I haven’t thought much about the metric measuring system in a long while, but it came up in conversation with a mama at the homeschool convention we attended last weekend. In discussing various math programs she has tried, she noted one that uses the metric system in most of its lessons. She then mentioned that the United States is a rare country that doesn’t use it exclusively.
The idea of systems of measurement is an old one. The Bible talks of omers, handbreadths, cubits, measuring rods, miles, and such. The idea of standard measurements is an old one, too. In the case of measurements, standards are important because they have to do with justice and fairness as people relate to one another.
In the Bible, God is firm about measurements being fair.
You shall have a full and just weight;
you shall have a full and just measure,
that your days may be prolonged in the land
which the Lord your God gives you.
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight.
A just balance and scales belong to the Lord;
All the weights of the bag are His concern.
We women are funny about measurements. We are happy to tell you how tall we are, but don’t ask us how much we weigh! One time a medical professional asked me for a weight estimate. I’m a woman. I’m not telling you the answer, but I did give him a pretty specific estimate. He said that men will say something like “about 200 pounds,” but that women say about . . . and then do like I did with a not-so-round number. I think we’re more likely to keep up with it, don’t you think?
It’s not just weight measurements we keep up with; we measure ourselves by other women, too. That is not a standard measurement because it is impossible to do. We can’t accurately measure ourselves against other women because we don’t know how they measure up — not really. We have our ideas which might be right but they might be wrong.
God is the One Who really knows those other women — and us — inside out. He explained this to the prophet Samuel when He chose the shepherd David to become the king of Israel.
. . . God sees not as man sees,
for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
So, the next time we think we don’t measure up, let’s be sure which standard of measurement we use. God is the only One with the perfect standards, and those standards are the only ones that help us know for certain how we are doing.
I love the reason that God gave when He told the Israelites to have just measurements in Leviticus 19. He said that the reason they were to have just measurements was that He is God. I believe He wants us to use just measurements to measure ourselves, too, and He wants us to trust His grace when we find out what our measurements are.
You shall have just balances, just weights,
a just ephah, and a just hin;
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you out from the land of Egypt.