In all cases of illegal possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any other lost property about which somebody says, ‘This is mine,’ both parties are to bring their cases before the judges. The one whom the judges declare guilty must pay back double to the other. “If anyone gives a donkey, an ox, a sheep or any other animal to their neighbor for safekeeping and it dies or is injured or is taken away while no one is looking. (Exodus 22: 9-10)
Here we are in a so called dead end. As with the law regarding the wife accused of adultery by her husband, there are cases where there is no evidence or witness that could confirm the charges. In this kind of situation no one is able to announce a fair verdict, should he be judge or king.
The Almighty Himself intervenes to judge the guilty in such a case. The Lord defends the innocent, unmasks calumniators and calm down the hearts of those who have suspicions. He also soothes and compensates the ones having been damaged by false accusations provided that he/she has made good and faithful use of his property.
Sometimes we are falsely accused both by non-belivers but even often by belivers too. Something happens and everything suggests that you are the culprit. In come extreme cases, it happens that you almost would agree with your accusers so the clues are all pointing at you. In this kind of situation, it is useless to look for causes, evidence or getting into endless discussions. We must go before the Lord so that He will clean you in the eyes of all. You possibly won’t be among them for a long time and many years will have passed, but if you are innocent, you will be rehabilitated, compensated and your honor will come out purified. If your accusators, may they be believers, refuse to go before the Almighty with you, do it alone, you have no other choice. The law will be effective anyway and the sentence will be announced sooner or later.
The issue between them will be settled by the taking of an oath before the LORD that the neighbor did not lay hands on the other person’s property. The owner is to accept this, and no restitution is required. 12 But if the animal was stolen from the neighbor, restitution must be made to the owner. (Exodus 22:11-12)
Theft can be avoided. By taking a few precautions, with a little attention we can avoid being robbed of our property and that of others.
In the case of predators devouring the animals entrusted to us, the situation is quite different. Indeed, the predator also puts our own lives in danger. Opposing or attempting to confront it would be far too risky and could lead to our death or mutilation. The case of the armed thief is similar to this. He is willing to kill in order to get what he wants. These will not run away from our mere presence. Human life prevails. In these cases, we cannot be held responsible for the losses.
The Lord has entrusted time to us. The time of our ministry can be stolen by many things. We are most often the main kidnappers of our own time, when we use it illegitimately for purposes that are not those of the Lord. In these cases too, we must pay the costs of our carelessness and suffer the consequences. In this case, the owner is the one who gave us time or those to whom we should have brought the Gospel. The Lord’s Word was not promulgated at the time and place agreed upon. In such a case, we suffer in ourselves the spiritual consequences of our misdeeds. Our vision goes down, our relationship with the Lord loses its intensity, our time flees and the fruits do not ripen.
Sometimes a spiritual attack is the cause of my weakening and thus the slowing down of my ministry. This case belongs to the category of the animal torn apart by a predator. My ministry and my time are killed by a spiritual predator. I am not responsible, but a victim too.