June 9, 2020
Good Morning Fellow Travelers,
Read: Exodus 22:1-14
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour, therefore love is a fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10)
Welcome back to our brief study on restitution, a principle so often forgotten in kingdom living. In part one we began looking at restitution in the Law of Moses. Here we notice that restitution was applied to both non-deliberate and deliberate acts against others. God’s law was explicit about deliberate acts against one’s neighbor—often times it required paying back double, or more, of what had been stolen or damaged.
In Exodus 22:1-14 thieves were to restore five oxen for one stolen and four sheep for one stolen. Oxen were important to Israel’s agrarian lifestyle. The oxen pulled the plows and worked the fields. To steal them deprived the farmer of his living. (It reminds me of the punishment for stealing a water buffalo in the Philippine Islands: death by a bullet to the head.) In verse five, it says that the quality of the restored goods was to be “of the best of his own field, and of the best of one’s vineyard.” Full restitution also had to be made for non-deliberate acts like fire or carelessness in guarding another’s goods.
How different our society would be today if these principles were applied to our daily lives! So many grow up with a warped sense of character and irresponsibility. When our inattention or carelessness causes an accident, do we just shrug it off as nonconsequential?
Restitution is ruled by God’s standard of love. When we love our neighbor, we will be careful not to hurt him or injure his goods. This is also a clear New Testament rule. Romans 13:10 says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour, therefore love is a fulfilling of the law.” Matthew 19:19 says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Maybe it is time we evaluate our motives and love toward others. Are we practicing restitution?
~ James Baer