This week we will look at the Eighth Commandment. It is a very short commandment, but once again is so full of specific do’s and don’ts that are related. So, let’s get started.
Eighth Commandment – “You shall not steal”. Sounds simple enough, but it carries a wide range of restrictions on how we conduct our lives. Sins that are prohibited in the Eighth Commandment include:
> Theft and robbery. (Eph. 4:28; Ps. 62:10).
> Receiving stolen goods. (Prov. 29:24; Ps. 50:18).
> Kidnapping. (1 Tim. 1:10; Ex. 21:16; Dt. 24:7).
> Arson. (Ex. 22:6).
> Wrongfully appropriating or violating another’s property. (Ex. 22:5).
> Committing fraud. (1 Thess. 4:6).
> Unjust weights and measures. (Prov. 11:1; Prov. 20:10).
> Unfaithfulness or deceit in contracts. (Ps. 37:21; Amos 8:5).
> Oppression…you are stealing a man’s productivity. (Lev. 25:17; Ezek. 22:29).
> Extortion or bribery (Ezek. 22:12; Isa. 33:15).
> Inflation (which results when the money supply is falsely inflated via mixing dross with silver, printing paper fiat money, or credit expansion).
> Wrong or frivolous lawsuits (Prov. 3:30; 1 Cor. 6:7). [We see that every day on TV and in the news.]
> Usury (Ex. 22:25-27; Lev. 25:35-38; Ps. 15:5). [The lending of money at an excessive rate of interest.]
> Any means of unjustly taking what belongs to another or withholding what is due him. (James 5:4; Micah 2:2).
> Failing to help a brother in need. (1 John 3:17).
> Idleness and wasteful living. (2 Thess. 3:2; Prov. 21:17; Prov. 23:20-21).
> Failing to enjoy the great blessings God bestows upon us as we faithfully labor in Him. (Deut. 12:7; Deut. 16:14).
> The love of money. (1 Tim.6:10).
The Eighth Commandment, though not long in words, includes many ‘do-nots’, but it also requires many duties. Here are some of the duties included in “You shall not steal’:
> Be just and truthful in business dealings and faithful to uphold all commercial contracts entered into with others. (Micah 6:8; Zech. 8:16).
> Render to every man his due…in wages, work, financial obligations, etc. (Rom. 13:7).
> Make restitution for any property wrongly taken from others. (Lev. 6:4-5; Like 19:8).
> Freely give and lend to brothers in need. (Dt. 15:7-10; Luke 6:30, 38: Gal. 6:10).
> Be content with the material things owned at any specific time. (1 Tim. 6:8-10).
> Labor to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to obtain the necessities of life…for ourselves and those under our care…and the fulfilling of God’s purpose for us. (1 Tim. 5:8; Prov. 27:23-24).
> Use excess riches to do good. (1 Tim. 6:17-18).
> Pursue a good and lawful vocation in accordance with God’s will for your life. (Eph. 4:28; Rom. 12:5-8).
> Labor diligently. (Prov. 10:4: Rom. 12:11; Prov. 12:27).
> Be frugal, not wasteful. (Prov. 21:20; John 6:12).
> Avoid unnecessary lawsuits. (1 Cor. 6:7).
> Help others to procure, preserve, and increase their wealth and estates. (Lev. 25:35; Phil. 2:4).
The Eighth Commandment affirms the right to private property. God owns everything. (Ps. 24:1-2). The earth is the Lord’s. (Ex. 9:29; Dt. 10:14; 1 Cor 10:26). He has given to man stewardship of the earth. (Ps. 115:16). It is man’s responsibility to care for God’s creation. (Gen. 1:28).
> You shall not covet your neighbor’s property. (Ex. 20:17). Families in Israel were given land as a permanent possession.
> You shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, so indicating ownership by an individual citizen. (Deut. 19:14; Deut. 27:17).
> Restitution is to be made by the thief for property stolen.
> The parable of laborers in the vineyard teaches many things, but one is that the landowner could do what he wished with his own property. (Matt. 20:15).
> Jesus taught that the owner of the sheep will do everything necessary to protect and preserve his property. Such is not the case for the hireling. If there is not private ownership, then there is no incentive to protect and maintain property.
> For the state to claim the right to tax the earth is for the state to make itself the god and creator of the earth; but the earth belongs to God, and He gave it to individual man (and families), not corporate man or civil government. If a man cannot be dispossessed from his land and home by thugs or civil leaders, then he has basic security and liberty in life.
> We should not steal but labor to get what we need and to have extra to give to those in need. (Eph. 4:28).
> Parents are to lay up an inheritance for their children. This is the Biblical means of transferring property and wealth to posterity.
From the beginning God commanded man to be fruitful and to fill, subdue, and rule over the earth. With the fall of man, the devil stole through man’s sin that which originally belonged to him…dominion over the earth. We (operating under the New Covenant of Christ who has restored all things) are to restore all that the devil and sin stole from us, including the original ownership of the earth by man. Property rights are essential for man to take dominion over the earth as God intends.
As I contemplate this week’s commentary, I can only think about how beautiful life here on earth would be if everyone would just exercise this commandment. We would be nowhere close to being in alignment with God’s total will for our lives, but we would be well on the way. If we will only take time to realize that God wants the best for all of us; that best starts with inner peace. The world can go on spinning in its own way as long as we have the peace of God to comfort us. The comfort we have can be catching to those around us. They will marvel at how we can face the challenges of life.
Next week we will start on a commentary on the Ninth Commandment. It will help us learn to live in peace with others.