We all know that God said in His Word, “Thou shalt not steal.” We learned that stealing is taking anything that does not belong to you. And we also learned that though we may have stolen things before we became a Christian that now we know better and the scriptures are clear in saying, “he that stole let him steal no more.” And now none of us are stealing anything, right!
Taking what doesn’t belong to us is one of the most grievous of sins. It violates the whole of the commandments of God. From the sixth “Thou shalt not murder” – stealing someone’s life; to the seventh “Thou shalt not commit adultery” stealing someone’s spouse; to the eighth which plainly states “Thou shalt not steal;” to the ninth, “Thou shalt not lie” because when you steal you have to lie; and the tenth “Thou shalt not covet” stealing in your heart what belongs to another.
But I thing an even more reprehensible sin is taking from God what belongs to God. By doing so you are breaking almost every commandment He has ever given.
I can barely live with the knowledge of what I have taken from others much less having to live with the knowledge of what I have taken from God.
During HS working at the bowling alley. Stole just a little here and there but over time it added to quite an amount. From there I went into the Navy, came home worked at the mine and then went to Bible College, while at Bible College conviction griped me so intensely that on one vacation I made it a point to go and see my former employer and tell her what I had done. I paid back everything I owed plus 20% interest until it was all paid back. My sin had caused a breakup of a partnership, my sin caused financial hardship on my family when we could least afford it. But my repentance opened up doors so that I might be able to stand before you this day.
But more than my former employer, more than my spouse, more than my family and friends, I fear God more!
So if given a choice I would rather steal from you than steal from God. I am not saying that the former is right but to stand before God and say “God I stole from you” would be the ultimate insult to a God who has given us everything, including the death of His Son upon the cross. (John 3:16)
Israel and us.
1 Corinthians 10:11 (NKJV)
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
So when we look at the Old Testament we have examples that can help us in our walk with God.
Turn to the book of Joshua.
Remember the story God was taking them into the promised land.
They had witnessed the provision of God for the last forty years. Even to the fact that there shoes didn’t wear out.
Deuteronomy 29:5 (NKJV)
And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.
So now they are to enter the land but Jericho stands in their way.
Maybe there’s a Jericho standing in your way?
Turn to Joshua 6.
Joshua 6:17-19 (NKJV)
Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. 18And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord."
Joshua 6:17-19 (NIV)
The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury."
What did God say? It all belonged to Him. And if you took what belonged to Him you were asking for trouble.
The walls fall and they take the city.
Joshua 7:1 (NKJV)
But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.
They again went into battle against Ai and they thought they would have an easy victory but just a few hundred were able to rout three thousand of the army of Israel.
Joshua sought God and God told him what was the problem. Israel had stolen from God!
Joshua 7:11-12 (NKJV)
Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.
Now Achan might have justified his sin by saying, “Ah it’s nothing God’s going to destroy it anyway, so I’m sure He won’t mind if I take a little something for myself.” There are those that say it doesn’t matter about the tithe. But God tests us to see if we will obey Him or not.
Joshua 7:13 (NKJV)
Get up, sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: "There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you."
Joshua 7:14-21 (NKJV)
In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes shall come according to families; and the family which the Lord takes shall come by households; and the household which the Lord takes shall come man by man. 15Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.' "
16So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17He brought the clan of Judah, and he took the family of the Zarhites; and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18Then he brought his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19Now Joshua said to Achan, "My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me." 20And Achan answered Joshua and said, "Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 21"When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it."
You can know you are stealing if you have to justify your reason for taking something that doesn’t belong to you.
When you take what belongs to God your trouble your own life.
In all the scriptures there are many that talk about the curses brought upon u by sin but there is only on that states, “you are cursed with a curse” and it is talking about robbing or stealing from God.
Malachi 3:9 (NKJV)
You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.
Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
We are living in financial troubling times. The God who cares about our eternal future also cares about our daily physical needs. If you read throughout the New Testament one of every six scriptures somehow deals with our finances. (The leading cause of divorce is communication the second is finances.) I think that this must be a very important factor in our walk with God. It must be very important in our discipleship, of becoming “more like Jesus.” So I believe it is very important for us to follow the admonition of Paul to Timothy.
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Today put away your sin, repent, turn back to obeying God. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and trust God and love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
Mark 12:30 (NKJV)
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
almost every _____________________.
to ____________ in our ____________ with __________.
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have to ______________ your _________________ for
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W.A. Criswell tells of an ambitious young man who told his pastor he'd promised God a tithe of his income. They prayed for God to bless his career. At that time he was making $40.00 per week and tithing $4.00. In a few years his income increased and he was tithing $500.00 per week. He called on the pastor to see if he could be released from his tithing promise, it was too costly now. The pastor replied, "I don't see how you can be released from your promise, but we can ask God to reduce your income to $40.00 a week, then you'd have no problem tithing $4.00."
D. James Kennedy tells a story of a man who came to Peter Marshall, former chaplain of the Unites States Senate, with a concern about tithing. He said: "I have a problem. I have been tithing for some time. It wasn't too bad when I was making $20,000 a year. I could afford to give the $2,000. But you see, now I am making $500,000, and there is just no way I can afford to give away $50,000 a year."
Dr. Marshall reflected on this wealthy man's dilemma but gave no advice. He simply said: "Yes, sir. I see that you do have a problem. I think we ought to pray about it. Is that alright?"
The man agreed, so Dr. Marshall bowed his head and prayed with boldness and authority. "Dear Lord, this man has a problem, and I pray that you will help him. Lord, reduce his salary back to the place where he can afford to tithe."
J.D. Rockefeller said, "I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week."
Give according to your income, lest God make your income according to your giving.