Summary: This last word in the ten commamdments is pointed directly at our heart. The first 9 discuss our actions this one discerns our heart. Here we have the source of our deeds the desires of our heart.
Intro: If you listen to the radio maybe you have heard SheDaisy a country group made up of sisters advertise the sleep number bed. They talk about their long days on tour and how much they love arriving home and sleeping on this bed that can be adjusted to the firmness you like in a mattress. How do they sell this mattress? They aim right at the heart of Americans. You deserve this bed. This goes right to the heart of man. What begins with deserving often turns into desire.
Why does this type of advertising work? We live today in a culture of consumerism. What does that mean? It means that many in America are driven by their appetites rather than by their will. Jesus warned us about his in Luke 12.15 “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed (covetousness in KJV) ; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Why does advertising work in the US that would not work in third world countries?
Listen to the wisdom of Will Rogers. “We spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t even like.”
Marketing departments are designed to make us want more. They direct their advertisements to the heart. This is the very thing that this commandment does it strikes directly at the heart. The first nine strike first at actions. This commandment strikes at our attitudes. The first nine speak to our deeds the tenth directly to our desires. Dr Jerry Vines said that this is the mother of all sins. For it is from the desires of our heart that the deeds of our hands spring fourth. If the desire of our heart is to please and glorify God then from our hands, mouth, feet will spring; love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, patience, faithfulness, and self-control. If the desires of our heart are selfish and sinful envying, immorality, impurity, sensuality, anger, dispute, etc. etc. . .
There is often an idea that as Christians we should have no desires. We should be plain ordinary and boring. There is nothing wrong with desire. There is something terribly wrong with desiring what someone else has. To desire what does not belong to you is coveting. God’s Word clearly says don’t covet.
I. The definition of coveting
What does it mean to Covet? It means to crave, to yearn, to hanker after something that does not belong to us. When we set our hearts on what does not rightfully belong to us we are coveting. It is desire. But it is misdirected desire. It is not wrong to desire to provide for your family, it is not wrong to desire to be the best you can be at work, it is not wrong for me to bring messages that challenge and grow you through God’s spirit, it is not wrong to desire the best education, etc for your children.
It is when we see others and what they have and begin to desire what they have as ours.
Our desire for food drives us to eat. Our desire for intimacy should drive us to marriage.
What others are and have should not be our yardstick of desire. When we compare ourselves to other and desire what they have listen to what James says this causes.
James 4.1,2 “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?
2You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.
What do we covet today? A larger TV, designer clothes, bigger houses, things from shopping networks, new this bigger that.
We are consumers, coveters at heart. Advertising works so well because we cannot keep the tenth commandment.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well, “Things are in the saddle and ride mankind.”
Look closely at Exodus 20.17 “or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
We are called to covet nothing, not some ones reputation, possessions, relationships, nothing.
II. The danger of coveting
Have you ever heard someone confess that they were a coveter? That is because many if not all don’t think it’s a big deal. What’s the big deal I’m just looking? It’s not as if I’m murdering, stealing, or lying. It is a mistake to minimize the evil of coveting. Mark 7.21,22 Jesus listed it right up there with theft, murder, and adultery.
Why is coveting so dangerous, when that desire drives you to sin. Genesis 3.6 the forbidden fruit was desirable for food to Eve. Joshua 7.21 Achan saw the cloak, silver and gold and coveted or desired it. All the things that were in AI were to be devoted to God!