The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Deuteronomy 5: 1-21 Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire, while I was standing between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain. He said, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me. ‘You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. ‘Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you. ‘You shall not murder. ‘You shall not commit adultery. ‘You shall not steal. ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’
A very familiar street evangelist is known for asking probing questions to expose the fact that the person they are conversing with is not a good person. Frequently he asks: “Have you ever stolen anything, regardless of its value or significance? Something as small as a pencil perhaps?” Typically the person responds with a yes, a smile on their face, an excuse along the lines of “sure, who didn’t steal candy as a child?”, and a certainty that they no longer steal.
The truth is, all of us have stolen from our neighbor, whether it was candy or a pencil as a child, or time from your employer as an adult. Shoplifting, identity theft, plagiarism, embezzlement, and taxation are but a few of the ways that stealing might manifest itself in this world. Like all other sins, God hates this one. Why?
First, God hates the sin of theft, the taking of someone's property without permission, because God is not a thief. Man, created in God’s image, is meant to reflect the character of God. Stealing is a distortion of God’s image, and is therefore sinful in His eyes.
Secondly, stealing from your neighbor is theft from God Himself. Psalm 24:1 states “The earth is the LORD’s, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it.” Psalm 50:10 “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”
When we steal, we ultimately rob from God, taking that which He has seen fit to give to another. We do so, often failing to be good stewards of that which He has entrusted to us.
Lastly, we know that all sin is against God and Him alone. One of the more subtle, intangible thefts we are guilty of, occurs when we pridefully give credit for that which God has done, to another, robbing Him of glory. Isaiah 42:8 says “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor my praise to graven images.”
We are successful in our careers saying “Look how great I am” and rob God of the fact that He blessed us with our skills and talents.
We defend our faith online against some unhinged atheist and think to ourselves, “Wow, I really gave that guy the business. He had no response for that pithy little argument I came up with.”
We know that in the beginning he created them male and female (Genesis 1:27), and that we were created for His glory (Isaiah 43:7), yet live much of our lives fighting against His created order. Men shirk their responsibilities as men by not leading their homes, not laying down their lives for their wives as Christ laid down His for the Church (Ephesians 5:25), and not disciplining their children. God is a man of war, and we men are created in His image. When we as men would rather sit idle in the world, saying “peace, peace” where there is no peace, pursuing the latest toy or fashion rather than making war in the time when kings go out to war, we rob God of His glory due. Women rob God of His glory in their failure to submit to the headship of their husbands in the home. Many self professed Christian women across this land would rather submit to the demands of an employer, have complete strangers raise their children, and watch as their homes fall apart at the seams, than to submit to their husbands and manage their homes wisely to the praise of God’s glory. Seeking their rights, equality, and freedoms, modern women are enslaved to their passions, and in their pursuit of these things, steal glory from Almighty God.
Children steal. Maybe you don’t steal candy, or pencils, or pokemon cards, however, every time you fail to honor your father, you rob glory and honor from your Heavenly Father, from whom ALL fatherhood gets its name (Ephesians 3:15).
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Brothers and sisters, remember that you have been washed, sanctified, and justified by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, and that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins when we confess them to Him. If you are able, let us kneel at this time and seek forgiveness.
Heavenly Father, Your Word commands Thou shall not steal, yet often, we Your children find ourselves guilty of theft, having robbed You of the glory that is Yours alone. Father, when we steal, theft is not the only sin present: pride, arrogance, covetousness and unbelief are there as well. Father, please be merciful towards us sinners. Please forgive us for our thievery, and help us to be satisfied with the good things You have given us: especially Your Son Jesus. It’s in His name we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
Deuteronomy 30:6-10 “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 6/2/19 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)