When I was a teenager my mother was in a wheelchair. In order to go upstairs we had a lift installed. The lift was unpowered. It worked by weights. The weights were exactly the same as my mother and her wheelchair. To go up or down all she had to do was to turn a small handle. The lift worked because her weight was counterbalanced by other weights. The lifted had to be regularly checked in case my mother’s weight changed. If the weights got out of balance the lift became harder to use until it became unusable. When the weights were correctly balanced the use of the lift was easy.
Some kinds of music use a melody and a countermelody. This is known as counterpoint. When both the melody and the countermelody are played in balance the results can be stunning. Get the two out of balance and it can sound horrible.
Many of the truths of God are paired in a counterbalance. These truths in tension stop us from turning either to the left or the right of the path that God wants us to walk on (Deuteronomy 5:32).1 32 You shall observe to do therefore as Yahweh your God has commanded you. You shall not turn away to the right hand or to the left. The Word of God is likened unto a sharp two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).2 12 For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Again, we see in this metaphor a picture of two truths cutting in opposite directions. Zophar the Naamathite said that true wisdom had two sides (Job 11:6).3 for true wisdom has two sides. NIV This is why so many of the proverbs in the Bible are paired saying two things.
It is really important that we hold the pairings of God’s truths in proper balance. Examples of these include the righteousness of God and His mercy, His sovereign rule but our responsibility to choose, His grace but our responsibility to work, our present salvation but also the salvation which is yet to be revealed.
Many of the pictures in the Bible which teach us about God bring out the nature of two truths in counterbalance. The ark of the covenant (Exodus 25) is a striking example of this. There were two parts to this namely the ark, a box in which the ten commandments were kept, and a lid called the mercy seat. Thus, we see pictured both the righteousness of God and His mercy. He both judges the world yet also saves sinners from judgement.
It is a mistake to only focus on the judgement of God or to only focus on His mercy. Many people take the view that because God is merciful they will be safe from going to the Lake of Fire in the final judgement. However, there will be a final judgement and those who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ will not find mercy. Such an imbalance of truth, in this case, is disastrous. Others who have genuinely put their trust in the Lord Jesus still live in fear and condemnation because they have an imbalanced view of a vengeful and judging God.
Sometimes we struggle to live in peace and with joy in our lives because we have things out of balance. Just as my mum’s lift was hard to use when the weights did not balance. If we are struggling it may be a good idea to look at our lives in the light of the issue of balance.
Have you ever got things out of balance, what happened?
Can you think of other issues we can get out of balance other than those listed in this article?
How do we stay balanced?