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Let us begin our study on the tenth commandment by turning to Exodus 20:17
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's." Exodus 20:17.
To covet is to desire. Coveting is not stealing. It is not some outward act. It may lead to an outward act.
But coveting has to do with inward desires. This makes covetousness a state of mind, a condition of the heart.
Lucifer started it, coveting the position of Jesus, which led to war in heaven.
Eve coveted the forbidden fruit and introduced sin to our world.
The sons of God coveted the daughters of men, which eventually led to the flood.
David coveted another man's wife, which led to a divided kingdom.
Ahab coveted another man's vineyard.
Achan coveted a wedge of gold and some garments.
Pilate coveted Caesar's friendship, which led to the crucifixion of Christ.
Terrible were the results of all these covetous acts.
1. A covetous person will not sacrifice to help others.
2. Covetousness steals away resources from God's work.
3. A selfish person will not be fair with their fellowman.
4. Covetousness dries up human kindness. It dries up compassion towards human suffering.
5. It deadens the soul to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Covetousness is a serious matter:
A covetous person will not inherit the kingdom of God. See 1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
We are encouraged not to eat with covetous people. See 1 Cor. 5:11.
The opposite of covetousness or selfishness is love and contentment.
To covet is to take, and to love is to give.
Notice the close association between loving and giving.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
"Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor." Ephesians 5:1, 2
Life is not about how many people serve you, but how many people do you serve.
As Jesus said, "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
Discontentment is a form of covetousness. Lucifer coveted the position of Jesus. His covetousness led to jealousy, which led eventually to murder.
Why does Jesus hate discontentment? What does it do to us?
It sours the disposition.
Causes irritation among people.
Causes evil thoughts.
Discontentment can come from feeling that we have been mistreated or an injustice has taken place. But it can also come from seeing that others have more than us, or that others are treated better than I am.
Our circumstances may not be the best, but we are to make the best use of our time, talent, and resources.
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have, for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." 1 Timothy 6:6-8
God has not promised all that we want, but all that we need.
But we are never to be satisfied in our spiritual attainments, but are to aim ever higher.
We are never satisfied as long as people still suffer.
We are never satisfied as long as there remains someone who has not heard present truth.
We are to be content with such as we have, but not with what we are.
We want to be more like Jesus
We want to perform more kind acts and words in our life.
We want to give more Bible studies or minister in other ways to help people.
Another form of covetousness is envy.
"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrites, and envies, and all evil speakings." 1 Peter 2:1.
An envious man who wants all the credit is not fit for heaven.
No man is safe from this sin until he has learned to rejoice in the success of others.
Someone can become envious over another's success, even in ministry.
In closing it becomes very important for us to study deeper into each one of the commandments. After all, the Bible says, ". . . here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12.
If we truly want to receive the Holy Spirit as Jesus received the Spirit, then we must love what He loves and hate what He hates. We all need a careful and deep study of the Ten Commandments.
A life in perfect harmony with the commandments is the life of Christ, who sinned not. Not even by a thought did Jesus break the Ten Commandments. What a beautiful and perfect life.
His life of obedience to the commandments can become our own as we surrender our weak and wavering will to His perfect and sanctified will. So let each one of us spend time studying the perfect life of Christ and His perfect law that we may learn to love what He loves and hate what He hates.
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