Summary: What does it mean to covet? I want to thank Timothy Peck and Chris Talton for help with main points from their sermons on sermoncentral.
• Today we are concluding our series on the Ten Commandments. I hope that each of these messages has touched you in some way.
• The Tenth Command is one that I wish I would have understood when I was a young person.
• When I was a kid, my parents did a great job providing for my needs, but being the typical young person, at times that was not enough.
• The town in which I was raised was very affluent. We were in the middle class. I remember when I was in High School looking around at all of the kids who had new cars out on the school parking lot. I remember being jealous and envious of all the kids who were able to seemingly buy news clothing instead of washing what they had on.
• I remember feeling so cheated at times because I was not one of the kids who had the newest clothing or the nicest sports car on the school parking lot. I still remember the names of many of those kids with whom my jealousy and envy was directed at.
• My feelings opened the door for me to do some things I should not have done when I was young.
• I remember when I was a young adult having some of those feelings towards others in the factory. I remember being a young Christian struggling with wanting what my close Christian friend had. He always had the neatest and newest car. I remember being a young minister feeling envious of the other preachers who had their college degrees when I did not have mine. It took me a long time to get over this sin.
• As you look at the Ten Commandments, most of them are action oriented. We are told to do something or not to do something. The Tenth Command is one that goes down to the deeper level of what goes on in the mind.
• In Exodus 20:17 the Tenth Commandment says, “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."
• We are going to look at what it means to “covet”. Then we will look at why it is bad for us to covet and then we will finish up with ways to keep us from becoming a covetous person.
I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COVET?
• It is an inordinate desire to possess what belongs to another, usually tangible things. Coveting is not just wanting something, but it is wanting something at the expense of another.
• While the Hebrew word for “covet” can also be translated “to desire,” in the Tenth Commandment it means an ungoverned and selfish desire that threatens the basic rights of others. Coveting was sinful because it focused greedily on the property of a neighbor that was his share in the land God had promised His people. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
• It deals with trying to secure something illegitimately, something that is not yours. It also involves begrudging anther person for what they have.
• When you look at the command you do not see any prohibition against wanting to have a wife, or other possessions, but we are prohibited from wanting another person’s wife or property.
• It is not just wanting a house like your neighbors but it is wanting their house and harboring malice towards them because they have it.
• There is a subtle difference between coveting and greed. A greedy person just wants everything, they really hold no malice towards others; they just want it all for themselves.
• A woman said, “My daughter was ready to serve cake to the family when one of her children, Brian, said, "I want the biggest piece!" "Brian, it is not polite to ask for the biggest piece." Brian looked at the floor. "Well, then, how do you get it?"
• This sin manifests itself in the realm of the spousal relationships. A man or a woman sees a person who belongs to another person and they want them. If we desire something or someone who belongs to another, we are breaking this commandment. When we want something at the expense of another, we are guilty of coveting.
II. WHY IS IT BAD TO COVET?
• When I was younger, my focus was definitely not on God, it was on getting stuff and getting stuff that other people had. When we are focused on what other people have and being upset over the fact they have it, our focus is not on God. The direction of our life is wrong.