OT Teachings: Restitution

Numbers 5:5-10

5 Then the LORD said to Moses, 6 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people—men or women—betray the LORD by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty. 7 They must confess their sin and make full restitution for what they have done, adding an additional 20 percent and returning it to the person who was wronged. 8 But if the person who was wronged is dead, and there are no near relatives to whom restitution can be made, the payment belongs to the LORD and must be given to the priest. Those who are guilty must also bring a ram as a sacrifice, and they will be purified and made right with the LORD. 9 All the sacred offerings that the Israelites bring to a priest will belong to him. 10 Each priest may keep all the sacred donations that he receives.” (NLT)

During OT times, saying sorry or confessing to God was not enough. You betray or deceive someone. What should you do?

  • Step 1 - Confess the sin.
  • Step 2 - Make full restitution + 20%. Example you deceived $100 then its $100+$20=$120/-
  • Step 3- Return it to the person
If the person is dead, what to do? - Give to relatives of person who can accept or receive it.
  • Step 4- If no one is there then give the money to priest + also bring ram for sacrifice (more expensive). So it goes to God.
So a simple sorry was not enough and restitution was needed.

Few things from NT:-

Luke 19:8
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”(NIV)

What did Zacchaeus do? For cheating $100, he gave back $100 * 4= $400/-. God asked 20% in OT but he gave 300%.

So what should we do? Just say sorry to God and be assured that Jesus paid it all on cross so I don't need to worry about whom I actually cheated? Is it fine if I give some money to poor or send a check to a third world country as mission support? That's what most people do. Is it enough to receive Christ and take baptism or become a church official while restitution is not made?

Again it’s the issue of restitution when someone is cheating or doing wrong to other people. 

May God help you to think about this in your practical life!

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