THE EIGHT COMMANDMENT
"You shall not steal." Exodus 20:15We all know the basics of this Commandment - no shoplifting; no picking someone's pocket (or pocketbook); no walking off with your neighbor's lawn ornament because you like it; no armed robbery etc. We should also NOT cheat on our taxes or fudge numbers on accounts to make sales look better than they are or even walk off from the office with their stapler or post it notes or scotch tape! All of these are no-brainers for any any civilization, as a basic moral way of life. Every responsible member of society has an obligation to this commandment and as Christians, we are held to a different and higher standard than anyone else, in the Eyes of God!
What should concern us is the concept of "Robbing God"! God says in Malachi 3:8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings."
How do you and I rob God? I am not just speaking about forgetting to tithe to Kingdom work. (Most of us consider 10% or more off the Gross total (before tax) right after payday, to be the best scenario for biblical tithing. We should not be legalistic, but allow the individual to make their own choices. Giving is a condition of the heart, the obedient heart. It is not for us to determine if, or how, God blesses those who give obediently without malice or claiming anything in return. If your primary purpose in tithing is to get riches or claim your piece of the financial pie, because some prosperity Gospel preacher said so, there will be some reckoning one day!)
So again, just briefly, how can we "rob God"? Here are some thoughts:
- We rob God with our intentions. We can misuse His resources, which He gifted us with or gave us through our jobs and opportunities, by thinking all of this is solely for us...for our entertainment; or lifestyles.
- We rob God by mismanaging what He gave us, even if we are proper tithers. We have all been guilty of inadequate stewardship of personal finances, at one or several times in our lives. The question is, are we willing to change and follow His Word.
- We rob God if we see church and/or ministry leaders using His tithes and offerings for building up misconceived notions of what the Lord wants - AND SAY NOTHING ABOUT IT! We have seen church after church here in north America and others around the world who believe the "prosperity gospel" lie. We have seen church after church abuse the Lord's money, which should be for missions and sending out evangelists to reach the lost, feed the poor and grow the flock.
We have seen them rob God by paying themselves and their families and staff; taking fancy vacations and often taking out massive mortgages on their church buildings. We have seen more and more banks foreclosing on churches in recent days than ever before as the bitter fruit of all this disobedience and sin, while communities all around these people go straight to hell! If we remain silent as a part of a congregation or a ministry which does this, we are just as accountable as its leaders!
Finally, we rob God and break His statutes, when we do not walk as He would have us walk. God desires obedience, not our puny sacrifices and self-absorbed "works". This is the most significant facet of the Commandment against stealing.
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