Summary: God forbids coveting because it sets my heart on things of earth rather than on things of heaven. It removes our trust away from God & makes us discontent with what He has provided for our life. The Bible teaches us that we are to live a life that is cont
EXODUS 20: 17
THE TENTH WORD: SANCTIFY YOUR DESIRES
Today, we come to the last of the 10 Commandments. In these Laws of God governing our daily living here on earth, we have seen that God has a high standard that He expects His people to strive for in life. I trust that as we have moved along through these verses, that you have seen some area in your life maybe where you recognized the need for some correction and have made the efforts necessary to change, in order to come in line with God’s Word.
As God wraps up the list of His “Top 10" . . . what does He want to conclude with? “You shall not covet.” We all have ambitions... we all should have goals... Covetousness though is an excessive desire for something. There’s nothing wrong w/ wanting certain things, like something better for your family, a better job, education, etc. But coveting is an inordinate craving that eventually causes compromises of convictions in trying to obtain what you want. It is also an envious desire for what someone else has...desiring what they have to be yours. It is like greed in terms of the desire for more and like envy in terms of the desire for what someone else has.
....which reminds me of a joke. Did you hear the one about the guy who found a BOTTLE ON THE BEACH, and when he pulled out the cork, out popped a genie? The genie gave him 3 wishes, but said, “Be careful what you wish for– because who you envy most will receive twice as much as you do.” The guy wished for 5,000,000 dollars. *POOF* It appeared at his feet. At the same moment, miles away, 10 million appeared at the feet of who he envied most. Next he wished for the largest most exquisite diamond in the world. It appeared at his feet. But the man who he envied most got 2 of them. As the man realized how well his enemy was doing, he got more and more frustrated trying to think of what to wish for next. Finally, he turned to the Genie and said, “OK – I’m ready. Scare me half to death.”
Though it may be natural to desire things, even when they belong to others, when that inner desire that becomes inordinate or excessive it becomes coveting. Coveting then fuels our inward desires for what is not needed or wrong. God forbids coveting because it sets my heart on things of earth rather than on things of heaven (CIT). It removes our trust away from God and makes us discontent with what He has provided for our life. The Bible teaches us that we are to live a life that is content and trust God for all our needs.
Exodus 20: 17 states, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
I would like for us to notice three things about covetousness:
I. THE ONSLAUGHT OF COVETOUSNESS
II. THE OUTCOME OF COVETOUSNESS
III. THE OVERCOMING OF COVETOUSNESS
1ST, THE ONSLAUGHT OF COVETOUSNESS. (Where Does It Come From?)
Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness . . .” (Mark 7:21, 22). Ezekiel cried out, “...with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness” (Ezek. 33:31).
Covetousness is an inner desire that gets out of control. When we allow a covetous heart to dominate our lives, we will become slaves to the things that we want. When this happens, we will be guilty of placing the Lord in second place in our lives. There is nothing wrong in possessing things, but we fall into sin when things begin to possess us!
There is 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 crops,” “my barns,” “my good” and “my soul” (see Luke 12). 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. Jesus says, in Luke12:20, “’You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
Covetousness is a Deceiving Sin—usually the covetous person doesn’t know they are that way. It’s hidden within. Right now the covetous are thinking they really don’t need this message. Spurgeon said of the thousands he had seen saved he never heard someone say they were saved from the sin of covetousness. LaSalle, a famous priest of the middle ages, said this sin was never confessed to him.