Scripture Reading: Joshua 17:1-18:28 / John 1:29-51 / Proverbs 10:31-11:8
The Flim-Flam Man was a 1967 American comedy film about a drifting trickster, Mordecai C. Jones, who made his living by defrauding innocent and gullible people. He teamed up with an Army deserter and together they traveled from town to town, running their cons while trying to keep one step ahead of the law. The term “Flim-Flam” was used to describe con artists who would swindle people by clever manipulation and persuasion.
To protect consumers, The National Better Business Bureau was formed in 1912. "Medical quackery and the promotions of nostrums and worthless drugs were among the most prominent abuses which led to the establishment of formal self-regulation in business and, in turn, to the creation of the NBBB."
In ancient days, deceptive merchants would have several sets of weights in their bag. When they were buying something, they would pull out their heavier set to weigh out what they were going to buy. That would mean they would receive more product for their money. When selling, they would pull out the lighter weight so they wouldn’t have to sell as much and would make a greater profit.
God addressed this deceitful business practice in the law and instructed Israel to have just balances as they bought and sold things. They were not to have one set of weights when buying and another set when selling. Proverbs summarizes God’s response to business dishonesty, “The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” (Proverbs 11:1)
Business dealings are to be transacted on a level playing field of honesty. How we need to be people of fairness and truthfulness. Our business dealings are to be governed by righteous character and integrity. Actions of honesty bring honor to God but deceit dishonors Him. This not only applies to our business dealings but also to our social, political, community and family relationships.
God responds to this act of deception very harshly as it is an abomination in His sight. God finds this type of sin to be detestable and repulsive. He always responds with extreme condemnation and vengeance when there is injustice and untruth. Acts of this kind were so detestable to God that He promised to drive Israel from the Promised Land if they remained unrepentive. God will defend the innocent while bringing judgment upon the oppressor.
Unethical business practices may be monetarily beneficial but they have hidden and eternal consequences. Integrity and character are more valuable than any gain we may obtain through dishonesty. God takes great delight in our honesty and is faithful to measure out His grace, mercy, love and faithfulness in abundant proportions. God loves to give and He always blesses us… more than we deserve!