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October 19 – LD 42, Day 5: Stealing Forbidden

Friday the 19th of October

in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations

1 Thessalonians 4:6 - That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.”

The eighth commandment, and the Catechism’s exposition of this commandment, sets before us the grievous violation of this foundational principle in wrongfully acquiring, possessing and spending earthly goods. Stealing is not only done by those acts punishable by the magistrate. There is also stealing that is done so quietly and without notice, that we might still appear in the eyes of others, and perhaps even in our own eyes, as very honest people.

God sees all those sins by which people try to take what belongs to the other, whether by force, or under the appearance of right. He sees those who squander His good gifts, unfaithful stewards. God sees the stealing by healthy-bodied men who do not work faithfully, but who take their daily sustenance from others. Paul had to address that as well, in Eph 4:28.

God sees all the unfaithful stewardship in the business world and in the sphere of labour. He sees those executives who draw increasingly exorbitant salaries and bonuses, as if they own the world, while they bleed their workers, cut jobs and insist on harder work and longer hours. God sees the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor. He has a special word for those rich. It’s found in James 5:1ff.. “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.... Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud,crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.”

But it isn’t just the bosses who frequently are found guilty by God of stealing. God also sees those employees who steal from their employers, not putting in an honest day’s work for the wages they are paid, who stretch their lunch break and coffee breaks, who hold their employers hostage at the hands of their labor unions. God sees.


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