Leviticus 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. (See also Proverbs 3:27-28, Jeremiah 22:13, and James 5:4.)

15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

Deuteronomy 23:24 When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.

25 When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

Proverbs 12:17 He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.

22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.

Proverbs 20:14 It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.


MEMORY VERSE: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

—II Corinthians 8:21


CENTRAL THOUGHT: Various teachings of Moses’ law, the wisdom of Solomon, and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles combine to give us a complete picture of the heart intentions, words and actions of the man of honesty, integrity, and truth.




Leviticus 19:13 “Defraud”: oppress; wrong; extort; get deceitfully.

Proverbs 11:1 “Balance”: a pair of scales for weighing money or goods.

Proverbs 20:14 “It is naught, it is naught”: “It is worthless!”

Romans 13:7 “Tribute”: land tax. “Custom”: mercantile tax. “Fear”: reverence for superiors. “Honour”: respect due to persons of distinction.

Romans 13:8 “Owe no man anything, but to love one another”: “Acquit yourselves of all obligations except love, which is a debt that must remain ever due” (Hodge). For men to “run into debt, and take no care to pay, but live upon the property and substance of others, is scandalous to them as men, and greatly unbecoming professors of religion, and brings great reproach upon the Gospel of Christ” (Gill’s). “Leave toward no one any obligation unfulfilled” (Meyer’s).




It is so interesting to read the various commands of Moses’ law, as they give us a picture of God’s heart of absolute fairness and justice. He wanted His people to be fair and honest to a scruple. If your cow wandered into the neighbor’s garden and ate his corn, you were to replace it with the best of your corn. If you borrowed your neighbor’s axe and broke the head, you just bought your neighbor a new axe, unless the neighbor happened to be working along with you, or you had paid rent for the tool. If the man who had done you wrong was missing his goat and you found it, you were required to bring it to its owner. Note the honesty, justice, and selflessness in these commands. The principle was, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Today’s lesson contains commandments concerning these things: theft, lying and false swearing, perversion of judgment, and the withholding of wages. Deuteronomy 23:24-25 balances neighborly generosity with neighborly honor: I was to allow my neighbor to pick a handful of my grapes as he passed by my vineyard; on the other hand, he was to respect me by taking a handful but no more. He couldn’t come into my yard with his bucket. Nor was he to bring his sickle to get corn from my field, but I should allow him a few ears as a neighborly gift.

The false balance mentioned in Proverbs 11:1 was a familiar term in the law. A merchant could not use a set of weights to weigh produce he was selling, and then use a different set when he was buying. They had to be the same. The buyer could not downplay the value of what he wanted to buy so that the merchant would lower his price, and then go away with his ill-gotten bargain boasting about the deal he just made.

Jesus’ words bring all these laws into focus for everyone of us personally. We are to be as hard on ourselves when it comes to fairness as we are on others. We are to be honest in little matters as well as in huge matters.

To the Roman Christians coming from a heathen lifestyle, Paul wrote detailed guidelines about daily life in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters. At the heart of it all was love and honor, and fairness and justice for all men. He also wrote to the converts at Ephesus emphasizing the drastic change from a life of wickedness and strife to a life of gentleness and love for everyone. Lying and stealing from your brother was the same as doing it to yourself, because you are all part of the same body; you’re part of each other, he reminded them.

The memory verse calls our attention to an important detail: while we know that God sees our hearts and discerns our honesty, we should be very careful that the world around us knows, by our motives, words, and actions, that we are honest as well.

—Angela Gellenbeck




  1. List the details mentioned in Leviticus that have to do with honest stewardship.
  2. What do the scriptures teach about fair wages
  3.  Show how the illustration from Deuteronomy teaches a balance between honor and generosity.
  4. What truths about buying and selling are taught in Proverbs?
  5. What “law” fulfills all God’s commands?




Dishonesty was a common way of life for the heathen nations who had not been taught God’s laws. As God’s people were to walk uprightly, deal justly, and show a different way of business dealings—the law of love, the “Golden Rule.” Employers were obligated by God to pay those they hired on the day agreed upon. In those days, payment was due each day. God pronounced judgment upon those who withheld wages because of greed and arrogance.

We have seen such judgment carried out upon entire nations for the covetous practice of slave labor and injustice toward men considered of “lower class.” As Christian men began to seek God and repent of these terrible injustices, God moved in a great way to cause these practices to be abolished. Still today, we are to show loving-kindness toward all and do all we can to see that any semblance of racial superiority or desire to take the advantage of another is banished from our lives.

Everyone loves a bargain; however, always trying to get the best deal could bring us into less- than-noble or even shady business transactions if we are not consistently watchful and prayerful.

Love, the total fulfillment of every one of God’s laws, is the debt we owe to every person. We may, at different times in our lives, acquire some debt which we work diligently to pay off, but we will always owe this one. At the heart of a true steward of the Lord is this awareness, that I owe every man fairness, justice, and a love that considers his needs as important as, and sometimes more important than, my own.

—Angela Gellenbeck




A little girl sitting in her first grade class cannot keep her mind on the instructions of the teacher but is looking around the classroom and glancing at the bright sunshine through the classroom windows. Alas, the little girl does not hear the instructions of the teacher and looks at her paper in frustration because she does not know what to do. Her friend nearby has dutifully listened to the teacher and fills out her paper correctly. The little girl glances over at her friend’s paper and copies each answer down too.

The teacher is a stern and observant instructor who has seen all that has happened. She calls the little girl up to her desk and promptly gives a failing grade. She writes in red ink pen on the paper (cursive !) and instructs the little girl to take the paper home to her parents. When the little girl arrives home, she tearfully hands the paper to her mother. The mother is able to read the red cursive writing that the young girl does not comprehend. She expresses her disappointment over her daughter’s actions and correction is given.

Needless to say, that little girl was never ever tempted to be dishonest again! I was that little girl and I am thankful for the powerful lesson that I learned at six years old. I am glad that I was “caught.”

We live in a world that is constantly looking for ways of “getting by” or being exonerated for crimes committed. But how much better it is to be “caught” now and have a chance to repent and make restitution than to wait for that final day of Judgment. On that day we will each one give account before a Judge who does not forget nor does He turn a blind eye. And the final recompense will be for eternity.

—LaDawna Adams