Summary: God Clearly says hands off other peoples stuff. Is it merely taking things that God says not to? It is so much more. God’s word clearly shows us that stealing is rejecting God!
Intro: This is another no brainer. Don’t take things that do not belong to you. You would think that all people would respect other’s belongings. How can we in a society that believes that we evolved from some fish like thing that crawled out of the primordial ooze? How can we in a society that is saying its ok to kill a baby that someone tried to abort but was “accidentally” born alive. If there is no God then there is no value in man. If there is no God there are no inalienable rights. I can treat you as I want to treat you and who cares. If however there is a God in heaven. And I believe with all my heart there is. Then we must answer to Him. This passage is so much more than just a command to keep your hands off. What is the big problem with stealing? It rejects God!
The Hebrew word used here is wonderful. Listen to the many types of stealing it covers: burglary (breaking into a home or building to commit theft); robbery (taking property directly from another using violence or intimidation); larceny (taking something without permission and not returning it); hijacking; pickpocketing and purse snatching. There are many different ways to steal. The Bible even tells us that it is possible to rob God!!
I. Stealing is a rejection of God’s ownership
Psalm 24.1 “The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world, and all those who dwell in it.
Haggai 2.8 “The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine, declares the Lord of hosts.
However that doesn’t mean that the copper and aluminum are yours!!
The principle put forth by the Bible is that God owns it all! In the book of revelation you see a scroll with seven seals. I believe that is the scroll of history secure in the nail scarred hands of Jesus. He owns history it is His story. I also believe that it is the title deed to the world the fullness there of and all the people who dwell therein. What exactly do we bring into this world? We bring nothing. The last time I saw a hearse travel down the road it was not followed by a U-haul trailer. God owns it all the people, the planet, all of it. In this statement of ownership we find our right to property and belongings. However they are entrusted to us for the enlarging of God’s kingdom. Sometimes Acts 2.37-47 is used to say the bible teaches communism. It is not if you go on and read about Annanias and Saphiras sin against the Holy Spirit it was theirs by right. There was no call to communal living, rather the Holy Spirit of God revealed to the Christians that it was God’s and it was designed to take care of His Kingdom
and His people.
Whatever we take that does not belong to us is a rejection of God’s ownership.
However if we take things that don’t belong to us it is also a rejection of God’s Authority.
II. Stealing is a rejection of God’s authority
Maybe you say whew, I’ve never broken this commandment. Well I want you to think on the wisdom and insight of Dr James Merritt.
“If you have broken any of the prior seven commandments, you’ve automatically broken the eighth commandment. Here’s why”
If you have broken the first commandment, you have stolen from God the honor due Him alone.
If you have broken the second commandment, you have stolen from God the worship that is due Him alone.
If you have broken the third commandment, you have stolen from God the dignity that is due Him alone.
If you have broken the forth commandment, you have stolen from God the day that belongs to Him alone.
If you have broken the fifth commandment, you have stolen from your parents the respect God demands for them.
If you have broken the sixth commandment, you have stolen either another person’s life or another person’s reputation.
If you have broken the seventh commandment, you have stolen another person’s mate or another person’s sexual purity.
It is a clear and complete rejection of the Authority of God. Do you remember how the Ten Commandments begin? The Shemah, a Hebrew prayer, Exodus 20.2 “I am the Lord Your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the hand of slavery.”
Here God is saying because of who I am I have the authority to call you to be a peculiar people. People outside the kingdom of God do not have requirements on their life. Here God calls for moral agreement not mental acknowledgment. Let me explain that to you. God says thou shall not steal. You say I agree with that that’s right Amen! Then you go to work and take 30 min breaks instead of 15. The Bible says love your neighbor as yourself and you say that sounds right amen. Then have a feud with your neighbor over a tree. Mental acknowledgment means we say Amen that’s right. Moral Agreement means when we stand in line at Wal-Mart we see things from God’s perspective. What do we normally do? I can’t believe there are so many people in line and they don’t have more cashiers! Hey that person isn’t doing anything why don’t they call them. Now think about this you are pushing a cart that you didn’t make, which holds food you didn’t plant or harvest, paying for it with money God has provided. Mental acknowledgment I should be thankful. Moral agreement you sing great is the Lord with a 30 min wait.