… they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering. Leviticus 6:4-5

A common theme in the Old Testament is restitution which varies according to the offence and the attitude of the offender. In the situation described here, restitution is made in full plus a fifth when they “realise their guilt” (verse 4). They have voluntarily understood the error of their ways and sort to make amends.

Elsewhere when someone is caught with stolen goods in their possession they’re to pay back double (Exodus 22:4 and 9) and if they are unable to give back the stolen property because they’ve disposed of it, they’re to pay back four or fivefold (Exodus 22:1). These directives were known and taken seriously as we can see in Zacchaeus’ response to Jesus (Luke 19:8).

It’s remarkable that after restitution has been made the victim is better off than if the item hadn’t been taken. This is a Biblical principle and even God restores people double for their misfortune.

God doesn’t steal from us but sometimes he removes his protection and the devil has an opportunity. This is seen most clearly in the story of Job (Job 1- 2) and in his restoration (Job 42:12, see also Isaiah 61:7, Zechariah 9:12). God accepts responsibility for evil being in the world, even though it was caused by Adam’s disobedience.

We always receive more than we lose.

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