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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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The Ten Commandments

Trust and Integrity

Exodus 20.15

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[In our study of the Ten Commandments we have discovered,] 

  • [1st Commandment – The Preeminence of God - Jehovah God is preeminent because there is no other God.  He, and He alone is God.]

  • [2nd Commandment The Living God – Jehovah God is the only living God. Because there are no other god’s.  Our Heavenly Father is Jealous for our souls that we might walk with him.  Idols or false god’s will only alienate us from God and rob us of the eternal life He reserves and desires for each of us.]

  • [3rd Commandment A Worthy God – Jehovah God, as the only living God, is worthy of all my honor, and praise.  He is jealous for me that my soul and spirit might be saved and in eternal harmony with Him.]

  • [4th Commandment – A Renewing God – Keeping the Sabbath holy reminds us that our Heavenly Father desires deeply to keep our relationship with Him fresh and intimate.]

  • [5th Commandment Honor Starts At Home – Honor and respect are the foundation of all of our relationships.  Honor and value your parents and family and you will find it easy to honor the people in your life.]

  • [6th Commandment The Value Of Human Life – Mankind was distinctly made in the image of God.  We are not highly evolved animals, but uniquely formed by God and for God.]

  • [7th Commandment Faithfulness and Fidelity – Moral and spiritual adultery will destroy your life, while faithfulness and fidelity toward God and your fellowman will result in contentment and lasting relationships in your life.]

[Today we examine the 8th Commandment which concisely states,]

[Exodus 20:15 15 Thou shalt not steal. ]

[Another short and briefly stated moral command with massive implications for our lives.  I remember my grandmother saying, “No one likes a thief, and no one trusts a thief.”] 

[Read Text and Pray] 

[Illustration: A woman was working one night in a HoneyBaked Ham store. The store was equipped with security cameras, and she was watching the small, black-and-white monitors when she saw a woman come in the store, walk down the handicapped ramp, and go between two shelves. To the clerk's amazement, this woman grabbed a ham off the shelf and stuffed it up her dress. With the ham wedged between her thighs, the woman waddled toward the door.

The clerk was stunned and wondered what she should do. Should she yell out? Follow the woman?

Just then, the ham dropped out from between the woman's legs. It hit the metal handicapped ramp with a loud bang, and then rolled and clanged to the bottom.

The thief didn't miss a beat. She quickly turned her head and yelled out, "Who threw that ham at me? Who threw that ham at me?" Then she ran out of the store. - Citation: Kevin A. Miller, vice president, Christianity Today International] 

[We laugh at the silliness of this story, but the truth of our contemporary culture is that we live a day where moral values are becoming lost to our culture.  The people around us have strange ways of defining right and wrong and even stranger ways of defining trust and integrity.  The command, “thou shalt not steal” deals with trust and integrity.] 

[Illustration: Just a couple of years ago I had a conversation with a young adult lady who laughed when she told me how she realized that the valve stem cap on her tire was missing.  So the next time she went to the local mall she just went to a car nearby and took a cover off of that valve stem and put it on her tire.  I told her that this was stealing and she laughed, shrugged and said, “Well, they will never miss it and I didn’t have to buy one.  Anyways, someone else probably took mine.”] 

[Character in Commands - Our culture is quickly loosing any sense of what stealing really is and what stealing really reflects in our personal character.  I have told you throughout these messages on the Ten Commandments that God gave these commandments because they reflect His character.   The last command,] 

[Exodus 20:14 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.]

[Is based on the faithfulness and fidelity of Almighty God and calls for us, in being conformed to the image of Christ, to develop heartfelt faithfulness and fidelity in our own lives.  The commandment we look into today is based on the integrity and honesty of God. ]

[Something that we must notice here, and will notice as we study this command and the two that follow it is that in their biblical explanations these last three commands are pretty much woven together.  Integrity (not stealing) has to do with honesty (not lying) and greed (or coveting).  All three of these last commandments deal with trust and have the potential of either building and growing trust or of destroying trust.  Today, I will try to stay focused on the commandment we are studying today.] 

[What do we learn about trust and integrity from this simple commandment?] 

A.     The Definition of Stealing 

[Steal - תִּֿגְנֹֽ֔ב׃  (Heb.) - (qal) steal, be a thief, i.e., take items without permission by the owner, but usually by stealth and not force (Ex 22:11[EB 12]); (qal pass.)be stolen (Ge 30:33; 31:39(2x); Pr 9:17+); (nif) be stolen (Ex 22:11[EB 12]+); (piel) steal an object (Jer 23:30+); (pual) be stolen (Ex 22:6[EB 7]+); 2. LN 57.186-57.188 (qal) kidnap, i.e., seize a person for sale or servitude (Ex 21:16; Dt 24:7); (pual) be forcibly carried off to slavery (Ge 40:15(2)+); . . .  5. LN 31.8-31.13 (qal) deceive, i.e., cause another to hold a mistaken view, and so wrongly evaluate a situation (Ge 31:20, 26, 27+);[1] ] 

[Anytime someone takes anything that does not belong to them, or fails to be responsible in an obligation that has been laid upon them either by agreement or default they are stealing.  The Old Testament gives us many examples of stealing and through these examples teaches us what it means to be trustworthy. ]  

God teaches you to, 

1.      Be Trustworthy in your Responsibilities (Lev 19.11,13; Psalm 15.1-4) [– The Bible states,] 

[Leviticus 19:11, 13 11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. . . . 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.] 

[Employers must not rob their employees by keeping their wages even one night longer than they agreed upon.  The laborer is worthy of his hire and should be paid faithfully and on time.  The point here is that we keep our word toward our fellow man.] 

[I remember my grandfather saying, “A man is only as good as his word.”] 

[The Bible says,] 

[Psalm 15:1-4 1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. ] 

[If you say you are going to do something, then be responsible and do it.  If you do not mean to do something then don’t say you are going to do it.  This means you must bite your tongue and watch what you say.] 

2.      Be Trustworthy in your Rewards (Lev 19.35-37) [- The Bible States,] 

[Leviticus 19:35-37 35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. 36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. 37 Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.]

[This is to steal by defrauding someone.  This is using a different measure than is expected to give someone less that what they expected.  In Biblical days this would mean that instead of giving the customer a pound of something, you would have an unjust weight for the scale that would give the customer a few ounces less than a pound, thus robbing the customer without his knowledge.]

[A second application might be for an employee to not work when the boss is around and thus give his employer less than a full day’s work for a full day’s wages.  A trustworthy employee should not have to be watched to do his work faithfully.]

3.      Be Trustworthy in your Relationships (Deut 19.14; Prov 3.29; Lev 6.1-6) [- Don’t steal your neighbors land or stuff.  The Bible says,]

[Deuteronomy 19:14 14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.]

[Proverbs 3:29 29 Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee. ]

[Leviticus 6:1-6 1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; 3 Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, 5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: ]

[Your neighbors, in the traditional senses of the word, should be able to trust you in every regard.  You must be a trustworthy neighbor.  They should be able to trust you with those things they ask for your help with.  They should be able to trust you with those things that they could not know to ask for your help with.] 

[As a matter of fact this teaching demonstrates that trustworthiness deals with integrity in the face of even lost goods.  If someone were to drop ten dollars in front of you in a store, even if he is a stranger, then you should pick it up and give it back to him.  Anything else is stealing.]

4.      Be Trustworthy in your Regard (Exo 23.4-5) [– Christians should even be trustworthy toward their enemies. The Bible says,] 

[Exodus 23:4-5 4 If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. 5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.]

[Your Accountability in Trustworthiness - This is a hard character trait to develop.  But this kind of trustworthiness teaches us who we are to be trustworthy toward.  Your integrity is not really a matter of what your fellowman thinks about you, it is a matter of what your Heavenly Father thinks about you.  How you treat your fellowman is the result of how you view your Heavenly Father.  If you are willing to steal in any way and in any volume then you reveal that you are willing to throw away all of your trustworthiness in the sight of God.]

5.      Be Trustworthy in your Restitution (Exo 22.1, 4-5; 1 John 1.9) [– If you have been a thief then God tells you how to make things right.  Restitution must be made.  The Bible says,]

[Exodus 22:1 1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. ]

[Exodus 22:4-5 4 If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double. 5 If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man's field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution. ]

[In other words a thief cannot just confess his sin and think that somehow everything will be alright.  He must make the loss caused by his theft right.  Restitution deals with the consequences for our sins.  It is our moral duty to our fellow man to make things right. ]

[In your relationship with God, your eternal restitution is made through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  No restitution can be made for your eternal soul; instead Jesus paid everything that was owed of your sins in regard to your immortal soul.  In respect to eternity to come the Bible says,]

[1 John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ]

B.     The Disdain of Stealing [– Born Again Christians should never make the mistake of thinking lightly about stealing in any regard.  Stealing, lying, immorality, and greed will destroy your testimony and cause you to be ineffective in our Lord’s kingdom work.  For many professed Christians this appears to be a small consequence.  This is evidenced by the fact that they are willing to be known as stealers and liars in the midst of this corrupt world.  Some might try to justify themselves by saying, “Well, it’s a dog eat dog world.”  Which reflects situational ethics and holds that evil is not necessarily evil if it is prosperous.] 

[The real fact is that your integrity and trustworthiness in your community will not only affect you and your reputation, but it will also affect the reputation of your Church and the reputation of Christ in our world.  Don’t allow yourself to become a hindrance to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  You need to walk in integrity because our Lord is known by His people, and our Lord is the Lord of integrity.] 

Therefore, develop in your life, 

1.      Work Trust (Col 3.22-25) [– The Bible says,] 

[Colossians 3:22-25 22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. ]

[This means that born again Christians should approach their jobs as if they were working for God, rather than their bosses. Therefore, when you are supposed to be working you ought to be working, whether anyone is watching or not.  You ought to look for ways to help your company be prosperous.  You ought to work for your company and boss as if you were working for God.  Because in the end you will answer to your Lord for the way you represented Him at work.] 

2.      World Trust (1 Cor 10.31-33) [– The Bible says,] 

[1 Corinthians 10:31-33 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. ]

[Live in this world, among your neighbors, in your community, and in our nation and world in such a way that you promote the Gospel of our Lord and bring the world to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Notice that this is more than just being kind and courteous.  This is being intentionally graceful.  The end is the salvation of the lost, not just a good reputation.  However, a good reputation will help you win the lost.] 

3.      Wonderful Trust (2 Cor 5.19-21) [– The Bible says, ] 

[2 Corinthians 5:19-21 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ]

[We must get it into our heads and hearts that we are God’s representatives in this fallen world.  The only way the world can see our Lord Jesus Christ is if they see Him through us.  We must determine with all of our resolve to bring integrity and trustworthiness into our world’s understanding of our Lord by the way we live our lives.] 

[Extra Dime In The Bus]

[A young man employed by our Sunday school board told the following searching story. He was invited at the last minute to preach at a church in Nashville. On sudden impulse he used as his text, "Thou shalt not steal." The next morning he stepped on the bus and handed the driver a dollar bill. The driver handed him back his change. He stood in the rear of the bus and counted the change. There was a dime too much. His first thought 2348was, "The bus company will never miss this dime."]

[Then quickly came the realization that he could not keep money that did not belong to him. He made his way to the front and said to the driver, "You gave me too much change." Imagine his surprise when the driver replied, "Yes, a dime too much. I gave it to you purposely. You see, I heard your sermon yesterday, and I watched in my mirror as you counted your change. Had you kept the dime I would never again have had any confidence in preaching." What a tragedy if he had done the wrong thing! Remember our influence, our shadow-selves, may fall where we can never be. (Cf: Exodus 20:15)Sunday School Builder] 


[1]Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. DBLH 1704, #5



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