She was quick witted and smart. Although her beauty is what caught the eye of many, Rachel was calculating, thoughtful, and purposeful. Packed and ready to go, her heart’s desire was to leave her childhood home. Her mind screamed, “Go!” as the caravan crossed the open desert plains. Jacob had called her out of the fields with his mind made up. She was ready and willing to follow her husband; her father had used her enough.
Skillfully, Rachel had grabbed the small idols Laban kept in the house while he was out sheep shearing. Time was of the essence. Hiding her well-deserved inheritance, Rachel snuck out of her childhood home into the awaiting convoy and her unsuspecting husband. She warranted the inheritance, for when Jacob called her and Leah to leave, she blurted out deep within her heart, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you” (Genesis 31:14).
Webster’s Dictionary defines theft as, “the act of stealing; specifically: the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. An unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property.” Thief and theft are mentioned thirty-four times in the Amplified Bible, while steal is mentioned thirty-three times. God’s heart revealed strong convictions regarding taking something that does not belong to you.
In His infinite wisdom, God wrote Ten Commandments regarding the protection of man’s heart. Only ten directives to encompass the deception man’s flesh may succumb too. “You shall not steal [secretly, openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness]” (Exodus 20:15). Rachel stole what did not belong to her and her father came searching for the thief.
In man’s quest to understand ancient history, artifacts and fascinating information have been discovered opening the pages of history for all to behold. Primeval cuneiform tablets have been found in archaeological digs in northeastern Iraq. A city in the kingdom of Arrapha inhabited by a people known as the Hurrians, Nuzi was situated in Upper Mesopotamia. Over 6,500 cuneiform texts and fragments have been discovered giving modern day scholars a plethora of information to the ancient world. These tablets have also been useful when comparing Biblical Scriptures to the primordial sphere. God’s Word corresponds perfectly to historical documents .
The tablets record daily laws and regulations for people, families, and business. One tablet insightfully gives us clues as to why Rachel may have stolen the idols, “An individual family’s household idols were considered highly important in Nuzi and were handed down to the principal heir. If the inheritance were disputed in court, possession of the family idols could be accepted as proof that the deceased had intended the possessor to be his heir. Thus, Rachel’s theft of the family idols could have been construed as a serious crime, an attempt to secure Laban’s wealth for her husband and possible future children” .
Rachel’s deceitful character proves her well again when her father demands and searches Jacob’s caravan for the household teraphim. Asking his daughter to move, Laban looks to Rachel as she sits astride the bag hiding the treasure. Straight-faced with a perfect performance by the young actress, Rachel does not stand as her father entered her tent. “Do not be displeased, my lord, that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is on me and I am unwell.” Blaming her monthly cycle, Rachel watches as her father tears the place apart searching for the statues. He never found them.
I have met the thief, twice. I have met two con artists; one from afar offering investments for commercial properties and the other right in my own home. The feeling is different when a thief steals away from the home, somewhere locked up on Wall Street or a basement computer, than when he boldly walks into your home and steals knowingly from your family. I have met them both and neither of them remorseful. One thief thought he deserved what was “given” to him. Never taking responsibility or accountability for the lies told while receiving the money, this thief actually believed people gave him money for his own personal use. Many are truly deceived.
I would have been considered a thief. A young girl who stole a stick of gum and pretended she found it progressed to a teenager who stole food, “forgetting” to pay the cash box when hungry. I’ve cheated and stolen answers on tests. I have stolen time from an employer. Walking out a few minutes early, coming in a few minutes late, I still accepted the paycheck as if I had worked the hours presented. Yes, in God’s eyes, that is a thief.
I love the AMP translation which adds, “secretly, openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness” when defining what stealing is. Most of us are not the thieves who steal millions of dollars with scams and schemes derived from obscene arrogance. We can steal, as the AMP defines, carelessly. How many times have we walked out of a store with something in our cart not paid for? How many times have we walked out early from work? How many times have we taken pens, paper, clips, work material, and copies we never paid for? It could be careless, oblivion, but the Bible says repent of it.
I have carelessly walked about of store with what seems like minute items, only to teach my children a valuable lesson. We do not take what we do not pay for. I’ve walked back in, with little ones in tow, so my three children could watch their mother pay for what she takes. We may say to ourselves, “No one will know.” Wrong! God knows! “[Jesus explained,] ‘I tell you that to everyone who has [because he valued his gifts from God and has used them wisely], more will be given; but from the one who does not have [because he disregarded his gifts from God], even what he has will be taken away’ ” (Luke 9:26). I desire good from God and to be accountable for what I have, not taken away because I could not be trusted with the small things such as integrity and character.
Jesus used the word thief several times in regards to the devil, guarding your heart, and guarding the Word of God, and ready for service at all times for. Jesus also employed a thief among His disciples, “Now he said this, not because he cared about the poor [for he had never cared about them], but because he was a thief; and since he had the money box [serving as treasurer for the twelve disciples], he used to pilfer what was put into it” (John 12:6). Judas Iscariot was a thief and one of the twelve disciples. Our Lord was not immune to the con artist. He was sold for thirty pieces of silver by a thief, and then placed between two thieves on the cross! Yes, Christ was well aware and acquainted with the thief.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till if overflows]” (John 10:10). The greatest thief of all time prowls around looking to steal, kills, and destroys. If you have stolen, have been labeled a thief, or have been the recipient of a thief, than you are well accustomed to how the devil operates.
The devil is a thief. He steals lives, souls, and minds. One of my favorite shows to watch is American Greed. I watch this show in bewilderment as thieves and con artists steal thousands from unbeknownst victims. They are not sorry, refuse to repent, and justify their actions. Each of the thieves is in a spiritual battle for Truth. The enemy has stolen, killed, and destroyed lives through these people. My heart aches for their families, loved ones, and those left in the wake of financial disaster.
I pray, sweet sister, you are able to forgive the thief and pray for them. No one is so far from God, that He cannot reach His precious hand down and safe him or her from a life of theft. If you are the thief, I pray you quickly repent and ask God for help. Repent means to “change your inner self – your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for you life” (Matthew 3:2).
As with any addiction, I have met individuals who just seem to be thrilled with the “high” of stealing or trying to “get over” on someone else. It seems to be a distorted and twisted game of who can outsmart the other. This stronghold will take prayer and fasting to recover from. Pray over every stolen item. Pray God give you the strength to restore what has been stolen and ask forgiveness from the victim. Your worldly strength will not be enough to do this; your strength will have to come from the Lord. “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose – I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace] (Philippians 4:13). God is the God of restoration. You will need to account and take full responsibility for your actions.
You are worth more than anything that can be stolen. We have to remind ourselves the thief is made in the image of God, just as we are. I have prayed over the thieves who stole money from our family; I have prayed God reveal Truth to their hearts. I will tell you at times willingly, but at times begrudgingly. It can be difficult to love the ones who are unlovable. These situations are what strengthen and test my faith, for if I can only pray for those who are kind to me, than what is “faith” for?