The Eighth Commandment
“You shall not steal.” Steal what? Anything from others: Property, life, spouse, reputation, ideas, justice, dignity, – the taking and keeping of anything that does not belong to us.
Steal from God: tithes and offerings, glory, praise, worship, time, talents, priorities, passions. Remember: “The earth is Mine.” (God speaking, Exodus 19: 5)
First sin: Eve – she took of its fruit, and ate. (Genesis 3: 6) The earth and everything in it and on it was God’s. He told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She took what was not hers- she stole what God told her not to take.
Stealing is involved in: murder, adultery, lying, and coveting. Jesus called the devil- a thief. Sin robs us of the opportunity to live rightly before God. Sin tempts us to turn away from God and turn to selfish actions. We have to learn how to walk by faith and not by sight.
Trust is a learned response.
Trust is the principle behind this 8th commandment. When we steal, we are saying to God I do not trust you to provide for me. Unbelief is the one sin which can send a person to hell. Unbelief which lurks in your mind is the failure to trust the exceedingly great and precious promises God has given us. This includes what God wants to do for us in the present and the future. Unbelief is the universal human condition. We were all born the first time as unbelievers.
Listen to just a few of these precious promises:
1. My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ( Phil. 4:19)
2. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Psalm23
3. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84: 11
4. It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12: 32
5. I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41: 10
6. We know all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8: 28 Do you believe these promises?
We are promised God uses everything for our good. Our faith in these promises is the power that severs sin. Sin has power because of the promises it makes to us. When we sin as Christians we sin because we believe the deceitful promises that sin makes. Battling unbelief means we fight fire with fire. We throw against the promises of sin- the promises of God. We do this by wielding the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. We sever, cut off the power of sin when we sever the false promise of fulfillment which sin offers with the superior promise of the abundant life from God who is faithful to keep His promises.
Jesus was crucified between two thieves. The difference was: one got redeemed, the other did not. Redemption, restoration, restitution were provided at the moment we got saved. We were justified. When you and I got saved, we were redeemed. Every sin I had ever committed or would commit in the future were forgiven. So God’s Grace covered by past, my present and my future. His Grace is always sufficient. He will always provide what I need, when I need it. If I have trusted Him to save my soul. I can trust Him to provide what I need. If He does not provide it, I must not have needed it.
In Ephesians 4: 26 and following verses, Paul gives us some practical advice and warns us of the dangers which sin holds.
“Be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Remember the old saying: an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
First thing to do if you find yourself convicted that you have stolen what is not yours is STOP STEALING.
Notice you always replace what you are stopping by starting something else. Stop stealing and start working, laboring. Work is good and good for you. God will always provide you with exactly what you need. This is what God wanted to teach the children of Israel when He freed them from Egypt. He wanted them to learn to trust Him to provide exactly what they needed.
Let’s go back to Exodus 16 and see this important principle which God wants us to learn:
“And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: “Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer( 7.5 pints) for each person according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent. Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. “God was teaching them to trust Him. God can be trusted to provide what we need.
This is the question which seems to plague us not just in the 21st century, but in the history of mankind since the fall in the garden. The question is: Can I trust God to provide all my needs? If you depend on your own resources and ability, you will always be anxious. And you will never be content. We spend all our time focusing on what we can do to keep up with the Jones’ and also keep our families provided with all they need. But when you trust your Heavenly Father to provide for you, you will sleep like as a child who sleeps a sleep of trust in their earthly father to provide all their needs. And Jesus said if you earthly fathers being sinful know how to give good gifts, how much more will your Heavenly Father give you? God says to us: if you do what I tell you to do, the way I tell you to do it. If you follow my blueprint for happiness, I promise you, you will be blessed.
Think about God’s nature:
1. God is all knowing. He knows what you have need of before you ask.
2. God is all powerful. Nothing is impossible for Him. Pray this simple prayer with all your heart: “I believe Lord. Help my unbelief!”
3. God is everywhere, omnipresent. He is always at work. And He is working all things together for good in your life. This promise is for those who love Him.
4. God always wants provide you with what is best for you. He delights to give good gifts.
To what lengths will He go to provide your needs? “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8: 32) No wonder we can say – If God is for us, who can be against us?
Some of you believe you have a cloud over your life. And you think this is a dark cloud of bad luck. But have you forgotten, God led the nation of Israel by a cloud during the day?
Work is labor. It is tiring, but it makes you feel good. God blesses hard work. This is why God gave us the day of rest in the 4th commandment. When you work hard, you not only earn money, you earn the right to rest. Work should provide one with joy. Work was a part of God’s plan for man even before the fall. “Then the Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend (work) and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) King Solomon said, “For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor.”
King Solomon is a great example of what we would call today, “the good life.” He had it all- wisdom, unbelievable wealth, power and possessions. He lived in palaces, owned vineyards, possessed flocks and herds, silver and gold. King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, he did not refuse himself any desire. Yet he said, “I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” In other words it did not satisfy. All of his accomplishments, all of his great works, the Temple, the riches, his reputation and he ends up hating life.
God assumes all responsibility for our needs when we obey Him. When we follow His blueprint. Trust and obey for there is not other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.
Our youngest granddaughter, Sloane, has learned how to use Facetime and calls her Gin-Gin almost every day. She enjoys being with her and sharing Facetime with her grandmother and of course so does Gina. Let me tell you this: God enjoys being with you. He loves Facetime with you. When you open your Bible and read, meditate and pray, speak to your Heavenly Father, you are spending FaceTime with Him. When you look in the word, you look in His face/
GETTING TO GIVE
Interesting end to the verse in Ephesians 4: 28. We stop stealing and start working for work, labor is good. But do not miss the reason we work: we work and earn money that we may have something to give to others who are in need.
God is saying if you trust me, I will provide for you and yours. And you may have something to give to someone in need. It is after all, more blessed to give than to receive. Most of us by our very actions – believe the opposite. It is more blessed to get rather than give.
When we do not trust God to provide our needs, we by default trust ourselves. We lean to our own understanding. The section we have been focused on in Ephesians 4 tells us “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by who you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Here is why this is so important: when we grieve the Holy Spirit, we cut ourselves off from His provisions. But even more important when we grieve the Holy Spirit we give place to the devil. Now we have broken the first commandment and all the others are shattered also.
Paul wrote Timothy and said, ‘godliness with contentment is great gain.’ Contentment comes from trusting your Heavenly Father and obeying His commands. The opposite of contentment is anxiety. Now we have been referencing to the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus tells us He came to keep the law. And Jesus taught us in this most famous Sermon tells us how to deal with anxiety for it comes from unbelief. Not trusting God with all your heart. Anxiety about finances can lead to coveting, greed, hoarding, and stealing. Anxiety about succeeding can lead one to be afraid to try to succeed. Same goes for anxiety about relationship and the fear of rejection can lead to isolating one’s self.
Jesus said anxiety is linked to little faith. The root of anxiety is inadequate faith in our Father’s future grace. This is why Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, for sufficient was His grace for the day. Now before you listen to that voice in your head which say, it is impossible not to worry and be anxious. Let me assure you the Lord Jesus understands. This is why Jesus tells us how to fight the battle against anxiety which is a battle against unbelief in the future grace of God. God was showing Israel, I can supply you with the bread you need for the day, each morning. It is new and fresh. But you cannot get what you need for tomorrow – today.
Jesus tells us not to be anxious about life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink or about your body, what you shall wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? God created life in all its complexities. If He can do that, what makes you think He cannot provide you with food and clothing. He also adds, if God takes care of the birds of the air, surely He will take care of His own children.
He tells us anxiety does no good, only causes more trouble. Quit digging the hole deeper. Cast your cares on Him who cares for you. And remember, no one ever cared for you like Jesus.
Do not think God is ignorant of your needs. He knows what you have need of, before you ask Him.
Then Jesus takes us back to the 10 commandments, by telling us to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all the things we need will be added. In fact this is how Jesus taught us to pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Seek Him first. Give yourself to His kingdom work, His cause in this world and quit fretting about your needs and He will make sure you have all you need to do His will and give Him glory.
Do not be anxious about tomorrow. Every day He has promised to not place more on you than you can bear.
“This I call to mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed. Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness.
You can trust Him with all your heart.
Stop stealing. Start working. Seek first His kingdom work.
God’s people have only one way to face life- confidently.
It was: “At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day!
Have you cast your cares on Him? If you have the burden on your heart will roll away. And you will begin to walk by faith.
The Ten Commandments: God’s Blueprint for a Happy Life.