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The 10 Commandments mini series: 8th Commandment

Exodus 20:15

"You shall not steal."

In English we get the idea of taking something from someone. But from a Hebrew perspective (in which the Old Testament was written), it has a much deeper meaning.

The Hebrew word for “steal” is the word “ganab” (כנב). Which means to thieve, to deceive; to carry away, to secretly bring, to steal (away), or to obtain by stealth (cautious and surreptitious action or movement.)

In other words, it is the intentional idea of taking something from someone else - which is not only physical things. Understanding the Hebrew perspective in which it was written - it could also mean you shall not steal someone’s mind / heart / soul and strength.

When you upset someone else’s peace - you have transgressed this commandment. In Genesis 31:26 we read “And Laban said to Jacob: “What have you done, that you have stolen away unknown to me, and carried away my daughters like captives taken with the sword?” The word “stolen” that was used in this verse is also the Hebrew word “ganab.” in English we read “stolen away unknown to me” - but in the original Hebrew it reads “vati ganab at lebab” (ותגנב את לבבוץי).

The word “lebab” (לבבי) is the Hebrew word for heart. In other words, Laban was actually asking Jacob why he was stealing his heart. Laban was under the impression that Jacob would stay with him forever. Jacob on the other hand had enough of how Laban treated him and wanted to move away. There’s enough evidence for us to understand where Jacob’s actions came from. However, often times we miss the story from Laban’s point of view. This goes beyond the question whether Laban was wrong or right.

Jacob stole the heart of Laban aka he upset him drastically when Laban discovered that Jacob was leaving him and taking Laban’s two daughters (Rachel & Leah) with him.

How often in life we we feel the need to justify our actions? We see ourselves as being more righteous than others. When we feel that we have the right to justify our actions based on what others have done wrong on right - we are stealing (ganab) from someone else!

In Philippains 2:3 we read “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

When we place ourselves in this position - not thinking of ourselves more than we should, not justifying our actions, surrendered lives... Then we find ourselves in a position where we can look up to Abba and He will lift us up and establish us in His time!

The lower we are, the more we die to ourselves and our own selfish ambitions, the better position we are in to see Abba high and lifted up - a position to see His true glory and power in our lives!

Furthermore, in Matthew 5:44 we read “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

When we do this - we give and serve others. It does not say to only give and serve when they deserve it. But when we choose to be obedient to His instructions - we place ourselves in that low position where we can look up to Him and He wil lift us up and glorify us with the Messiah! Serving, loving and giving (even to those who do not deserve it), is about operating in the Fruit of the Spirit.

Abba wil lift us up, we don’t have to do it ourselves.

In Proverbs 6:16-19 we read “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”

All seven of thse things can be traced back to the 8th commandment. It’s about stealing someone else’s peace, it causes division. And a hard reality face is that it’s ALL rooted in selfishness! Our own desires, our own jealousy, etc. We place ourselves in positions through justification. But in fact, we are actually stealing!

The more pride we carry, the more highly we think of ourselves, the more we love ourselves and our own desires - the more prone we will be to steal from others! As we would be convinced that we deserve to act the way we do.

In your everyday walk of life - do you tend to take peace or give peace? If we always aim to be the one who is “right” in arguments & discussions - we are probably stealing other people’s joy more often than we realise!

This does not mean that we are not allowed to voice our opinion or that it’s wrong to be right. It simply means that we should not be so focused to be “right” that we end up stealing (ganab) someone else’s life / heart / joy from them.

When we share the truth with others, we should do so in love. Truth in love and love in truth. When we do that - peace can come forth from our actions. We are called to bring truth in love so that peace could come forth.

We are all going through life, looking for peace. Even non-believers are looking for peace! We face countless things on a regular basis in the world that would try to rob us from our peace.

As bornagain believers, we are walking in Yeshua’s Image and likeness here on earth. That means that we have to carry His Light in this world. But not only His Light, we also have to carry His Shalom Peace with us - so that others could experience Him through us.

In Malachi 3:8 we read “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.”

God doesn’t need anything - including us. He is complete and perfect with or without us. Why then would He say that we have robbed (ganab) Him in this verse?

When we are not following His instructions, we are actually robbing God from what He asks us to do. And when we rob from Him, we are robbing the Kingdom!

When we “give” to a King Who needs absolutely nothing from us - it is a sign of true servanthood and loyalty.

Are you willing to give just because God asks you to? Or are you only willing to give when you feel like giving?

Our will to give must exceed our will to receive.

When we have the desire to be superior or to gain positions over others - we are stealing from others. And in effect stealing from His Kingdom.

When we place ourselves in low position - realising everything we have comes from and belongs to Him - He will lift us up and place us in the positions He wants us to be. We would not have to build our own empires and exalt our own names.

We are called to follow in Yeshua’s foot steps. When we look at His example - we see that even when Yeshua was right, He allowed others to be “right.” He never defended Himself.

When we fight for positions of superiority - we disable others to hear our hearts.

When we live like Christ lived, we will place the needs and demands of others above our own. And as a result, Abba will take care of our needs and place s in the positions where He desires for us to be.

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