Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Revisiting An Old Subject

It has been several years since I taught on this subject. It is time for another reminder.

If you are a normal, moral person, that is, not into drugs, sex, or alcohol, you are probably still guilty of stealing and lying. Today it will be about stealing, not bank robbery, but just taking things that are not your own.

This is described in Leviticus 6:1-7. Pay attention to the text. “The LORD said to Moses: ‘If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit—when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering. And as a penalty they must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, their guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the LORD, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty.’”

• It is unfaithfulness to God. “You shall not steal” (Ex. 20:15).
• It includes several types of stealing.
• The solution includes taking it back to the owner.
• This restitution includes adding 20% of the value stolen.
• You confess it to God. His forgiveness is based upon Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. The animal sacrifices were prophetic events that pictured Jesus’ sacrifice.

Exodus 22:1-15 gives more details on restitution.

If the thief steals an ox and kills or sells it, he must return 5 oxen or 500%. If it is a sheep that he kills or sells, he must return 4 sheep or 400%. If the oxen or sheep are alive when they are returned, the thief must return double what was stolen.

Restitution includes things stolen before you were a Christian. When you were saved, all of your sins were forgiven by God. However, the items you stole are still not yours and must be returned. It is like robbing a bank and confessing the robbery to be forgiven by God, but keeping the money. Confessing and restitution go together.

Number 5:8 tells us what to do when we can’t find the original owner. “But if that person has no close relative to whom restitution can be made for the wrong, the restitution belongs to the LORD and must be given to the priest, along with the ram with which atonement is made for the wrongdoer.”

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