Posts Tagged ‘property rights’

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 23:10 Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless

The Lord God of heaven and earth protects property rights. He especially protects the poor and helpless. It is tempting to alter business practices for financial advantage, but God condemns such acts. It is tempting to take financial advantage of those who cannot defend themselves, but God condemns that as well. He will come to the aid and defense of those victims, and you will wish you had stayed away from them (Pr 23:11; 22:22-23).

It was customary in Bible times to use a pile of stones, a post, or other marker to establish property boundaries. These landmarks would remain unmoved from one generation to the next, as real property ownership continued as part of family estates. God gave wonderful laws to Israel, and one of them was the protection of property rights by condemning the moving of these established landmarks (Pr 22:28; Deu 19:14; 27:17; Job 24:2; Hos 5:10).

The fatherless are those who had lost their fathers to war or other early deaths. They lacked a strong male defender for property protection or business transactions. Entering their fields by any means of encroachment or theft was a heinous crime. The principle would obviously apply to other acts of property theft as well, such as misdirection of water, grazing of their fields, stopping of their wells, breeding of your herds, and so forth.

Like widows, God took special care of the fatherless, foreigner, and poor (Jer 22:3; Zech 7:10). The mighty God promised to come from heaven with vengeance on those who trouble these two categories of the weak and helpless (Job 31:21-23; Ps 94:6; Eccl 5:8; Mal 3:5). It is wisdom and true religion to go out of your way to help both (Jas 1:27). Never ask more than market price or pay less than market price to any of these parties.

The rule for property boundaries applies to all economic transactions and business practices. You have no right to alter any established way of doing things unless all parties are fully informed and agree and there is no damage at all to others. God demands impeccable honesty and integrity in all transactions. There is no room for compromise or confusion. He will avenge harshly! Go out of your way financially to honor the poor. You will never lose in such decisions, for the God of heaven will repay you (Pr 19:17).

Consider religious changes. Men today alter God’s worship to make it acceptable to the world. They call it casual, contemporary, purpose driven, or seeker sensitive. They remove old landmarks (II Thess 2:15). But God calls His people to seek the old paths (Jer 6:16). He calls you to earnestly contend for the old faith (Jude 1:3). Turning from sound doctrine to entertainment and fables is proof of perilous times (II Tim 4:3-4). The remedy is to preach the written word of God without apology or compromise, for it is more sure than even God’s voice from heaven (II Tim 3:16-17; 4:1-2; II Pet 1:16-21; Titus 2:15).

God’s worship does not change unless and until He says there is to be a change, and then only He should define the change (John 4:20-24; Heb 9:10). Men have no right to add to or take away from His rules (Deut 12:32; Matt 28:20), and they must not turn to the right or to the left (Deut 5:32; Pr 21:16; Gal 1:6-9), no matter how popular changes might be.

Will you be one of His 7,000 that will not change, like in the days of Elijah (I Kgs 19:18; Rom 11:4-5)? Most Christians compromise much of true religion for ease and popularity. God is looking for a faithful man that will not change (Ezek 22:30). Will you be a man (or a woman) that will not remove the ancient landmarks of Bible doctrine and practice?

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 6:31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it coast him all the wealth of his house

Stealing is a crime, even if to obtain food when hungry. A man can beg or borrow food, if he has an emergency. Though men do not despise a thief for stealing food due to hunger, they will still punish him according to the law for violating the property rights of another person (Pr 6:30). If too proud to beg or borrow, then he will be reduced to servitude to restore the stolen goods and give proper compensation to their rightful owner.

This proverb is part of Solomon’s condemnation of adultery, for there is no justification for that heinous crime (Pr 6:27-35). Men may understand stealing due to hunger, but they will still require full restoration. But adultery cannot be understood! It cannot be undone by any amount of payment, and men do not understand such a criminal act, for it violates a man’s most intimate possession without any possibility of restoration or replacement.

Cavemen did not dream up property rights or the protection of property. The LORD God Jehovah of Israel laid down the law by writing in stone, “Thou shalt not steal” (Ex 20:15; Deut 5:19).  When found, thieves had to restore the stolen goods and compensatory goods to the extent of two to seven times the amount stolen (Ex 22:1-15). If the thief could not pay, he was sold into slavery to clear his debts. So much for foolish debtor’s prisons!

How far did God’s laws go to protect property rights? If you found a thief in your house, you had the right to use lethal force and kill him. God understood the value of security at night and the rush of adrenalin at the intrusion of a thief in your house. However, if you found the thief selling your stuff the next day at a flea market, you could not exact physical revenge on him. He was merely to restore the stolen property (Ex 22:2-3).

Such restitution would reduce a nation’s prisons. If a thief cannot pay, sell him as a slave in the private sector. Thieves would not “pay their debt to society” by living in a warm dormitory, eating three meals a day, having proper clothes, and playing cards. They would quickly learn the value of property and freedom without any expense to taxpayers.

Property rights are not an invention of capitalism or political or economic theory. They are God’s revealed will and law for society. He protects your assets from others, who by envy or greed covet what is not theirs and will subtly or violently try to take yours. If you know this, then take care to protect others’ property, even more than your own (Gen 31:39; I Sam 25:14-16; Pr 16:11; 20:10,14,23; 22:28; 23:10; I Cor 6:7-8; Phil 2:4).

Dear reader, do you understand that adultery is much worse, for the damage done cannot be repaired, and the loss is far greater? So God required capital punishment for a sin that today is glamorized and protected (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22-24; Job 31:9-12; Heb 13:4). If the thought of a thief breaking into your house and taking your things is offensive, you should be much more offended and angry at any thoughts of adultery. Keep your heart with all diligence to despise and hate any fantasy to harm another marriage by adultery.

God compares His relationship to His people as a marriage, so He considers friendship you have with the world to be spiritual adultery (Jas 4:4). He hates the world, and the world hates Him, so your flirting with worldly friends, lifestyle, or philosophy is as abominable to Him as a wife making love to her husband’s enemy. Be faithful and loyal to Him alone today, letting Him know that you also hate the world and will not touch it.