Summary: We are created by God with these insatiable desires and yet He prohibits us from coveting.
Central Christian Church
St Petersburg, Florida
January 16th 2003
“No Coveting” Ex. 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.”
Covet signifies a desire or longing after, in order to enjoy as your own the person or thing coveted. Anyone breaks this command who by any means endeavors to deprive a man of his house or property; who lusts after someone else’s husband or wife, and endeavors to ingratiate himself into his or her affections, and to lessen the spouse whom they should esteem; coveting is endeavoring to possess for ourselves anything that belongs to another in any clandestine or unjustifiable manner.
“DO NOT COVET is a most excellent moral precept, the observance of which will prevent all public crimes; for he who feels the force of the law that prohibits the inordinate desire of any thing that is the property of another, can never make a breach in the peace of society by an act of wrong doing to any its members.” Up to this point, in our studies we have been dealing mostly with outward acts, murder, stealing, adultery, etc. Now, we are commanded to control our feelings, our desires, that basic human drive to go to Burger king and have it ______ _____. When the way we want it drives us, then all sorts of evil things happen. First, the Devil becomes our daddy, because when we serve self, by being driven to get it our way;we serve the devil and he is our daddy. Secondly, there are quarrels and divisions among us and we remain immature Christians, because we want what we cannot have.
The Hebrew word for covet has these two meanings: 1. Strongly desiring something. 2 That does not belong to me.
It is a “good thing” to strongly desire traits of another person who imitates Christ. We are taught by Paul to imitate him as he imitated Christ. But it is sin to desire something that truly belongs solely to someone else and use whatever dishonest, dishonorable conniving schemes and plans we have to get it.
Unfortunately, this attitude has driven America for several years that the end justifies the means. Even if the end can be perceived to be good, obtaining it through manipulation, dishonest schemes or any other ungodly way can never make it right or result in God’s best for our lives, simply because the method used to achieve the goal was not God’s way.
The problem with sin is this- no one does it in isolation. A little bit of sinful yeast can and does affect the whole batch.
The Bible teaches that it is our good deeds that should be done secretly. We are not to let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. If we point out our good deeds so that we may be exalted that will be the only reward we ever receive and our eternal treasures the rewards we would have received someday in heaven will be forfeited.
On the other hand the Bible teaches that those things we do that are sinful need to be brought into the light. We should confess our sins to one another and pray for each other, because the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective.
Unfortunately, this is not how we live in the church today, we cover up our sins and transgressions and we tell everybody about how good we are and what we have accomplished.The fact remains that nothing done in deed or secretly in our hearts escapes the mind of God.
Do you remember Ananias and Sapphira? They were two who covered up the truth about the proceeds from a parcel of land they sold. It didn’t work out well for them!
Or let us look at Achan again; the battle of Jericho was a remarkable victory, Ai, which was an Amorite town and the next target would be a snap compared to Jericho. Yet at Ai Joshua’s army was pushed back and defeated. Joshua questioned, “how could this happen?” Well, one of the soldiers (Achan) took what he was forbidden to take, Achan said,” I saw these things and I coveted them."
If we are coveting and hiding it, if we are covering up any sin we put our church and our families in danger of God’s consequences.
If we allow Christian’s to sin, if we turn a blind eye to sinful behavior in our churches if we do not rebuke and correct each other, we actually facilitate sinning and sin whether covet ness’ or anything else will let the Devil in the door, bring defeat and have consequences for the entire congregation.
The point is we never sin in isolation; it has far greater ramifications that just what it does to us. Even though the sin of coveting is usually hidden in the deeper recesses of our spirit, it does not go unnoticed to God.The world says,”Hey if it feels good and nobody knows about it, do it.” “Two consenting adults can do anything they want behind closed doors.” The Greek word for that type of thinking is “baloney.”