Exodus 20:15 – “Thou shalt not steal”.
Remember Jesus’s commandment? “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. (Mark 12:31).
In giving this commandment God shows that He favors personal ownership. Ownership only in the sense that we realize that it is given to us by God, and we are really only stewards of His property. God shows us the Ownership is Precious. In Exodus 22:1-4 God gives the law for a thief caught stealing an ox or a sheep. For stealing an ox he is to return 5 oxen; for sheep he is to return 4 sheep. That is a pretty steep penalty for theft, and it is not prison. It is restitution.
Restitution. according as God directs, is the requirement of God’s law. In thievery restitution is the penalty which fits the crime.
Adultery is compared to theft in Proverbs 6:27-35. For adultery though the penalty was death
The greatest theft of all is when one steals from God (Malachi 3:8-10). If a man would steal from God, by not tithing, or giving back to God His portion, then, this individual could not be trusted with anything you or I own. If a person can steal from God they will steal from you.
- The New Man in Christ will steal no more (Eph. 4:28).
- Steal = To take something that belongs to someone else; by deceit or by force.
To name some ways of stealing. Gambling is a method of stealing; it offers people who cannot afford it the chance for great gains with little hope and much promise. It takes from the family of the man who uses the money for food to throw the money at the lottery, casinos, dog racing, horse racing, football, hockey, what ever event, and then, come home with no money and no food. Businesses who overcharge for a product because it is in demand due to destructive storms, earthquakes, or some other tragedy is stealing from the people who trust them. When you can go into a store previous to the tragedy and buy a chainsaw for one hundred and fifty dollars, and then that chainsaw when the tragedy occurs is three hundred dollars that is theft. When an individual decides to no longer tithe to their local church; as is God’s plan; and gives it elsewhere, this is stealing from God. And if the person just decides I can no longer afford to tithe or give – that is stealing from God. When a man owes a debt to another and does not pay it, whether out of anger, or just lust for the money itself, it is theft. Our debts are to be paid to our fellow man.
Of the first seven commandments; death is the penalty for the violation. This is a second division, though less visible.
This eighth commandment does not call for the death penalty – it calls, rather for restitution (Ex. 22:1; Luke 19:5-10).
There is one exception, that is if they “Kidnap” – steal a human being (Ex. 21:16). This called for the death penalty.
Let’s take a look at how Gambling Is Stealing. It gives the false hope of something for practically nothing. It robs people of being productive members of society. What does winning the lottery contribute? You could say, “Well, I could give to charity”, so could the person who lost their money have given to a charity with what you took from them. It is destructive to families, and to society. It takes the money of many poor families through the false hope of getting more. The lottery has been nicknamed, THE TAX ON THE POOR. Lotteries, casinos, bingo, work paycheck pools, raffles, and even TV game shows are guilty of false hope. Gambling robs people of self-worth. “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.” (Prov. 22:9). “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” (Prov. 22:29).
When a business Overcharges That Is Stealing, “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” (2 Cor. 8:21). Let me show you what God says about “False balances”, “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” (Prov.11:1). “Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.” (Prov. 20:23). “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:35-37). In our day many businesses raise prices in an exorbitant manner then, complain of paying their employees too much. Underpaying of employees is stealing as well.
The matter of Robbing God “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi3:8). It is a matter of withholding from God what is His. Your tithes and offerings. A tithe being 10% of your income. It is how the gospel is proclaimed by the local churches, and their agencies. It is a matter of knowing to do good and not doing it; “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). It would be a lack of worship or an unholy worship.
When A Debt Is Owed To Another and it is not paid. It has to do with financial debts and obligations. The debt every Christian owes their neighbor. The debt we owe of living the Christian life before them. The debt we owe of sharing the sacrifice and love of Jesus with them. It almost seems that that may have been what Paul meant when he said, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8). Avoiding this debt could be stealing our neighbor’s eternal soul.
In conclusion, if we love one another we will not desire what another has, and take and steal. We will practice what Paul taught the Ephesians, rather, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28). There will be no need for gambling, stealing from those who are more needy – doing it legally. When one loves their neighbor there is also a love for God and for being a faithful steward of God’s resources He has put in our trust. Also there will be the need to see that all debts are paid in full, especially the debt to our neighbors that could be the redemption of their souls.
-by Tim A. Blankenship