“You shall not steal.” Exodus 20:15
Q: What is the eighth commandment?
A: You shall not steal.
What does this mean?
Because we worship and love God, we shouldn’t take other people’s money or property and cheat them, but instead, we should help them improve and protect what belongs to them.
Do you remember the first commandment of the 10 Commandments? It was that we should not have any other gods than the God of the Bible. He alone is the true God over all the universe, and He will have no rivals.
Why do you think God chose to tell us this commandment first? It might be because He knows that we are prone to wander away from Him and worship things other than Him. He knows that our hearts are like little factories that make idols — idols that we want to bow down to. Can you think of what some of those idols might be in your life that you are tempted to worship?
Because we are all tempted to worship false gods, sometimes humans feel like they have to have these false gods. If you worship money, and you don’t have any money, you might be tempted to steal to get money. If money is our god, then we might feel completely worthless if we don’t have it. Who wants to feel worthless? So we do what it takes to get it. If it means stealing, we’ll steal.
In this way, for some, stealing is really a worship problem. We worship the wrong things, and so if we can’t have them, we hurt other people in order to get it.
But the great news is that God is always ready to give Himself to us. He says that He loves to give His Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:11–13). He is always near those who humbly trust Him. In this way, the thing that we most need can never be taken away from us. This perspective helps us battle any desire to steal.
Read Romans 13:9–10:
For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
How do we fulfill the law?
Are there ways you have been unloving lately in how you relate to people?
Why is stealing unloving?
Our Father, thank You that You are so loving to command us to worship You and You alone. You know that our hearts are prone to wander from You and to worship other things that are not God. Our hearts are restless until they rest in You. Draw us near to You as we draw near to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.