Summary: The 10th commandment is as comprehensive as the first. Perhaps more than any other, it focuses on the interior of the human heart. It is not concerned so much with what we do, but with what we think. It is less about action and more about attitude
Constant Cravings: The Tenth Commandment
Exodus 20: 1-17
I grew up in a house with one other sibling, a brother, Trae. Actually his name is Frank William Houck the Third but we have always called him Trae. He was the one that I fought with, and rode bikes with, and fought with and built forts with, and fought with and well you get the idea.
Growing up in our home my mom always would say “There is a special place in Heaven for the mother of two boys.” And then she would laugh. We didn’t understand, we thought it was just the stress of being a Navy wife.
Well as you know I once again live in a house with two boys, and I think that I am begging to get the idea of my mom’s saying. Now I believe that I have got two wonderful sons, and I wouldn’t trade them or change them for anything in the world. But having a 4 year old and a 15 month old in the house I believe I have learned a little about breaking the 10th commandment.
In our home the cost, or the age of the toy does not matter. What matters is who is playing with it and how much fun does it look like he is having.
For example, when Trafton was younger my mom and Trista’s mom bought him some riding toys. Nothing spectacular, a little push car and a Clifford, the big red dog. Trafton pushed around on them but when he started walking they were placed in the back of the closet. Well Rylan discovered them really for the first time about three weeks ago. It started with the Clifford. Rylan saw it in his closet got on and started down the hall. When Trafton saw him, he ran toward Rylan and pushed him off of his toy. Rylan started crying and Trafton told us it was his toy first and that he wanted to ride on it.
So I pulled Trafton off of Clifford and took him to the back room and found the push car. I told Trafton that he could ride this one, and then patted myself on the back for being such a wonderful and intelligent parent. Well as soon as Trafton hit the hall, with his knees in his chest because this toy is meant for a normal sized 1-2 year old not a Houck sized 4 year old, Rylan went ballistic. He no longer wanted the Clifford now he wanted the car, so he proceeded to walk over to Trafton and tried to push him off. And the brawl ensued.
Three weeks later there is still the rush in the morning to the car of your choice, you are riding up and down the halls with complete freedom and contentment. And then when your brother wakes up the struggle begins.
And it doesn’t just happen with riding toys. There is the struggle over drinking cups, and sides of the tub, and Trista’s lap. The sad part is that this is exactly how we become when we violate the tenth commandment. In children, covetousness is, at worst, an annoyance. But in adults it is, at best, a sign of our fallenness. The landscape of the Bible is filled with of examples of people don’t want what they have but do want what they don’t.
Adam and Eve coveted God’s knowledge and sinned.
The sons of Jacob coveted their father’s favor and sold Joseph into slavery.
Saul coveted David’s popularity and lost his mind, then his kingdom.
David coveted Uriah’s wife, took her and killed him.
Ahab coveted Naboth’s vineyard, killed him and took it.
James and John coveted position and threatened the unity of the apostleship. The other ten coveted their initiative and finished the job.
Judas coveted money and betrayed Jesus.
The Pharisees coveted Jesus’ power and crucified him.
Ananias and Sapphira coveted Barnabas’ reputation and lied.
Even a spiritual giant like the apostle Paul confessed the sin of covetousness. He is led to write in Romans 7:7,8. "What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ’Do not covet.’ But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment produced in me every kind of covetous desire."
I don’t think Paul was speaking in vague terms here.
The last of the commandments is, in many ways, as comprehensive as the first. Perhaps more than any other, it focuses on the interior of the human heart. It is not concerned so much with what we do, but with what we think. It is less about action and more about attitude. The eight commandment forbids stealing. The tenth says, "Don’t even think about it." The seventh commandment condemns adultery. The tenth warns us about even contemplating it.