Thou Shalt Not Steal

Bible Book: Exodus  20 : 15
Subject: Stealing; Christian Living
Series: Ten Commandments

Stealing is something a Christian would never do! Unthinkable! I’m going to start on a sobering note: Many of us do steal; we just justify our theft. We convince ourselves we don’t steal; we simply take what we feel we rightly deserve; stuff nobody wanted anyway; things we feel someone owes us; things people give us, only they don’t own them; little things that don’t matter; things they’d probably throw away. Or we transfer responsibility; it was their mistake so I’ll just keep the extra one; I’ll just keep it at this price; I’ll just keep the wrong change or the better model. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s stealing! This command deals with the physical act of stealing while commandment ten deals with the mindset of the theft. Let’s look at it together.

I. A first look at the 8th commandment, vs. 15.

A. It clearly declares its purpose, vs. 15.

…not steal., vs. 15.

Not steal what? Clearly this means to take that which is not yours within an agreement - person, place or possession. Whether we like it or not, an agreement is an agreement. You do not alter an agreement because you think you deserve more or better or different than was agreed upon.

This command was originally set in place by God to stop people from stealing people. Yes, kidnapping! The Hebrew word is ganab means 'to steal away.' When the word was translated into the Greek it became kleptō; a word we are all familiar with. God gave this command to clearly establish two things. Man cannot own another man! God gave Adam ownership of everything, except Eve. Notice with me Genesis 1:26; 2:18 and I Corinthians 11-12. Man and wife are partners, friends, family. A man’s family could feel secure. You can’t take my people without consent. It is kidnapping to take another person against their will.

Not only do we see it clearly declares its purpose, but also:

B. It clearly declares its penalty, vs. 15.

Thou shalt not… vs. 15.

If God says "not," there will be consequences if you do. Notice Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7. I believe for years, and maybe even now, the penalty for kidnapping could include death! This only denotes the seriousness God places on the security of and the importance of family. Just because we have severely diminished family values, just because we have desensitized our mothers to the point that they will kill the defenseless, silent unborn does not mean God is insensitive to the importance of family!

Not only do we see a first look at the 8th commandment, but also:

II. A further look at the 8th commandment, vs. 15.

A. It speaks to our possessions, vs. 15.

…steal… vs. 15.

It’s beautiful when God can use one word to explain so much. Ganab is not restricted to taking persons but is expanded into taking possessions as well. Let me list who and what you can steal.

1st you can steal from God. You can take His glory, His honor and His money.

2nd you can steal from man. You can steal his spouse, employees, neighbors, businesses. You can steal on taxes. We can steal ourselves and our children (you can take someone’s reputation, their name).

Not only do we notice that it speaks of our possessions, but also:

B. It speaks of our penalty, vs. 15.

…shalt not… vs. 15.

God is so good in His “shalt nots” sometimes but here He makes a way out. He says don’t, but if you do there is a way out of this. Notice Exodus 22:1-4; vs. 2 expanded says, "If you get killed breaking into someone’s house you just might wind up dead and that’s okay." However, the rest of the verse talks about restitution. If you stole something from someone, you need to make it up somehow to that person. I’m not saying, nor does God say, to go turn yourself in. Pray and seek a way of restitution. One way is to ask Christ to forgive you, commit to forsake the sin of stealing and do what you can to rectify the matter.