Honest scales and balances are from the LORD; all the weights in the bag are His concern.
I. THE DERIVATION OF AUTHORITY AND LAW FROM GOD. (Ver. 10.) The true ruler is the representative of God. Royal decrees and legal statutes profess to rest, and must rest ultimately, if they are to be binding, upon the moral Law itself. Hence the reverence in old days for "the Lord's anointed," though in the person of a Charles Stuart, was the popular witness to a deep truth, which lies at the foundation of society.
II. PRINCIPLES OF STABLE RULE. (Ver. 11.) The pair of scales have ever been viewed as the emblems of justice, and so the expressions, symbolically, of the nature of God. The second allusion is to the stone weights which the Oriental merchant carries in his bag, serving the purpose the more exactly, as not liable to rust. The exact balance and the just weight, then, if symbols of Jehovah, must be the symbols of every righteous human government.
III. THE PRINCIPLES OF ROYAL FAVOUR AND DISFAVOUR. (Vers. 12-15.)
1. The ruler must be of pure sentiment, abhorring all kinds of immorality, keeping his court pure, "rearing the white flower of a blameless life in the fine light that beats upon the throne." How much we owe in these respects to the example of our sovereign and her husband is written on the thankful heart of every religious Englishman.
2. Strong moral convictions. That the throne securely rests, not upon might, but right; not upon bayonets, but upon the Word of God. The influence proceeding from such a mind will be constantly felt as antipathetic to falsehood and corruption, and the other eating mildews of high places.
3. Sympathy with honest policies. How common is it to assume that politics have little or nothing to do with morality! No one who believes in the teaching of his Bible can accept such a dogma. He who acts upon it is already a traitor to his country and his God. As Greece had its Demosthenes, who has been called a "saint in politics," so we have had, thank God, in our time Inca of eloquent tongue and true heart in the national councils. May their line and tradition never become extinct!
4. Their dread judicial power. (Ver. 14.) The authorities who represent the penal powers of law are a terror to evil doers. There must be the power to punish. And a measured and well tempered severity does in a sense "reconcile" numbers, not to be affected otherwise, to a course of law-abiding and just conduct.
5. The attractions of their smile. (Ver. 15.) Ever, while human nature continues what it is, the smile of the sovereign, the tokens of his favour - the star, the medal, the garter, the uniform - will be sought after with eagerness and worn with pride. There may be a side of idle vanity in this, yet equally a side of good. It is good to seek association with greatness, though the ideal of greatness may often be mistaken. Only let us see that there is no real greatness which does not in some way reflect the majesty of God. - J.
A just weight and balance are the Lord's.
1. We are all of us tempted to think that a considerable proportion of our life is too insignificant to attract the particular attention of God. We think He marks what business we enter, but when we are in it lets us alone. Or He marks a large business transaction in which there is room for a really gigantic fraud, but cannot pay any attention to a minute sale over the counter, the trivial adulteration of a common article, the ingenious subterfuge for disposing of a damaged or useless stock. But could anything be more illogical? Great and small are relative terms, and have no significance with God. If He knows us at all, He knows all about us. The whole life, with every detail from birth to death, is accurately photographed in the light of His omniscience.
2. In this exhaustive and detailed knowledge of the way in which you are conducting your business His warm approval follows everything that is honest and just; His vehement censure lights on all that is dishonest and unjust. We have no reason for thinking that the unjust balance has become any less abominable to the Lord because the eager and relentless competition of modern industrial life has multiplied, while it has refined the methods of fraud and has created a condition of things in which, as so many people urge, questionable practices have become actually necessary for one who would keep his head above water. Double-dealing, no matter what may be the plea, is abominable in the sight of the Lord.
3. All should order their business ways as in the sight of God, and concern themselves chiefly with the thought how they may be in conformity with His holy will. Do not be content with estimating your conduct by the judgment which other men would pass upon it. Do not be content even with estimating your conduct by the standard of your own unaided conscience. Unless you realise that God sees and knows, and unless you humbly submit everything to His judgment, you are sure to go wrong; your standard will insensibly fall, and you will insensibly fall away even from the fallen standard. You will not alter His judgment of your conduct by attempting to ignore it. But by seeking to understand it, and by laying your heart open to be influenced by it, you will find that your conduct is perceptibly altered, and apparent impossibilities are overcome, because "by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil."
(R. F. Horton, D.D.)
(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M.A.)
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