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Leviticus 19:11-13

Thou Shalt Not Steal

11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. 12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 13 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.


The three greatest worldly passions of mankind are "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life," (1 John 2:16) which tend to draw us into every kind of sin. The lust of the eyes incites covetousness, which in turn causes a man to lie, cheat and steal to satisfy his passion. The pride of life also causes a man to lie and to deal falsely with others in an effort to increase his standing in the eyes of others.

The reader of this passage needs no lecture on the sin of stealing. Even an atheist will realize that it is wrong to take what belongs to another, but that moral realization is seldom enough to stop anyone from stealing or committing fraud. Only the fear of God and the understanding that He will execute judgement on every sinner can accomplish that.

What even Christians often fail to realize, however, is the fact that their neighbor has a God given right to the truth. In this sense, then, lying is very similar to theft, because it robs a person of the truth. It is not unusual for someone to swear an oath, i.e. make a promise, with the good intention of keeping their word, only to discover later that they cannot. The book of James addresses this problem:

"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." (James 4:13-15)

As I write this, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the United States who have defaulted on their mortgage contracts and are in danger of losing their homes. They have dealt falsely with the mortgage holders, who are also at fault for lending money for usury, i.e. interest (See Psalm 15).

For this same reason Jesus said, "Swear not at all..." (Matthew 5:34) We do not know whether or not we can keep our word so, by swearing on God's name, we profane His name.

God does not look favorably on liars. "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8) Liars will be treated equally with murderers and idolaters.

Lastly, our passage deals with the salaries of employees. A poor person may not be able to wait a week or two weeks to receive his pay. God's law says that he should be paid at the end of each day, unless there is a previous agreement to pay weekly. The worker is not to be defrauded of his wages. "Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth." (James 5:4)

This is an indictment of the socialist system of mandating the withholding of income tax and social security from a worker's paycheck. This money is redistributed to others in the system and constitutes legalized theft. However, I doubt that God considers it to be legal.

These are moral laws that are frequently not given the attention they deserve. Our failure to observe them is causing many people to live under burdens that God did not intend for them to bear. Christians must speak out on these issues or our society will continue to move away from our God. Men must understand the seriousness of their sins before they can appreciate their need for a Savior.

Before The Throne:

Pray about the commitments that you have made. Will you be able to keep them? It is very likely that your church has a mortgage or other debt. Pray that God will help you to owe no man anything but love. Ask Him to help you find ways to contribute toward making the necessary changes in government so that legalized theft will be abolished.

For Further Study:

(v.11) ** shall not: Lev 6:2; Exo 20:15, 17; 22:1, 7, 10-12; Deu 5:19; Jer 6:13; 7:9-11; Zec 5:3-4; 8:16-17; 1Co 6:8-10; Eph 4:28; ** lie one: 1Ki 13:18; Psa 101:7; 116:11; Jer 9:3-5; Act 5:3-4; Rom 3:4; Eph 4:25; Col 3:9; 1Ti 1:10; Rev 21:8;

(v.12) ** ye shall: Lev 6:3; Exo 20:7; Deu 5:11; Psa 15:4; Jer 4:2; 7:9; Zec 5:4; Mal 3:5; Mat 5:33-34; Jam 5:12; ** profane: Lev 18:21; 24:11, 15-16; Eze 36:20-23;

(v.13) ** shalt not: Pro 20:10; 22:22; Jer 22:3; Eze 22:29; Mar 10:19; Luk 3:13; 1Th 4:6; ** the wages: Deu 24:14-15; Job 31:39; Jer 22:13; Mal 3:5; Jam 5:4;

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