Robert Morris — The Principle of Trust
Just to remind you, we're looking for the principle of relationship behind each commandment and we're on now the eighth commandment, so next week the ninth, the next week the tenth but the eighth commandment is Exodus 20:15, four words, there's only one other four word commandment but it is 'you shall not steal.' Now I've had a lot of great comments from people saying you know we've been kind of wondering where you're going to go on these messages you know.
How you're going to preach on murder to a bunch of church going folks you know so it's been wonderful to me to watch as the Lord has unfolded these principles before us, so let me just let you know here is the principle I believe that God is trying to instill in us through the eighth commandment 'you shall not steal.' I think the principle is the principle of trust. It's the principle of trust because when you think about it, it's really only one reason that anyone would steal. That's because you don't trust God to provide for you, it's got to be the only reason.
So what was God trying to teach the nation of Israel that had been in slavery for 430 years? What was he trying to teach them, what was he saying to them through this commandment? He's trying to say you don't need to steal because I'll always provide for you. I want you to learn to trust me. Now Ephesians 4, there's a passage that we're going to springboard off of today all three points will come out of one verse, but I was interested looking at these last few commandments that we're in right now how these commandments several of them are in this passage in Ephesians 4, so let me show you this.
Ephesians 4:25: "Therefore putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor for we are members of one another". Just so you know, that's next week, in other words next week is 'you shall not bear false witness or you shall not lie' so here's the New Testament saying put away lying and then verse 26, be angry and do not sin, ok, that was the one we talked about not murdering because one of the steps to murder is hate, one of the steps to hate is unresolved anger an area he says be angry do not sin do not let the sun go down on your wrath, in other words don't let it be unresolved, don't have unresolved anger because it could turn into hate and bitterness.
Verse 27, nor give place to the devil. Last weekend we talked about adultery and how adultery whether it's body, soul or spirit gives a place to the enemy in your life. And verse 28 is this week, let him who stole, now he's talking to believers, let him who stole, steal no longer but rather let him labor working with his hands what is good that he may have something to give him who has needs. All three points are going to come out of this verse so it says let him who stole, steal no longer, so here is point number one. Stop stealing! It's kind of simple, stop stealing. So if you're going to develop this principle of trust in your life you're going to have to stop stealing in little ways and I think sometimes we actually do steal and we excuse it because it's just the little thing.
Well let's go back now to right before he gives the law in Exodus 16 and in the wilderness and he provided manna for them, but something you might not have ever seen before is that he provided the exact amount of manna for every person every day. Look Exodus 16:16: "This is the thing which the Lord has commanded, let every man gather according to each one's need". One omer, now that's about two liters we don't know what an omer is but it's about two liters. "One omer for each person according to the number of persons let every man take for those who are in his tent. Then the children of Israel did so and gathered some more and some less", because it depended on how many people lived in that tent. "So when they had measured it out by omers he who gathered much had nothing left over and he who had gathered little had no lack". In other words everyone had the perfect, exactly perfect amount. Every man had gathered according to each one's need.
So let's think about this for a moment. Since God provided exactly enough for every person, if you took more than what you were supposed to take then you are stealing from another person. But here is what he said when they went out looking on the seventh day and he had told them not to because this is important. Exodus 16:28: "And the Lord said to Moses, how long do you refuse to keep", now underline the word 'keep' there, "keep my commandments and my laws"? Now let me tell you what this word 'keep' means. It means a guard or a trust worthy keeper of something. A trustworthy, here is what he's really saying, how long do you refuse to trust me? How long do you refuse to keep my commandments? How long do you refuse to trust that I'll provide for you? That was Israel's problem, they didn't trust that he would provide enough on that sixth day for two days and he said how long are you going to do this? How long?
So that's what stealing is, stealing is a bold statement to God that you don't trust him. Stealing is a bold statement you don't trust that God can provide for you, so as I said, how are we going to make this real for a church full of Christians? You got to remember that in Ephesians Paul was writing to the church at Ephesus which they were part of a very corrupt society and he said he's writing to believers let him who stole steal no more and don't lie and don't be angry and not resolve your anger, ok, so we're part of a corrupt society today so there's still stealing that goes on and I really think that Christians still steal. Can I say that? S-t-i-l-l, s-t-e-a-l, still steal.
So I'm going to say some things and you might want to nudge someone, you might not, you might want to look straight ahead like you never had that thought before but have you ever bought anything on an expense account that really was personal? You all are looking straight ahead, I never thought of that, no, no. Have you ever charged something to the company that really wasn't the company's? Ok, then I'll say it this way. Have you ever charged a meal to the company that really was personal? And I've heard it for instance at lunch we'll say, how's your business? Great, how's yours? Great, ok we talked about business I can write this one off. You laughed and then you moaned.
Have you ever taken a longer lunch than you were allowed? That would be stealing. Have you ever paid for something in cash or asked to be paid in cash so you can hide it from the government? Have you ever received too much change back and considered it a blessing from God? Oh, thank you Lord! To not pay one's debts is stealing. If you borrowed the money you need to pay it back. Not working the agreed number of hours for pay is stealing. Let me say it another way. The Lord owns everything, right? The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof and all the people that dwell therein Psalm 24:1, so when you steal from someone else aren't you really stealing from the Lord since he is the one that owns everything? And you know who the master thief is, don't you? Very famous scripture John 10:10: "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy". Who is he talking about? Satan, he's the thief.
Here's number two, start working. Look back at Ephesians 4:28: "Let him who stole, steal no longer", that was point one, "but rather let him labor working with his hands what is good". And then it says that he may have gifts so that will be point three, alright but let him labor ok, you might say I said start working you might say I have a job, uh huh, start working. I know a lot of people who have jobs that don't work. I know people who work hard and people who hardly work. God blesses hard work, he blesses hard work, this word 'labor' means to grow weary, tired and to be exhausted, to be exhausted. This word 'work' means to earn something by working, to earn it because God blesses hard work.
This is the eighth commandment is the balance to the fourth commandment that's why you need it. You need a day off because you worked. God's plan is that you would work and receive joy from your work, did you know that? Did you know that God told Adam and Eve to work before the fall? Before they sinned they were to work. Genesis 2:15: "The Lord God put the man, took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it", to work it but work is supposed to be a joy, if Ecclesiastes 2:10: watch this "for my heart rejoiced in all my labor and this was my reward from all my labor". What was his reward? That he worked!
I grew up working for my father's company. My father owned a company and I'd work for him during the summers. One part of his company -- he had an engineering company, one part was a surveying company so I did the land surveying part. I remember one of my friends told me, he said man you got to come work for this other engineering company in town. There were two big ones in our town, my father's and this other one and he said man we don't work, that's what he told me, we don't work at all.
I was a teenager, I thought that sounds good because we worked. So I actually went to work for this company and we get there 7:00 a.m. in the morning and sat around and eat donuts and drink coffee for about an hour. Then we'd start heading out to the job then we'd set the equipment up around 9:00 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. then about 11:30 a.m. we'd break down to go to lunch. We'd come back from lunch and we'd sat in the car and take a nap. At about 2:00 p.m. we'd set the equipment up again, about 4 p.m. we'd break the equipment down so we could be back to the office by 5 p.m. and we drove slow. About a month into it I quit the job. I said dad I want to come back work for you. He said why? I said it's no fun. I was a lost teenager, I didn't get saved until after Debbie and I got married, but I'd grown up where you worked, I knew how to work.
So if you want to trust God for provisions, stop stealing, start working, here's number three, get giving. Get to giving, get giving. Ephesians 4:28 again "let him who stole steal no longer but rather let him labor working with his hands what is good that he may" I put these words "he may", and I'll tell you why in a moment, "that he may have something to give him who has a need". So why did I underline the word 'may'? Let me tell you why, because we get to give we don't have to give. You didn't know this, God said I'll make you give, we get to give, let me say it another way by the way and this is the whole premise of the blessed life, most of you know. We get to give, we don't give to get.
Isn't it amazing that pastors get up and preach give and you'll get, give and you'll get instead of hey, we get to give, so we don't have to give, we get to give. We get to participate if we don't steal and if we're hard workers we get to give to those who truly do have a need, who really do have a need. We can make a difference, we get to give. Now in my opinion probably the biggest theft that's going on in the church is taking what belongs to God, and that also has to be the biggest statement of unbelief you could make to God of not trusting him. I don't trust you that if I do what your word says in the area of giving that you'll bless me and you'll take care of me.
Joshua 6, when they go into the promise land remember God said bring all the silver and the gold into the house of the Lord, the treasury of the Lord, Joshua 6:19: "All the silver and gold and vessels of bronze and iron are consecrated", that's just the Bible word that means set apart. This is what the tithe is, set apart to the Lord, they shall come into the treasury of the Lord. Then if you remember Achan took some and hid it in his tent. Joshua 7:11: "Israel has sinned for they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them for they have even taken some of the cursed things". They're consecrated if you bring them in the house of God but they're cursed if you keep it in your tent, and watch this, "and have both stolen and deceived", stolen and deceived "and have also put it among the stuff".
I just want you all to understand the same way with adultery in order to commit adultery you have to be deceptive, you have to be deceitful the same way, stealing you have to be deceptive right. You have to learn deceit, matter of fact, you know how I love words, I love to study words and the root words and I immediately many times when I see a word I break it down and see what the root word is and it helps me understand. I'm going to show you a word so since I've told you that now, you might get ahead of me on this, but look at this word, look at the word 'stealthy'. Now look at the root of the word, steal.
Now I'm not talking about our military, obviously our military needs to be stealthy, they need to fly under the radar not be detected but that's exactly what a thief wants to do, a thief wants to fly under the radar, he wants to not be detected, he wants to not be caught. As a matter of fact when the Bible talks about a thief many times it says when a thief is caught but a thief tries to be stealthy so he learns how to be deceptive, let me say it another way, he learns how to work in darkness which is where the enemy works.
And here is what's amazing when you think about Achan. They were going in the promise land and the promise land was a bountiful land. It was a land of God's provision, a land flowing with milk and honey and they're going into the promised land but Achan doesn't trust that God will provide for him and his own family, he has to provide for himself and so he steals some. Here's the amazing thing, he never enters into God's provision. He doesn't even get to enter into the promise land, because he stole from God and let me remind you this represents the tithe. This was supposed to come into the house of God.
Please, please, please hear me, please hear me, I don't care how much money you make, you'll never enter into God's provision for your life if you steal from him. It's all through scripture, do you understand, all through scripture God is trying to put the principle of trust in his kids. Adam and Eve he starts with Adam and Eve and here's what he says to them. You can have every tree except that one. Here's what he's really saying, trust me, trust me. Cain and Abel bring the first into the house, Abel brings first born, Cain doesn't bring first fruits, why? Because he's got to see how much it is before he gives an offering to the Lord, because it takes trust to give the first part. God said bring the first born, you have to trust God to wait until your sheep has ten lambs and give God one, it takes trust to give him the first one.
Jericho which is what we just read out of Joshua, he said give me all the silver and gold from Jericho. Why? Because it was the first city in the promise land, God is saying if you'll trust me, I'll provide, and so many times we just won't trust. Please hear me by the way, if you have to provide for yourself, if you feel that because you won't trust God's, you won't do it God's way, you're going to have to do it for the rest of your life. You're always going to have to provide for yourself. It's so much better living in the provision that God has for you and some people have no clue how much God could provide because they just won't trust but it's all through scripture.
Think about all through scripture, trust me, even though there's a lion's den. Trust me even though there's a fiery furnace, trust me even though the Egyptian army is behind you and the red sea is in front of you, stretch out your hand, get out of the boat, rise and walk, it's all through scripture. God's saying trust, trust me, trust me. Now most eastern cultures invoke the death penalty for stealing. Israel was the only nation that did not invoke the death penalty for stealing because God came up with something. Almost the whole chapter of Exodus 22 the majority of Exodus 22 is about how a thief makes restitution. God came up with restitution — and I'm really interested this week, God why restitution and why when our sins are paid for by Christ on the cross, why restitution, why does a thief need to make restitution? And I found it in the word. The Hebrew word for restitution is made up of two Hebrew words. One means to restore to its original condition, to restore to its original condition. Here is the other one. The second word means to remove guilt and shame, to remove guilt and shame.
So you know what God does with for someone who steals? See, if you hurt someone and you can't pay them back they could forgive you but you know you can't pay them back, but if you steal something God says I'm going to give you the opportunity to restore what you've stolen so that you don't have to live the rest of your life in guilt and shame, I'm going to give you this opportunity.
As I told you, my dad owned a company growing up and for some reason my dad loved to collect silver dollars, back then you could collect silver dollars, every time he'd go to the bank for something he'd see if they had any silver dollars and he'd buy them and he'd put them in his piggy bank and I remember he showed them to me one time and when I was a teenager I started taking silver dollars out of the piggy bank. Just two or three you know and then four or five or whatever and again I didn't get saved until after Debbie and I got married, but after I got saved I remembered this and I thought I need to make restitution.
And I estimated that the most I'd probably taken was 100 so scripture talks about five-fold the thief restores five-fold and that's in Exodus 22 its four-fold and five-fold and so I said I wrote my dad a check for $500 one day and I confessed to him and I said I used to take silver dollars out of your piggy bank and he said you don't need to write me this check, I said I know dad but I need to make restitution, but here's what he said, he said, you don't need to write me this check, he said I forgave you a long time ago.
I said you mean you knew that I was stealing these silver dollars? He said oh yeah, I said how did you know, because I thought I was stealthy. I said how did you know? He said well son I was putting silver dollars in every week and my piggy bank was getting lighter, it didn't take a genius. I said so why didn't you confront me? My dad is a very godly man. He said I was wanting you to repent. He's just like our Heavenly Father, our Heavenly Father he's already forgiven me through Christ, he's already forgiven you but he'd like to restore to you what the enemy has stolen from you and he'd like to remove the guilt and the shame that you feel.
You know, God is a good God and he gives us these ten commandments and as we've said before, principles for living. Principles so that we can have a better relationship with him and a better relationship with others and I want to encourage you to put the principle of trust to work in your life, trust God to provide for you and also trust God to provide enough so that you can be a giver in his kingdom.