Summary: The final message in the series on the Ten Commandments. This covers the 8th and 10th. The ideas are to be content with what we have and thankful to God for everything.
This is the last message in a series on the Ten Commandments that I preached recently. A lot of explanation of the focus of the message can be found in the Introduction that I posted on this site. So, here we go with commandments 8 and 10.
Exodus 20:15 "You shall not steal.
At the heart of stealing is the idea that somehow you are entitled to something that is not yours. There is some part of a person that can justify grabbing something they did not work for, have not been given, and hold no claim to. The core of this thinking says to God - 'you have not provided for me, so I will take what I want'. It also says to our neighbor - 'you matter less than I do'.
God has given us the health we have, the opportunities in life that we have, and the people around us for support and love. When we take what is not ours, we devalue all that He has done.
We are not thankful for others, we abuse them. We are not content with what we have, we take what we did not earn. The Proverbs of Solomon are full of reverences to this. From the one who would lie in wait to rob another to the merchant with rigged scales, to the judge that accepts a bribe to steal justice from another.
From the relationship standpoint this is a sad and important matter. It goes to the base of our relationship with God. Do we trust Him for our needs, then why steal? Do we thank Him for what He has given us? Then why take more? Are we content to be a child of the King? Then why shame the Father in such a way?
Once again we see a part of the law that many if not all of us at some time have transgressed. But I am not writing to burden you with the law. I want to show you the freedom of it. Take a look at something Paul said:
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
The man that lived through all of that also wrote this:
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
What does this have to do with stealing?
It is about the attitude and the heart. Paul knew that sometimes it was tough and sometimes it wasn't. He did not take matters into his own hands because he trusted God above all.
During his time of testing Job said of God - Tho He slay me yet will I trust Him. That kind of faith keeps the focus. That kind of faith is content wherever it is found and will wait for God to deliver before stealing because it seems like the only way.
To break the law in order to deliver yourself is to tell the Father you don't think He will do it. It says He does not have your best interests in mind. That will hurt a relationship.
Exodus 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."
To covet means to greatly desire or lust after something or someone. Lust has a heavily sexual connotation in our society but more strictly is means to want to fulfill some bodily desire. So, to covet is to want what belongs to someone else in a big way. It is not about thinking that the neighbors car is nice and wanting to get one like it. It is about a constant desire to have his car. Or his wife or anything else that is his. This pairs up well with the discussion we had about stealing. Why? Because often this is where the stealing starts.