Summary: The ten commandments are the law of God but so often we forget the tenth because we cannot see when others break it. Yet it is the cause for breaking many of the others
The title of this message is the “The Tenth Commandment” Under the theme “One’s life does not consists in the abundance of possession”. Prayer
The tenth commandment is found in the book of Exodus 20:17
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife,
nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that
is thy neighbour's.
The tenth commandment is the last commandment written by God in the decalogue. However, that does not make it any less binding than the other nine. James 2: 10-12
Jas 2:10-12 (KJV)
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
In other words, all the commandments are equally important, from the first to the last. None is greater than the other. All are equally important.
The emphasis in the ten commandments is on doing. From commandment one to commandment nine. However, the tenth commandment is different, it focuses on the mind, the thinking, the unseeable. That makes it the most advanced commandment of the ten. These people were accustomed to laws based on doing, to have a law based on thinking was beyond their time.
The breaking of it is not easily observed by others therefore it is often ignored by the majority. Yet it is the bedrock upon which many of our other sins are built.
In fact, one writer states:
The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to God's law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another, will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow-creatures.8 Ellen G
This commandment speaks volumes about God and man. Men may judge you on the merits of the other commandments because they can witness them being broken but only God can judge you on this one. This then illustrates that God is able to read our thoughts or otherwise who will judge us.
It also demonstrates that man is not a mere slave to his passions and his natural desires, but he has the ability to control these passions and desires and bring them into subjection.
We are able to mould our feeling and shape our character, it is not left to fate or society to do so. It is God’s desire that we should not be just content with the controlling of our actions and words but that we should focus on the root and control our thoughts.
Paul in his letter to the Philipians the 4chp. And 8 verse makes it clear that our thoughts must be under our control.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
He describes covetousness in his lessons to the Ephesians as one of the worst sins as far as the Jews are concerned. He likened it to idolatry Eph. 5:5
For this you know that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (NKJV).
The question that must be asked, is , what does the expression “to covet mean”.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary describes it “ to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another.”
The Cambridge Dictionary states “to want to have something very much, especially something that belongs to someone else:”
The collins Dictionary state “to wish, long, or crave for (something, esp the property of another person).”
I especially like the word to crave. I believe it captures the sentiment of what I am trying to convey. There is a story of a King who coveted a vineyard. Let us turn to this story, it is in 1Kgs. 21:
1(1Kgs 21:1-2 [KJV])
And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
The story begins by introducing us to two of the main characters, the king and Naboth. Naboth owes the vineyard. Despite the vast possessions of the king, he looked upon the Naboth vineyard and desired it. He therefore sought to purchase it at a fair price.