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Nehemiah 8:13, “On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the teacher to give attention to the words of the Law.”
Calibration. We put our faith in it every day.
Calibration is a comparison between weights and measurements, one of known correctness made with one device against another measurement made with a second device. The device with the known correctness is called the standard. The other is the test unit.
If the test unit doesn’t measure accurately, then we recalibrate it to make sure it eventually lines up with the standard. This keeps everything running evenly, correctly, and with integrity.
We rely on calibration more often than we know. Did you get some gas this week? Shop for new clothes? Buy some groceries? All of these required inspection and analyzation of weights and measurements. How many gallons of gas? What size outfit? How heavy of a container of goods?
We trust that what we purchased were true weights and measurements and that we were getting the correct value for our money.
I know many of us as we pondered a New Year’s resolution of weight loss probably looked down at the scale we stood upon and said to ourselves, “Surely this scale is off! It needs recalibrating!”
Many scales haves dials you can adjust, but pushing it back to negative 10 to get the scale to tell you you weigh 200 when you step on it won’t change the fact that you still weigh 210!
A yard stick (inches), a weight scale (pounds) and a gas pump (gallons), all require calibrations.
But where did these measurements come from?
We all know a yard stick to be 36″ long. No debate. No argument. It’s a fact. We put our faith in and use it every day. What size clothes do you wear? You can rattle off the measurements in inches without thinking twice.
But who made an inch an inch and a foot a foot and a yard a yard? Where did this come from?
The fact is, the precise origin of the yard measure is not definitely known. There are many speculations. Some believe it derived from the doubling of the cubit. Others believe it came from the length of a stride or pace. Others say it was derived from the girth of a person’s waist, while another claim held that the measure was invented by Henry I of England, who reigned in the 1100’s, as being the distance between the tip of his nose and the end of his thumb.
Yet today we take it as fact and in faith and non-negotiable that a yard is a yard.
And who said a pound was a particular weight? Who started this?
There were many definitions of pounds throughout the centuries, depending in which country you lived, and, again, there’s no definite date you can say, “There’s where it began”. It just evolved over the centuries.
Merchants used scales to weigh their items against an individual, calibrated standard, much like a balance scale. In fact, lady justice is shown blindfolded and holding a balance scale to represent impartial fairness in court proceedings.
But since July 1, 1959, the United States and countries of the Commonwealth of Nations agreed upon common definitions for the pound and the yard. The international pound has been defined as exactly 0.45359237 kg and the yard was legally defined to be exactly 0.9144 meters.
Did you know that? So, we put our faith in a pound being a certain weight. It’s, in spite of what our mind says when we look at our bathroom scales, non-negotiable.
Who created a “gallon”?
This seems to be derived way back in old European days in the northern part of France, where they used jugs to measure out wine for sale. I imagine one day they were trying to figure out how to conveniently get their product from where it was produced to the customers homes when they searched around their house and found a jug large enough to hold a good supply, but small enough to carry without it being too cumbersome. And the gallon was invented!
Some clueless pottery maker, just trying to make a living, invented the perfect size container which became the standard measurement throughout Europe and America and which we now know as the “gallon”.
Gasoline pumps from the early days actually had a see through widow because customers wanted to see the product they were buying measured out as they were purchasing it.
It’s interesting that all of these measurements had sketchy, vague, and undetermined origins. Yet we accept these measurements in faith today as non-negotiable facts and absolutes. A pound is a pound, a gallon is a gallon, a yard is a yard.
Granted, there is such a thing as weight and length and mass. God created these things. But we’ve chosen to embrace the pound, the yard, and the gallon as our calibrators for what is true and accurate to determine the weight, length, and mass of items.
We hold up our test items that need measuring to the known and agreed upon standard of pound, yard, and gallon, and determine the veracity of their claims by them.
If they don’t measure up, we adjust the test items to match the standard. We never change the standard to match the test items.
If we were to take a yard, a gallon, and a pound and each of us were to say, “No, I think a yard should be this long and a gallon should be this much and a pound should weigh this much”, our economy and our society would be in mass confusion.
What if a football player had a different definition of a yard than the referee? What if your idea of a gallon of gasoline was different than the BP station? Ladies, what if you arbitrarily decided you were a size 2 regardless of what the tags said on the rack?
The score would be in question, the gas would be much cheaper, and the clothes, most likely, wouldn’t fit! All these measurements would be skewed to our benefit.
If we all base our measurements on what our individual interpretation of them should be the foundational, non-negotiable standard is lost.
The test becomes the standard and everything falls apart.
Morally, this is what we see happening in our world today.
Truth is subjective. Truth is relative. There is no absolute truth. It’s too confining, too restricting, too narrow for our modern, liberal, anything goes generation.
It’s called “moral relativism”, and it’s eroding the very foundation of God’s solid, unchanging, dependable moral foundation based on His Word upon which our society was built.
What may be good for you maybe isn’t so good for me. They say, “Hey, I can believe whatever I want to believe as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.”
But it IS hurting somebody. First, it’s hurting YOU! And Jesus loves you and cares for your soul! Why trade a life of joy and peace and love in the Lord for the empty, unsatisfying trash the world has to offer that will eventually destroy you?!
And, second, it’s collectively hurting our children, our families, our institutions of education and government, and society at large as individual sin and compromise infect the larger culture with its selfishness and filth.
Why is it we accept by faith the standard measurements of yard, pound, and gallon as absolute and non-negotiable, even though they were created by man, but when it comes to the absolute truth of God’s Word, all of a sudden it becomes relative and optional?
Why can’t truth be absolute? Isn’t a lie a lie? Isn’t stealing stealing? Isn’t cheating cheating?
No matter how you dress up a pig, isn’t it, underneath all the disguise, still a pig?
Yet we live in a world that justifies actions and decisions and choices and lifestyles.
“I was born that way”, or, “It was just a little white lie”, or, “I did it for the common good”, or, “Everyone is doing it.”
2 Cor. 10:12, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
The test (Moral Relativism) has become the standard and our society, including our churches, are in chaos, because you can’t have a million or two million or one hundred million standards! You can only have one standard!
And that standard is God’s Holy Word!
Jeremiah 50:2, “Declare among the nations, Proclaim, and set up a standard; Proclaim—do not conceal it.”
Not standards, but A STANDARD. God’s Standard found in His Word for us!
It’s time to recalibrate.
The standard of gallon, yard, and pound, were created to prevent fraud in the marketplace.
For thousands of years merchants seeking to defraud customers and line their pockets with greater profits, operated with uneven scales or inaccurate weights or both.
The uniform standard created truth, veracity, and a solid foundation in which to live our lives.
The people of Israel had just come out of years and years of slavery, exile, and suffering as a result of their rejection of God’s Standard, His Law, His Word.
They chose to live life apart from the absolute standards and rules God had established for their good and well being and live a life based on subjective truth.
They thought they knew better than God and thought they were immune to any punishment or reaping of any bad seeds sown, so they went their own way and did what seemed right to them.
But you always will reap what you sow, in kind and in greater proportion to what was sown.
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death & destruction.”
It may SEEM right, it may APPEAR correct, based on our analyzation of things it may LOOK like a good way to go, but if we are comparing our lives to others and feeling like we’re doing pretty good in comparison, and we’re not holding up that “way” we’ve chosen to God’s Standard, we are simply taking a stab in the dark and taking a real risk of some pretty terrible things happening in our lives.
On the second day of the month the heads of the households gathered around the Word of God and gave It, His Word, their undivided attention.
God has given us His Word as the Standard by which to live our lives. It’s dependable, unchanging, and as we take it in faith, non-negotiable. We just believe it and embrace it as so.
I can’t think of a better way to begin the new year on this fourth day of the month than to recommit to God’s Word as THE Standard for our lives in 2015. It’s time to recalibrate.
Let’s commit to giving Him our undivided attention. Let’s laser focus on His Word as our Standard for living. Let’s gather around it as individuals, families, and churches and see what it has to say for our every day lives. Let’s recalibrate.
Got questions? Find the answers in His Word. Got hurts? Find solace in His Word. Got confusion? Find direction in His Word. Got weariness? Find rest in His Word.
His Word is not just a truth, It’s THE Truth. His Word is not just a way, It’s THE Way.
Let’s determine at the first part of this new year, IN FAITH, to recalibrate our lives to God’s Word, not the other way around.
Listen to Wikipedia’s write up of measurements, “Materials traded in the marketplace are quantified according to accepted units and standards in order to avoid fraud. The standards themselves are legally defined so as to facilitate the resolution of disputes brought to the courts; only legally defined measures will be recognized by the courts. Quantifying devices used by traders are subject to official inspection, and penalties apply if they are fraudulent.
What needs to be officially inspected in your life today? What means of measurement have you allowed to be set in place as the standard in your life and the life of your family?
Has the test become the standard?
Have you taken God’s Word and tried to adjust it to your lifestyle, or have you taken your lifestyle and held it to the standard of God’s Word?
The measurements of pound, yard, and gallon are man-made yet we embrace them as absolute. God’s Standards are Holy Spirit written yet we treat them as optional, outdated, and changeable. His truths and standards are unchanging and unchangeable, regardless of what a culture or people may say otherwise.
We would be wise to do as the people of Israel did on that day and not only give careful attention to His Word, but respond with actions of obedience and reverence and repentance in EVERY area we have made the test the standard.
If you were to try and draw a line freehand from top to bottom on a piece of paper, it would be crooked at some point, no matter how hard you try, no matter how careful you are, guaranteed.
But then if you take a ruler and use it to draw a line, it’ll be straight.
We can’t be straight in our lives, no matter how we try or how good we are, without a ruler, and God’s ruler is the Word of God. It’s our plumb line, our true north compass.
God’s Word is the only standard that will enable us to draw a straight line in our personal life, in our family life, in the church, and in society. There’s only one King in this Kingdom, His name is Jesus Christ, and He has a ruler called His Word.
That’s our Standard.
In 2015, let’s consistently hold up in faith the Standard of God’s Word to test our lives, and then make the adjustments and recalibrate back to the Standard where we need to.
We would be wise to recalibrate our lives to His unchangeable, life giving, dependable, strengthening, helpful, all powerful, wise, guiding, protecting, correcting, saving Word.