolised by the Tree of Life. Something that will not happen "until the spirit be poured upon us from on high" (Isaiah 32:15):

  • ..saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”— skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales,
  • buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.(Amos 8:5-6 NIV)
God is weighing and measuring us:

In the first couple of verses of Revelation 11, we read that God Himself is using His own weights and measures – on us! At this very time God is measuring His temple, of which you and I were called to be a part. We might feel that, not having our own business to run, we can relax re. the weights and measures issue. But when we correctly grasp the true spiritual dimension to the subject it becomes abundantly clear that is simply not the case. Being submerged as we all are in the something-for-nothing/short-changing satanic broadcast – we need to be very much aware that we are certainly more than capable of "missing the mark" in this area. Note the spiritual mindset that Paul wanted to encourage in the brethren - very much one of Give – from a changed heart, even to the point of being pressed down and running over:

  • Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
  • Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
  • With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
  • Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. (Ephesians 6:5-8)
  • Slaves, obey your masters on earth in everything. Don't just obey like people pleasers when they are watching. Instead, obey with the single motivation of fearing the Lord.
  • Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people.
  • You know that you will receive an inheritance as a reward. You serve the Lord Christ.
  • But evildoers will receive their reward for their evil actions. There is no discrimination.(Colossians 3:22-25 CEB)
Our reasonable service:

Throughout the Bible, if we have eyes to see, there are a multitude of examples of what spiritual weights and measures God desired of His servants, which involves a total commitment to Him and to His way of life. No pretence, no half measures. Even if it was to cost us very dear, as in the trial set before Abraham, with the command to sacrifice Isaac. And there again, with Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego, facing certain death in the fiery furnace. Daniel ordered to quit praying to his God or be thrown to the lions. And we read that at the end time, there will be others that will have to give their very lives for the truth.

We have to give this life we're called to our ALL! The ordinance of baptism requires TOTAL immersion - that should really tell us something about how much we're to give up, versus hanging onto! And as Paul brings out in Romans 12; "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."(Romans 12:1)

The Genuine Article:

Ancient Israel had to have everything spelled out to them, as God was dealing with a nation of carnal, unconverted individuals. Does that still apply to us? We should by now be able to see the spiritual intent of the law behind Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 25, and more than that, apply that mindset to all and every situation that confronts us. Yes, once again it all boils down to the two trees, the two ways of life.

The greatest example of living this spiritual intent, the Give versus Get way of life, is of course our elder brother, Jesus Christ. And seeing we "are bought with a price" (I Corinthians 6:20, 7:23) as Paul emphasised to the church in Corinth, let's make sure we are the genuine article, giving God good measure ... His "money's worth", so to speak. No fiddling the scales, no unjust weights, a full measure spiritually speaking. After all – God gave His all in Christ, Christ gave His all, can we do less?

  • And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
  • If any man come to me, and not [love less] his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
  • And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple....
  • ... So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
  • Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
  • It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Luke 14:25-27,33-35)