Summary: The Tenth Commandment

Exo 20:17 DO NOT COVET

We have come to the last of the 10 commandments - "You shall not covet." Exo 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

The other commandments deal with actions, but this one deals with attitude of the heart.

This is a commandment that deals with the heart - an attitude of the heart, not an act.

Advertisements influence us very much - we are told that our present life is never good enough. We are told that we cannot be happy unless we have what others are having - something that is newer, bigger, better and shinier than what we may already have.

Covet - to feel a strong desire for something that others have.

It doesn’t mean we cannot desire anything - we have ambitions... we can have goals...

Here it is a desire to go for things that does not belong to you, or excessive craving for things simply because someone has it. It’s greed, envy.


It helps to remind ourselves that this world is not our home.

1 John 2:15-17 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Instead of focusing on things WE WANT, focus on things WE SENT... things we want to send ahead of us into eternity - What have you been sending back home?

Jesus tells us not to "store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:19-21)

Jesus says "greed" is something we need to guard against, in Luke 12:15-21 "15Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Esp. when we are bombarded with persuasive advertising everyday.)

He went on to tell the parable of a man who spent so much time and energy storing up his grain and goods. He built bigger barns to store them up, so that he can then truly enjoy life. Even before he can enjoy life, God took him. God says, "20’You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’


A rich businessman finds a fisherman sitting lazily by his boat.

"Why aren’t you out there fishing?" he asked.

"Because I’ve caught enough fish for today."

"Why don’t you catch more fish than you need?" the rich man asked.

"What would I do with them?" said the fisherman.

"You could sell them for more money" came the impatient reply. "You could buy a bigger and better boat, go into deeper water, catch even more fish and make lots of money. Soon you could have a fleet of fishing boats and be rich like me."

The fisherman asked, "Then what would I do?"

"You could sit down and enjoy life," said the businessman.

The fisherman looked at him and said, "What do you think I’m doing now?"

God wants us to enjoy the life He has given... and not only that, but to introduce others to this new life we have in Christ.


What is the opposite of "Do not covet..."? Be contented...

We covet because we want to measure our success or worth by the things we possess... in relation with others. It comes from a spirit of:

· Competition - I want to better than them. Kiasu syndrome.

· Comparison - often children say, "All my friends have this, how come I can’t have that?

Haddon Robinson: "Covetousness is simply craving more of what you have enough of already."

We are angry when others are better off than we are. If everyone has a car, I want to have a car, whether or not I need it.

Put things in the right perspective - that’s PAUL’S ADVICE 1 Tim 6:6-8

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

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