Sermon – May 28, 2017
Deuteronomy 25:1-19 – Giving Others What They Deserve (mp3)
Don’t steal. It seems easy enough, and most of us can manage it well on any given day. Yet, the truth is, that not stealing means much more than just making sure that you don’t steal cars, lunches, or pencils from work. We steal from others when we don’t let them have what is rightfully theirs. In Deuteronomy 25, Moses provides for us some ways in which we can think through our stealing from others:
1. Protect people’s dignity
When judgment is handed out, even though it may be quite severe, it should never demean people so that their status as human is somehow degraded. The protection in 25:1-3 is to make sure that there is always a reminder that, even when he does wrong, the thief is still a brother.
2. Pay people their earned wage
The famous v. 4 is not really about oxen, as it is used in the NT to refer to the payment that is due laborers and pastors. People deserve to be rightly remunerated for their work. Christians must push for fair and equitable wages.
3. Perform your responsibilities
Deuteronomy 25:5-13 highlights the familial responsibilities that should always be upheld. Children were precious to parents, as they provided both love, financial stability, and a way to pass on themselves in posterity. In families, we have certain responsibilities, and we steal when we do not perform those well.
4. Promote fairness
Vv. 13-16 remind us that it is easy to be a cheat in business and in our everyday practice. We must remember to be good to our word, to not lie and cheat to get ahead, and to demand that the scales be tipped in our favor.
5. Prize the glory of God
Lastly, Moses provides a reminder of the ultimate necessity in life – giving honor to God. Those who attack God, his anointed, and his people, strike at the very manifestation of God’s glory in the world. This is, ultimately, the spring from which the water of every theft flows.
We are thieves, make no doubt about it. If we do not steal from one another, we do so from God. We have not given him the glory that he is due, and thus would have been turned away from him forever if not for the intercession of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. So mighty is he, he not only promises to forgive and remake us thieves, but to provide us a place where nothing will be taken from us!