A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination, and looked at the old pages as he turned them. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible, and he picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old leaf from a tree that had been pressed between the pages. ‘Momma, look what I found,’ the boy called out. ‘What have you got there, dear?’ his mother asked. With astonishment in the young boy’s voice, he answered: ‘I think it’s Adam’s suit!’
Has nothing to do with today’s posting. Just found it humorous and thought it might bring a smile to your face as well.
Let’s review God’s will so far. The first four put our focus on God. The final six put our focus on others.
What are the first four?
- No other gods
- No idols
- No misusing God’s name
- Keeping the Sabbath holy
What about the other 5 we’ve covered?
- Honor our parents
- No murder
- No adultery
- No stealing
- No false testimony
Well today’s commandment says, “You shall not covet what your neighbor has.” (Exodus 20: 17)
But before jumping into what God has to share with us on this commandment, let’s look at the definition of covet. What does it actually mean?
To covet means to want, but I think that is a little soft. To covet means to crave, to desire, to yearn for. It means, “I’ve got to have it and I will go to any means to get it.” And COVETING STARTS INTERNALLY.
Honestly, coveting is the root cause of you and me stepping outside of God’s will. Coveting is about self – wanting what you want when you want it. Jesus dealt with the root cause of coveting (the heart) in teaching His disciples after they had been accused of not following the law of washing their hands before eating.
In Matthew 15: 17-20 Jesus teaches, “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts; murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ “
Cain is a perfect example of what Jesus was teaching. Cain coveted the relationship and approval his brother Abel had with God. And because he never dealt with what was in his heart, he became jealous and ultimately murdered his brother.
So in order to deal with the heart issue of coveting, we have to learn to be content living within the will of God – we have to learn to be satisfied with what we have and who God created us to be.
Hebrews 13: 5 states, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ “
1 Timothy 6: 6 states, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4: 12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
God warns us through the law given to the Israelite nation that we are to get our selfish desires under control.
He was saying to them by giving them the Law, “Where the pagan nations you are entering will murder, steal, or lie to get what they want, you are to be set apart. You are to deal with this desire of wanting to take what is not yours. Leave your neighbor’s wife and things alone because you wouldn’t want him coming in and taking your wife and your belongings.”
Now, I do believe that coveting is not a bad word if the desire is not evil. I really believe there are some things that God would have you covet.
Here’s a story to illustrate this.
A FULL LIFE
A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. ”Not very long,” answered the Mexican. ”Well, then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American. The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family. The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” ”I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.” The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.” ”How long would that take?” asked the Mexican. ”Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American. ”And after that?” ”Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!” ”Millions? Really? And after that?” replied the Mexican. ”After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take siestas with your wife, and spend your evenings relaxing and enjoying your friends.”
God desires that we do covet those things that are important in life – things that bring honor and glory to His name. And though coveting with an evil intent is outside His will, coveting to be more like the Savior Jesus Christ is what He wants for everyone, especially for His Children.
The 10 Commandments show us what God desires – that He wants us to only have relationship with Him and that He wants us to have proper relationships with others.
If we will covet being in His will, then we will be. And we will have nothing to fear on the Day of Judgment when God brings to light what we did or didn’t do – we will only hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”