2015-08-02 - The Eighth Commandment
Taking God's Honor
Another behavior I struggle with is stealing God’s credit, by accepting praise for things that are really his. Now I’m not saying that it is wrong to be appreciated or to praise someone. But I have to be careful to remember that any “success” I experience, is due to God’s mercy, graciousness and willingness to let me be used by him. We need to pray for sensitivity in our lives, so that we are aware of just where we are failing.
It was this behavior, taking God’s honor, which got Moses into such trouble. “And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”” (Numbers 20:9–12 ESV).
I don’t want to come down so heavily on this one command. But I think it is important to realize that we don’t really think about some of the commandments, because we look at them and see them in a fairly superficial way. We think: “I obviously haven’t violated some of these, except in the context of ‘if you break one, you have broken all.’ That isn’t all that bad.” I don’t want our lives to become joyless because we spend so much time examining ourselves, our sinful condition.
Conversely, I don’t want to fall short of the mark, because I have been lazy and not taken God’s call seriously. I’m sure each of us desires to serve Him as best as we possibly can. This necessitates that we really understand the issues her.
The other point to remember, is if we focus on loving God and others, we will be concerned about how to care for them, how to be responsible. Then, except due to simple lack of awareness, we will not be in danger of stealing from other.
Let’s step back for a few minutes; after all, I don’t want to "beat a dead horse." Let us consider the positive side of the commandment. If we are called not to steal, and we want not only to avoid breaking the commandment but we want to do more, we have to ask: what is the opposite of stealing? It isn’t enough, to not take what isn’t ours. We also need to focus on giving what is ours. Don’t you think it might be appropriate for those of us who have, to help those who don’t? This really isn’t a leap of logic, because Paul makes a direct connection between taking and giving.
“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Ephesians 4:28 ESV).
Again, we are called to be the Lord’s witnesses to those with whom we come in contact. This means our lives aren’t to be typified by what we don’t do, but by what we do do. So, the question becomes: What can we do, to carry out this command from a positive perspective?
To be Continued.
Pastor Geoff Kragen
For more information about the author, podcasts and additional studies visit www.GKRAGEN.com.