Summary: This sermon examines the lives of several prominent O.T. people (Lot, David, Achan, etc.) to see how coveting almost destroyed them.
October 1, 2000 Exodus 20:17
“Going for the gold!” (part 2)
Last week, we began our look at the last of the 10 Commandments – “Thou shalt not covet”. We said that coveting is that overwhelming desire that we have to possess what belongs to someone else. It may be that object that we desire belongs to a store, and we covet for ourselves as we walk the aisles of that store, or it may that that object belongs to our neighbor – someone that we have a relationship with. Coveting is that attitude that says, “I must have the object of my desire, or life will just not be worth living.” It grows out of a lack of satisfaction with what God has already given you, and it prevents you from being thankful for God’s many blessings to you right now and in the past. If left unchecked, it will produce envy and even hatred in your heart toward the person that has whatever it is that you want – whether that object of your desire is a person with whom you want a relationship, or a material possession that would bring you pleasure.
We talked about 4 reasons that God forbids us to covet the possessions of another person. They’re listed on your note sheet there:
1. God forbids coveting because it sets our hearts on things of this earth instead of on things of heaven.
2. God forbids coveting because it puts a barrier between me and my neighbor.
3. God forbids coveting because it gives me motivation to break all of God’s commandments.
4. God forbids coveting because it will destroy me.
This morning, we’re going to scan through the lives of several people in the Bible and look at how instances or lifestyles of coveting affected them so that we can get a better picture of how destructive this sin can be in our own lives.
Abraham and Lot (Genesis 13:5-17)
- vs. 5-6 Abraham and Lot were traveling together. They had so many possessions and so many animals that there wasn’t enough space or resources to support them both. The problem that destroyed their happiness was NOT that Lot was poor and needed to accumulate more goods. The problem was that he had TOO MANY goods! How many of you have ever complained about not having enough closet or storage space? Could it be that the problem is not a lack of space to store your stuff but too much stuff to find a place to put it? The solution is not to get a bigger house to put all your stuff in but to get rid of some of the stuff so your house isn’t overcrowded.
- vs. 7 Everyone was fighting with everyone else for use of limited resources. Kind of like everyone in your family was fighting over the bathroom this morning.
- vs. 8-9 Abraham, in a very unselfish and uncovetous move allowed Lot the option of picking what portion of the land that he wanted for himself. Abraham, being the elder of Lot, had the right to tell Lot what to do and where to go, but he chose not to exercise that right. He was starting to understand that he didn’t need to be in control of his own life and his resources in order to have what he needed to provide for his family.
- vs. 10 Rather than just arbitrarily picking an area or doing a coin toss, Lot did a little land survey. He “looked and saw”. The area that he surveyed was the flatland around the Jordan river. It was well-watered. In his own mind, Lot considered that land to be so nice that he compared it to the two most fertile pieces of land that he could think of - the garden of Eden, and the land right around the Nile river in Egypt. Lot already knew what the rest of the land was like. Though it could support life, living on any other part of the land was going to require a lot more work and a lot more moving around so as not to eat up all the grass in any one place. Truly, if there was ever time that the grass was actually greener on the other side of the fence, this was that time.
- vs. 11 So Lot, being the wonderful nephew that he was, did the loving thing and took the land in the valley for himself. What he had was simply not enough. He wanted more, and he wanted to work as little as possible in order to achieve it.
- Vs. 12 When Lot got down into the valley, he discovered that the natural resources that were there, the land and the grass, were not the only things that were desirable about the area. There were two cities there – Sodom and Gomorrah. These two cities offered some things that Lot wanted. They offered persons to do business with so that he could increase his wealth. They offered entertainment. It gets boring being around sheep and other animals all day long. They offered prestige. After all, he was well off. The people of the city would show him respect and might even accept him as part of the movers and the shakers. And the city offered protection. Out in the field, Lot was unprotected from the raiding parties that might come through at any time. Inside the city, he would have the added protection of many persons standing together against a common foe. So for some or all of those reasons, Lot “pitched his tent” toward Sodom. He set up his tent in such a way that every morning when he woke up and walked out of his tent, the city of Sodom would be the first thing that he saw. That was his goal – to be a part of everything that city had to offer. He set his heart on Sodom – things of this earth – rather than setting his heart on God.