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Monday, January 20, 2014

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Have you noticed that even toddlers seem to have a sense of what is fair and what isn’t. They can easily see when they, or someone else, has been treated unfairly. And one of the hardest lessons to learn in life is that life, at least as we know it and live it, simply isn’t fair. But the good news of Proverbs 16 assures us over and over again that God has the final word.

A useful analogy is a level playing field. Think of a football or soccer field that is steeply sloped and imagine that you are on the team driving the ball up the hill toward the goal. In addition to countering the energy and skill of the other team you have to fight against the gravity of the hill. The hill is helping your opponents who are coming down the hill and are playing against you. We seldom have a level playing field in this life, all things are not always equal, but God’s final judgment will level that playing field (verse 4).

What about the times when the field is steeply sloped and I’m playing down hill to my advantage? Injustice now works in my favor. The wind is at my back and I am moving the ball down hill. So what do I do? Do I “press my luck” and take full advantage of this opportunity? Since God is the final judge, Solomon’s advice (verse 8) is, “Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.” When the scales are tipped in my favor it is good to remember the eternal value of honest scales (verse 11, also compare Leviticus 19:35, 36 and Proverbs 11:1; 20:10, 23). God hates dishonest scales.

So is it just chance determining which end of the steeply sloped playing field that I play on? Verse 33 suggests that the Lord has control of that too. Could it be that God uses circumstances to test my integrity and honesty in times of unfairness and injustice to evaluate my determination and faith in Him?

“Lord, search me. Know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.”

David A. Steen
Professor Emeritus
Andrews University