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Summary: The final sermon; this one about how coveting moves us away from a healthy relationship with God.

Ten Commandments: Coveting

Exodus 20:1-17

July 5, 2009



How many of you remember when Hula-Hoops first came upon the scene?

The year was 1958 and they were the first really big fad to sweep through the U.S. Kids wanted one, but anyone who had a fun streak gave them a try. Between January and October of 1958, over 100 million Hula-Hoops were sold. Then sales plummeted. But Wham-O was ready, because they then introduced a flying disc called a frisbee.

Why did so many people want Hula-Hoops? Simply put, everyone else had one, it was the thing to have and do. The fact is, we want what everyone else wants.

Think about what has come out in the decades since the Hula-Hoop.


In the 60’s we needed lava lamps, mood rings, and bell bottom pants.


In the 70’s we had to have CB radios, play-doh and 8 tracks.


In the 80’s we couldn’t go without an Atari computer games, rubik’s cubes, Chia Pets and if you had a little girl in the mid - 80’s, you would wait in line to get a Cabbage Patch Doll.


In the 90’s we couldn’t wait to get Tickle Me Elmo, or Barney and friends, Beanie Babies, and if you were a real Christian we had to ask ourselves ‘what would Jesus do?’


In this decade, we’ve got to have our I-pods, Bratz dolls, low carb diets, Energy drinks and a different colored wrist bands to show we believe in or support something.

Why do so many of these fads catch on? Because we have to have what we think everybody else has. And all this stuff I just showed you was produced for the sake of making money and none was ever made because we needed it.

For the past 9 weeks, we’ve been looking at the 10 commandments and their relevancy for us in our lives. Today, we’re going to look at the last of the 10 commandments. In it’s entirety, the 10th commandment states,


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.

Okay, this seems pretty simple. I don’t want my neighbor’s home, his wife, their servants or their animals, so I’m safe. But I love the way God words His Word. God adds that last line, “or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” And that is what gets us.

So, what does it mean to covet? Coveting is not simply wanting what someone else has. It goes deeper and further - -


Coveting is an inordinate desire to possess what belongs to another person. It is to feel a blameworthy desire for another’s possessions. It is to wrongfully desire, without regard the rights of others.”

You see, when we covet we do not just want something; we want it at the expense of another. Coveting is sinful because it focuses on our greed, as we want what is not ours. We forget that all we have is a gift from God and when we covet another person’s possessions, we are wanting the blessings God has given to another person. A second aspect of coveting is that it deals with trying to secure something which is not yours. It also involves begrudging anther person for what they have.

In essence, when we covet we are justifying our actions. We are justifying that it is acceptable to feel no blame for lusting, craving, yearning and desiring what we do not have. This shows we really don’t care about the owner, we simply want what we want and we will do anything to get it. We will even go into debt to satisfy our wants. We aren’t concerned with our needs, it’s our desires and wants that lead us to covet. It’s an all consuming desire to have what we don’t or can’t have.

When we think of coveting, we can go all the way back to the days of Adam and Eve. The Hebrew word used for Eve’s desire for that piece of fruit offered to her by the serpent is the same word used in this passage. In other words, Eve coveted that fruit.

So, what’s the problem with coveting? Why isn’t it good for us?

When we covet it shows our heart is not focused where it should be focused. It means we’re moving in the wrong direction. When we covet something, we plot and plan ways to get what is not ours. We may not take our neighbor’s goods, instead we push ourselves to work more hours so we can get that new toy, or we make up our own rules so we can get what we want, or we hurt others so we can obtain our prized possession.

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