Tuesday, November 10, 2009

THE 10 COMMANDMENTS

"Thou shalt not steal"
Exodus 20:15




This commandment seems pretty obvious and easy; do not take that which does not belong to you.  However it gets a little deeper than just shoplifting, or watching someone drop their wallet and not returning it to them.
The purpose of the 10 commandment 'series' is to show that not only are the 10 commandments good, but to show that they are a 'summary' of everything else in the Bible, as far as how to obtain salvation. In Matthew chap. 22 Jesus shortened the summary even further.
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40).

Now, I have been in churches and Bible study groups where some try to say that the 10 commandments are null and void because of this statement by Jesus.  We now have only 2 commandments.  The two are actually more vague than the ten. How does one love God with all their heart, soul and mind? Does that mean jump up and down in church with your hands out-stretched as if you are in a trance? Does it mean you repeat 'God bless' to every person you walk pass on the street? NO! If you love God with all your heart, soul and mind, then you won't have any gods before him; you won't make any 'graven images' or bow down to those already made. You will not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; you will remember to keep the Sabbath day holy (by resting); and you will honor your father and mother since they are God's representative's.

Likewise how do you love your neighbour, the way you love yourself?
If you love your neighbour you won't kill him/her; you won't commit adultery with his wife/her husband; you won't steal from them; you will not bear false witness against them; and you will not covet anything that is theirs.
Therefore Jesus did NOT change ANYTHING!

Some scholars argue that the original meaning of the 8th commandment was a prohibition against stealing people.  Whether kidnapping people and forcing them into slavery, or stealing those that were already slaves to someone else.  Scholars say that these actions would constitute a penalty similar to that of adultery and murder. This conclusion is also drawn from the text which reads:
"If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you" (Deuteronomy 24:7).



 
So, what about stealing someone's idea? Copyrights reflect a more modern thought of the nature of one's property. This is theft just as it would be if you hacked into someone's computer, downloaded their files, and distributed them for profit.  Although to Moses, David and Paul the idea of copyright or patents would have been a foreign concept altogether, because mankind (thru the gift & infinite wisdom of God) has evolved this commandment cover's those concepts as if it were spoken by God only yesterday.


 
But let's go even deeper. In Moses day, thou shalt not steal meant more than just physically taking something that is not yours. Take Leviticus 19 for example:
"Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning"(Lev. 19:13).

This scripture also translates to us in 2009. If you hire someone to do work for you, whether it is to babysit your child, to fix your roof, your car, your sink, your computer, or even type your term paper; if you have not paid what you agreed by the next morning you have robbed (defrauded) that person.



LET IT BE KNOWN: "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth" (Ephesians 4:28).

May the Lord add a blessing to the teaching & receiving of His word; In Jesus Name.


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