Summary: The Message is part of a sermon series through the book of Exodus. The context of the message comes from Exodus 22 and looks at how God wanted the nation of Israel to handle Crime.
Gods Response to Crime
Today in our country we have an increased prison population and the majority of people who spend time in prison after being released will break the law again and end up back in prison. Statistics tell us that that majority is 75%
Crime rates in the United States have been steadily falling this decade, but the declines have not slowed the growth of the nation’s prison population. Due in part to a wave of get-tough laws, many of them requiring longer sentences, almost 1.8 million Americans are incarcerated, giving the land of the free the second-highest confinement rate in the world behind only Russia.
Some people have the mentality to simply lock up criminals and throw away the key. But is that Gods response, Should that be our response?
Hbr 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.
Hbr 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hbr 13:3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
This passage of scripture that we read tonight from Exodus 22 is more detail concerning the commandment “Thou shalt not steal” It gives the nation of Israel the right response to those who break the commandment and the price that they should be required to pay for their crime
This biblical response to the crime of theft is more unique than the way our society treats thieves because it placed the responsibility and accountability back on the person who committed the crime rather than making the rest of society pay for their room and board while they sat in prison
If a man was caught stealing an ox or a sheep he was to repay five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep. There was no going to jail, see how God put the responsibility to repay on the person who stole
oxen were more valuable than sheep because they were used to do work, just like a tractor would be considered more valuable than say a motorcycle as far as its usefulness
Remember what David said to Nathan when he told him the story about a man stealing another mans sheep
Sa 12:6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
Available Commentaries for 2 Samuel 12:6
2Sa 12:7 ¶ And Nathan said to David, Thou [art] the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Sa
and what Zacchaeus said to Jesus in the gospel of Luke
Luk 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore [him] fourfold.
Luk 19:9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
a person was also given by God the right to protect their property in verse 2. we talked about this when we went through the ten commandments. If a person killed a theieve breaking into their home there was to be no bloodguilt.
Since the commandment “Thou shalt not steal” and this passage of scripture here tonight goes into depth about stealing I want to talk to you about personal property and why God puts such an emphasis on it here
Keep in mind that this was written to the nation of Israel, before they went into the promise land. The only thing these people had known was slavery in Egypt. When we are accustomed to having nothing it makes it more difficult to manage what God allows us to have
Source of possessions
When we discussed the value that God placed on life it was because life was created in the image of God. When we talk about the value of possessions the value comes from the source who is God.
It is God who is the source of everything that we have
Psa 50:10 For every beast of the forest [is] mine, [and] the cattle upon a thousand hills.
God told David through the prophet Nathan
2Sa 12:8 "'And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.
Sometimes when we start getting possessions we quickly loose sight of the source. We start taking the credit for everything that we have instead of giving it to God
That was what God did not want Israel to do when they came into the promise land and they started to occupy their own houses and plant their own vineyards. He put into place some very specific guidelines for them to follow so they wouldn't forget God as the source of everything that they owned