After 400 years of slavery in Egypt God delivered the Israelites and gave them the Ten Commandments as guidelines to govern their relationship with Him and with one another. As they were beginning to possess the land God had promised them, Joshua gave strict instructions regarding the spoils of war. They were told and agreed in unison that all the treasures of Jericho would be given to the temple of God. One man Achan took some of the treasures for himself. The next battle at Ai resulted in a humiliating defeat. Confused as to why God allowed this to happen, the Israelites soon discovered Achan’s theft. His disobedience cost the entire nation, and the punishment of his crime cost him and his family their lives. When God said, “You shall not steal” he was serious.
Ex 20:15; Ps 24:1; Josh 7:20-21; Pr 20:23; Mal 3:8; Matt 6:21; Eph 4:28; Lk 16:10-11
“You shall not steal.” (Ex 20:15)
God’s Command “don’t steal” means more than simply “don’t take something that belongs to someone else.” Stealing occurs in many forms. Employees arrive late, leave early and spend work time texting, surfing the internet and talking to friends. If you are paid to be working and you are not working, you are stealing from your employer. Some people pad their expense accounts by adding business mileage or meals that aren’t eligible for reimbursement. Others get paid “under the table” for work that is not taxed. What about withholding payment for bills, debts, or child support? If it’s owed, it’s not yours. Then there’s always the person who borrows things or money and never returns or pays back. He seems to conveniently forget his responsibility. In addition, the Bible says that we rob God when we fail to give him the first of our income. God owns everything, yet we deceive ourselves into believing that we are the owners. Convincing someone they need coverage, repairs or treatment that they don’t really need is theft. If we deceive for personal gain, we steal. We excuse our thieving by convincing ourselves that’s it no big deal: my employer owes me; they have plenty of money; I’m just supplementing my income because they don’t pay me enough; my ex doesn’t need my money; he/she has more income than I do. I will pencil God in at the bottom of my budget if there’s anything left. We may consider ourselves sly and deceive ourselves and others but God is never deceived. We hurt ourselves, others and the heart of God when we steal. We also rob ourselves of many blessings when we disobey his commands.
Have you ever had anything stolen from you? How did it make you feel? Have you ever stolen anything? How did it make you feel? What was the outcome? Have you ever witnessed someone else stealing at work or in a store? What did you do? How do you feel about the theft of time and withholding of what rightfully belongs to someone else, including God? Does it bother you if you owe someone a dollar? How important is honesty in your relationships? Have you ever been taken advantage of financially by a friend or family member?
Do a walk through your heart. Ask God to reveal your motives, reasons and rationales for doing things that he has brought to your attention through this message. Decide what you need to do to make amends for any wrong you have done and decide to move forward honoring the 8th Command.
Thank you Lord, for all you have given me. Help me to be content with my blessings. Keep me from taking anything that isn’t rightfully mine. Help me to honor you in all that I do. In Jesus Name, Amen.