Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 20:15 (NIV)
“You shall not steal.
Exodus 20:15 (MSG)
“You shall not steal [secretly, openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness].” -AMPLIFIED
The eighth command sounds quite simple and self-explanatory, yet so many struggle with it. We should not be taking things that do not belong to us and making excuses for why it was all right. The Amplified Version pointedly covers every excuse we may come up with for a reason of why it was “okay” or “acceptable” for us to take something that did not belong to us. Do not fool yourself! Whatever a man sows that will he also reap!
Stealing is a violation against God. It is taking from others what God has entrusted to them to take care of. It is taking from another, what rightly belongs to them; in order that we may profit from their hard work.
The punishment for theft in the Old Testament was quite stringent. ““If a man steals an ox or sheep and kills or sells it, he shall make restitution of five oxen for an ox or four sheep for a sheep. If a thief is caught breaking in [after dark] and is struck [by the owner] so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him. But if the sun has risen, there will be bloodguilt for him. The thief [if he lives] must make [full] restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold [as a slave to make restitution] for his theft.” -Exodus 22:1-3 (AMP)
In fact, God laid out the guidelines for what needed to be done when someone sinned by stealing in Leviticus. “God spoke to Moses: “When anyone sins by betraying trust with God by deceiving his neighbor regarding something entrusted to him, or by robbing or cheating or threatening him; or if he has found something lost and lies about it and swears falsely regarding any of these sins that people commonly commit—when he sins and is found guilty, he must return what he stole or extorted, restore what was entrusted to him, return the lost thing he found, or anything else about which he swore falsely. He must make full compensation, add twenty percent to it, and hand it over to the owner on the same day he brings his Compensation-Offering. He must present to God as his Compensation-Offering a ram without any defect from the flock, assessed at the value of a Compensation-Offering. Thus the priest will make atonement for him before God and he’s forgiven of any of the things that one does that bring guilt.” -Leviticus 6:1-7 (MSG)
The punishment alone should put us off from even considering stealing or trying to profit off of another by deceiving them.(Notice, these guidelines are not only for the thief, but also for someone who “finds” something and keeps it without trying to find its rightful owner.) Punishment is this: to make full compensation, plus twenty percent, plus a compensation offering of a ram. Sounds like a very expensive “mistake”. Lest we try to fool ourselves, let us realize that the sin of stealing tends to be a well thought out plan on our part; even if it does happen in the spur of a moment.
God’s way is for a man to work for what he needs; there is to be no laziness or idleness. “Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.” -Ephesians 4:28 (MSG)
The Apostle Paul warned the Thessalonians if a man would not work, than he would not eat. “Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.” -2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 (MSG)
God’s desire is that we work and work hard for what we have; not steal it. “Putting one over” on someone is not God’s way. Be honest and true in your dealings with others and make God proud of you.
God, help me to be honest in my dealings with everyone. I do not want to be known as a thief to anyone; for I know that that would be displeasing to you. Help me to be careful of my actions that I am not trying to take advantage of others. I want my light to shine brightly for You and by trying to “put one over” on someone else I am not letting my light shine. Help me be honest and true for you.