Scripture Focus: Deuteronomy 25.13–16
13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 16 For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.
Reflection: Privileging Truth over Personal Gain
By Rachel Larsen
Scripture not only teaches us to be truthful; it shows us how—and why. One example is the use of “accurate and honest weights and measures.” (Deuteronomy 25.15)
In the ancient world, people weighed goods and money to determine a fair price. Using different scales would misrepresent value, enabling fraud and rewarding greed.
Dishonest scales were a common problem in the ancient world. That is why the call to keep honest weights appears again and again in the Bible. (Proverbs 11.1, 20.23; Amos 8.5) Israel was to shun this practice, using the same standard for all their business dealings. The command even comes with a promised reward: “so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deut 25.15)
Our society no longer relies on scales in this way, but the principle of not misleading others to gain an advantage remains. Especially in a culture like ours that is infatuated with economic status and vocational success, the temptation to misrepresent ourselves is alive and well.
Do we exaggerate our strengths on our resumes or LinkedIn? Do we subtly or overtly take credit for work not fully our own? Do we gloat over our accomplishments at dinner parties? Practices like these are common and in certain contexts acceptable, just like having different weights was in the world of the Bible.
But why does it matter?
Ultimately, we must care about truth because God is truth. The call for honest weights stems from God’s truthful character. Truthfulness is not about checking the right boxes or completing a list of demands. It is about being like the one we worship.
God called Israel to be holy as he is holy, to image or model his righteous character before the nations of the earth. (Exodus 19.6; Leviticus 11:44) God lives in us to conform us to the image of his son, who is truth. (John 14.6; Romans 8.29)
May he cultivate in us a heart that puts truth above personal gain. As we grow into your likeness, Jesus, make us increasingly attuned to the ways our culture tempts us to privilege accomplishment over truth. Strengthen us to resist them. May you truly be first in our hearts and first in our lives.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commandments. — Psalm 119.10
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read more about The Commission of Truth
Facts are more than our friends—they are our responsibility. And not only are facts our responsibility, truth is our identity.
Read more about Honoring The Truth
Seeking the truth is not only a spiritual quest. It is sometimes a civic one. Or a legal one.