What God Wrote in Stone Day 10 – Do Not Steal
You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15, ESV)
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)
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 10:2, ESV)
Maybe what comes to mind when you think of breaking this commandment is an armed thief robbing a bank at gunpoint. Or maybe it’s someone who embezzles money from their company, tucking away the cash in overseas accounts. Certainly those are obvious ways to break this commandment, but there are many less obvious ones that may be more familiar to you in the pattern of your own life.
There are many ways we can steal without actually committing a crime that would be punishable by jail or prison time. Think of stolen hours on the clock for work. With many workplaces having gone remote, employees working from home may not have the accountability they once had in their office setting, so it’s much harder for employers to know if someone is cutting out early or taking days off for personal use. Or how about stealing someone’s purity—using someone’s body for your own pleasure, even though you are not married to them? Essentially, you’re stealing from their future spouse what should rightly belong to only them. Then there is the misuse of company credit cards for personal expenditures. A tank of gas or a dinner out may not be readily noticed among the other normal expenses that hit your company’s monthly statement. Sometimes, stealing isn’t as black and white as a heist, yet it’s still wrong in the eyes of God.
In Old Testament times, breaking this commandment meant certain death—death by stoning. This shows that it was (and still is) a big deal. As God’s people, it’s imperative that we maintain a godly and upright character, one marked by honesty and integrity. Because thievery obviously contradicts a godly character, we dishonor God when we take things that don’t belong to us or misuse the resources we have access to. Even if no one else knows or finds out, God knows and will hold us accountable.
How about in the way we worship and serve the LORD? Does He get His rightful place in our life, or do we allow other things to take His place? When we allow things to take His rightful place as first in our lives, we essentially are stealing from Him. God wants us to value Him above all people, places or things. He is to be our #1, and when we don’t give Him priority, He is jealous. May we consider, even in our worship, that we don’t want to steal from Him what we surely owe.
As God’s people, we want to demonstrate a character that reflects God Himself. If we don’t, we misrepresent Him and portray ourselves in a way that reflects poorly on Christ. If we faithfully uphold a spirit of integrity and honor in all that we do, we will find it much easier to honor this commandment. May we be people with a high level of integrity and refuse to take things that aren’t ours to take, but instead be grateful for the blessings we have received from God’s generous hand.