Summary: The SIN of covetousness, The SOURCE of covetousness, The SORROW of covetousness...and the cure! Link included to Formatted Text Version and PowerPoint Template.

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Grasping for More

Exodus 20:17

Covetousness is the mother of all sins. All 9 of the previous commandments are rooted in it.

It is an excessive desire for something you don’t have. There’s nothing wrong w/ wanting certain things, like something better for your family, etc. But this is an excessive desire that compromises convictions to gain something you want. It is also an envious desire for what someone else has...desiring what they have to be yours.

The other commandments deal w/ actions, but this one with attitude. The others are about behavior, but this one is about our mind. “Don’t Steal” says keep your hands off. “Don’t Covet” says don’t even think about it!

It is the mother of the other 9 sins in the commandments:

No other gods = the covetous worships the gods of money and materialism

No idols = the bow before things that they possess

[man worshipped his sports car / let his wife drive it one day / that nite she told him it wouldn’t run because there was water in the carburetor / he said, you don’t know the carburetor from the tail pipe...where is the car? / in the neighbor’s swimming pool!]

God’s Name in vain = wars are waged because people coveted land or power

Sabbath Day = stores are open on Sunday because it’s one of the biggest shopping days of the’s all about money.

Honor Parents = children steal from their parents, or dishonor their parents who have passed by fighting over inheritance

Don’t kill = many are killed every day by someone who wanted what they had.

Adultery = this always begins w/ covetousness, wanting the spouse of another.

Don’t Steal = this is obvious

Don’t Lie = usually this is done for personal gain of some kind. Maybe a bribe on the witness stand, or maybe to try to get out of a jam, wanting a different reality than you’ve made for yourself.

The dictionary definition of “covetousness” is “grasping for more.”

This is the sin of selfishness. You’re never content. Dr. Lee Roberson calls this, “An ancient sin dogging the steps of modern man.”

A story is told of a peasant who murmured to a giant landholder of the

unfairness of it all. Knowing the nature of men, the landholder promised to give the peasant all the land he could walk around in a whole day. The

peasant, greedily trying to take in all the area possible, overexerted himself and dropped with a heart attack and died. He ended up with nothing.

I would like for us to notice three things about covetousness:


{(What Is It?)}

In the first chapter of Romans, Paul tells us that the wrath of God is

revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. He tells us that men are filled with all manner of wickedness and corruption. Then he lists some sins. Among the many foul sins listed, covetousness is near the top.

Achan, the man who brought judgment upon Joshua’s army, committed this sin. The Lord told Joshua to destroy Jericho after the walls fell down flat.

He warned him that all the gold, all the silver and all the spoils of battle

were His. Achan saw the wedge of gold, the 200 shekels of silver and the

goodly Babylonian garments. He began to covet them, and he took them. He stole the “accursed thing” (see Josh. 7:15). Achan could not help what he saw, but he could help what he coveted and what he stole. Then he tried to hide what he had done.

The outcome of this story is one of the saddest in the Bible: “And all

Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones” (Josh. 7:25).

He saw, he coveted, he took, and he hid. First there’s desire, then deed, then deception. It happened the same way for David w/ Bathsheba. He saw her, wanted her, sent for her, then covered it up. And it happens the same today for you and me.

There is also the story in Luke’s Gospel of two fellows who were fighting

each other over an inheritance. Jesus said, “Take heed, and beware of

covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things

which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). Jesus then told of the rich man who talked about “my fruits,” “my barns,” “my good” and “my soul” (see Luke 12).

Luke 12:16-19

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

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Wayne Sibrava

commented on Dec 3, 2009

Thanks for the refreshing biblically researched and referenced thoughts!

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