Friday, April 04, 2008

The Command to Love Your Neighbor's Property

"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein" (Ps 24:1). "You have given [man] dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet" (Ps 8:6). These two great truths are the foundation for the 8th commandment, which we will hear from God's Word this Sunday. God is Lord of all and he owns everything because he made it, he sustains it, and he directs in to his appointed ends. Yet he has also given mankind a stewardship role in using his property. Thus there is such a thing as personal property rights. The right to private property is given by God, and as such it cannot be justly abrogated by mere human will, whether through fraud or through force. The eighth commandment protects this freedom so that we can fulfill God's perfect plan of exercising righteous dominion over his wonderful creation.

The eighth commandment also helps us keep a proper perspective on our property rights. Whatever we have is a gift from God and must be used for his glory and others' good. It is not at all like the little ditty I picked up in the schoolyard as a child:
"This land is my land;
This land ain't your land.
I got a shotgun,
and you ain't got one.
If you don't get off,
I'll blow your head off.
This land was made for me not you."
The Christian attitude toward private property is God-centered, not self-centered. May our time together on Sunday help us see all of our possessions as gifts from our good Creator to be used for his glory!

All Creatures of Our God and King (#59)
Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above (#60)
This Is My Father's World (#61)
Fairest Lord Jesus (#21)
This Day, at Thy Creating Word (#64)
Take My Life, and Let It Be (#560)

The Lord's Supper

Scripture Reading
The Earth is the Lord's - Psalm 24

The Command to Love Your Neighbor's Property - Deuteronomy 5:19

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