“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”18 When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.”
As we continue in our series “Relationship not Rules” we come to the 10th and final command “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” The literal meaning of the word “coveting” is “to pant after” – like my dog does when I eat potato chips or buttered popcorn!Coveting is a dissatisfaction and discontent with what God has provided and a longing desire for what He has forbidden to us. Why is converting so catastrophic, because nothing destroys peace in our lives like the myth of more. It ruins relationship because we make what we possess more important than people. We end up chasing after more instead of the Master. This last command reveals 2 hearts and 2 headings, a coveting or a controlled heart that will either lead us down the path of pain or one of Godliness and gain. The tenth commandment causes us to contend with the question, do I have a coveting heart or a controlled heart? My prayer as we conclude this series is that God would reveal our coveting hearts and replace them with controlled hearts.
- COVETING HEART
US advertisers spent $220 billion in 2018 because they know that they can make people want what they have. They make it look like everyone else has it and are now happy. The problem is that coveting puts our focus in the wrong place and on the wrong person. Exodus 10:17 reminds us that coveting is not confined just to people, personal relationships, possessions that make life easier or more prestigious, we can covet anything. 1 John 2:15 says: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”All these things that we can covert have one thing in common, they are all part of this life and they are temporary. They are a part of the world that we will leave behind when we die, they are earthly not eternal. So, the question we should be asking is not “What am I building here?” but “What am I sending on ahead into eternity?” Part of the problem for a lack of peace in our lives is that we are consumed with coveting, so we are never content. We need to investigate our own hearts, and deal with our destructive desire for more, because coveting is:
Coveting creates a barrier between us and others. Romans 13:9 says: “The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”Our attitude toward others should be one of love not lust, but it’s hard to love someone who is standing in the way of you getting what you think will bring you happiness and satisfied. Love is characterized by self-sacrifice not by self-gratification. Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn”. Instead of rejoicing with others a selfish covetous spirit causes us to get envious when our neighbor gets something we would want, like a new car or a raise at work. This same covetous spirit causes us to secretly rejoice inside when that new car that they just bought gets banged up in a fender-bender. Covetousness causes me to mourn when others rejoice and rejoice when they are mourning. It twists the truth in our lives, creating a spirit of competition and comparison rather than caring and cooperation. A loving spirit allows me to be glad when someone else is blessed because the focus does not rest on me but on relationship. At its root coveting corrupts relationship. In 2 Samuel 11:1-4 we read a very familiar story about coveting: “In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.2 Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. 3 He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home.”David didn’t just covet the wife of one of his greatest warriors he corrupted her. David should have been at war but instead of fighting the good fight of faith David choose to feed his flesh. Instead of leading he was being lazy. Let me ask you are you leading or being lazy? Because a lazy life leads to a lusting life. We start focusing on the flesh and what others have instead of what God has blessed us with. Most of us know the end of this story. Bathsheba got pregnant so David tried to coverup his sin by bringing her husband home from battle and sending him home that way it would look her husband got her pregnant. ButUriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. Because he knew that the Ark and the army’s of Israel were living in tents out on the field of battle. David even tried to get him drunk! But when that didn’t work David had him killed in battle and took Bathsheba to be his wife making everyone think he was the benevolent king. Look how quickly his sin snowballed out of control. His lusting didn’t just result in lies but cost people their lives. But where did the problem start? Coveting, and instead of confessing his coveting heart he tried to cover it up. What about you is there any coveting present in your life?