10: Part 8 - 'Stop, Thief!'
This Sunday, Simon Lace brings us the talk in the latest of our EBC Online services. Once you have watched the video, we encourage you to reflect on the bible text and join us in the prayer that follows below.
To listen to the talk click here.
Exodus chapter 20 verses 1 - 15
Then God gave the people all these instructions:
“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
“You must not have any other god but me.
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
“You must not murder.
“You must not commit adultery.
“You must not steal.
Malachi chapter 3 verses 6 - 12
For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, have not perished. Ever since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, “How shall we return?”
Do Not Rob God
Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we robbing you?” In your tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me—the whole nation of you! Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. I will rebuke the locust for you, so that it will not destroy the produce of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not be barren, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will count you happy, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
Prayer & Reflection
Loving God, thank You that you are unchanging and that Your holy Word is unchanging. We confess that we have all of us failed in one way or another to fully honour and keep this absolute commandment not to steal and that we have thus robbed You, and robbed ourselves.
We thank You, Lord Jesus, that you didn’t tithe Your blood, or give it only in part, or only to those who deserved it and would not abuse Your grace and love – for none of us deserve it.
Forgive us, O God, and by the power of Your Holy Spirit living in us, transform us and equip us to be generous, sacrificial and cheerful givers, for Your Kingdom and for Your glory.
Questions to Consider
1. Have you ever been robbed of something? Recall the incident – how did it make you feel?
2. What do you make of the idea that we are all robbing God when we fail to be generous and sacrificial in our giving?
3. In what ways do you give – and to whom? Might God want you to review your approach and if so, how?
4. Have you considered the idea that when we fail to be generous, we are also robbing ourselves?
5. If you dislike the idea of the “poverty gap”… what are you personally doing about it with your own money?