[CF Devotionals] 2010-10-01 - Defining Stealing

The Ten Commandments ~ Part 46
Eighth Commandment, Part 2

"You shall not steal." Exodus 20:15 (NIV)

Once again, we are looking at one of the commandments that seems to need no real explanation. We are we spending any time with it? After all, none of us has robbed a bank this week, or even ripped off our neighbor's newspaper. We don't steal from people. But, I think we will see that we do take that which isn't ours. Also keep in mind, we want to look at the positive side of the commandments. So we will need to consider what is the opposite of stealing, and how this may apply to us.

The Call Not to Steal: One would expect we all know what it means to steal. But just for the sake of argument, I though we might as well look at the definition:

  1. To take (the property of another) without right or permission.  

The very existence of this command also supports the rights of individuals to hold private property. This right doesn't mean it is necessary to hold property, but it certainly allows for it, if that is what we desire.

So what are some ways people can and do steal? The obvious ones we can think of include: bank robbery, purse snatching, car theft, etc. But consider the following: Cheating on income tax, taking office supplies, getting paid for eight hours of work while only giving seven, etc. And what about lying? We'll discuss this in detail later. Can't this be stealing someone's reputation? Can you think of any other examples?

I think we can find we also can steal from the Lord. Think about these: If we let someone or something take first place in our lives, ahead of the Lord, are we not stealing His rightful place? If we don't use the gifts, abilities, even resources the Lord has given us, aren't we taking that which is His? Think about this: What are some ways we can be guilty of stealing from God?

I think you can see, even from this short discussion, the issue of stealing is very relevant to us. We live in a society where the standard seems to be stealing. What happens in riot situations? The rioters "liberate" material goods from the cruel merchants.

If we define stealing as taking that which one hasn't earned, isn't someone who collects on insurance or even welfare when they aren't entitled to, stealing? Isn't using power and wealth, to avoid the law or duty, etc. really stealing justice from society? There are so many ways people that take that which isn't theirs, that we are in danger of throwing up our hands and saying, "So What!"

To be continued.

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

Additional studies by Geoff
Podcasts of Studies in Matthew can be found at www.GKragen.com