By Nick Bibile
Ex 20:17 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 word covet in English means, to desire earnestly, to desire with greediness, eager to obtain something, craving for something. The Greek goes beyond the English word as it can be broken into two.
We have been going through all the Ten Commandments and we have about 18 audiotapes on the series of the Ten Commandments, we have seen how in-depth these commandments are and how broad they are for our spiritual growth. The law shows the perfectness of God, the holiness of God and the law makes the sinner blush, ashamed, convicted and kneeling down before God saying, “I have sinned against you, have mercy upon me.” David said, “I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.” (Ps 119:96) There are many Christians who do not take note of this, as they do not see the broadness of the commandments, for them it is not important and they are like the rich young ruler who told Jesus about the commandments, “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” (Mat 19:20). But the Christian who is spiritually thirsty and hungry, the one that is growing spiritually, they will cry out and say “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Ps 119:18) They are the moral law that will show us what is sin, and the broadness of sin.
Roman Catholic church deleted the second commandment. As they are fond of image worshipping, as this commandment was an obstacle in their idol worship they took it off.
2. "Thou shalt not make to thee a graven thing (image), nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that in the waters under the earth: Thou shalt not adore (bow down to) them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." (Exo 20:4-5)
Now still they come up with 10 commandments, and how did they do? They took the tenth commandment and broke into two.
9. "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife."
10. "You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour."
This is the treachery of Rome, as they made covetousness into two. But apostle Paul refers to it with one word. “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Ro 7:7)
For us to understand coveteousness we need to understand about ourselves. Man is not self sufficient, how ever money you have, you can never satisfy yourself. Why? Man is an empty vessel and have a soul and a body, we are only capable of receiving something for our soul and for our body. We need to receive food, drink, clothing, air and light for our body. About the soul, God created man in his own image in the state of perfection. There was a perfect desire for God and it was directed toward right things in the right way as the soul was directed only toward God and man was continually satisfied. However when man sinned the desire still remained, but it was distorted and corrupted as there was no desire toward the Holy God of Heaven, man’s desire is for this world and for false gods. Man in his soul and body is greedy. Covetousness is written all over him, inside and outside, as he has violated all the other nine commandments in covetousness. It is the mother of sin.
Jesus exposed covetousness, and we need to take a lesson of our Lord’s words.
Lu 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
The world says, “if you have a desire in your heart, go for it, you deserve it.” Look at the advertisements and they are geared for our desires for our temptations and for our lusts. People are more concerned about this world than heaven. Their mind is focused upon this world, as their thoughts and meditations are of the world. They take much pain and labor by breaking sleep, sacrificing all their energy, money and time to gain this world than heaven. When they speak they speak all worldly things, as Jesus said, “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.” (Joh 3:31) The covetous man’s breath is the smell of a rotten man as he delights in this world.
Read Luke 12:22-31 many are not trusting in God’s providence, instead they act like the unbelievers worrying too much of tomorrow. Why they worry? Because their hearts are upon earthly things.
The covetous man have no time for the word of God, no time to pray as he has much worries in this world, like Martha, have no time to sit and study, the covetous man is always busy on earthly things. As his thoughts are earthly he is busy in his house, busy in his car, busy at work trying to make more money, busy in shopping, busy on the road, busy with friends, busy with family, he is busy, busy all the time and stressed out in the world. Jesus said, “beware of covetousness” The word ‘beware’ is in imperative verb to be and ware = wary, cautious, suspicious of danger.
Jesus said, the covetous man is a fool, as he said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” Why is he a fool? He does not realize this life is too short. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeared for a little time, and then vanished away. It is a subtle sin, a very deceiving sin. Why is it deceiving? It is a sin that wears a cloak. Cloak is an outer garment, to cover up with disguise.
1Th 2:5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:
This outer garment has many excuses for covetousness, many compromise and many flattering words to cover up. It is a very deceitful sin.
This is very dangerous sin. The covetous man does not live by faith in the word of God. People had heard many sermons but their hearts are rooted here on earth. . They hear the sermon then covetousness chains them to earth. The hearts are rooted to the earth. They say our hope is in God but their hearts are here buried in the earth, they cannot rise, as they are grounded not in the word of God but in the world.
Ec 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
The covetous man will covet things of the world, and will not covet things of heaven.
As we have seen in our previous studies in every commandment there is covetousness involved. Why there is covetousness? Because one person has it and the other person doesn’t, or the neighbor’s things looks more tempting than what I have. There is covetousness for neighbor’s possessions and also for neighbor’s status. Yes, there is a lust for power and authority. People covet for the better paying job or the most prestigious title. Millions today compete for the best job, the highest standing, for more authority and more power, more money, the best house, car and furniture. The list is endless I want to have his status, his authority and there is a desire for power. This is covetousness. We need to take a lesson from history. The great archangel who coveted position and power so much that he deceived many angles, apparently a third, against their Creator. He coveted God's throne in an attempt to establish his own sovereignty above his Maker. You can find part of the account in Isaiah 14:12-15. For his rebellion he was cast back down to the earth where, as the prince of the power of the air, he presently deceives the whole world. Eph. 2:2.
Mt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
There is a cost for discipleship, that cost is death to this world.
Apostle Paul said, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. (Php 3:7-8)
“The cross is laid on every Christian. It begins with the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death -- we give over our lives to death. Since this happens at the beginning of the Christian life, the cross can never be merely a tragic ending to an otherwise happy religious life. When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther's, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time -- death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at His call. That is why the rich young man was so loath to follow Jesus, for the cost of his following was the death of his will. In fact, every command of Jesus is a call to die, with all our affections and lusts. But we do not want to die, and therefore Jesus Christ and His call are necessarily our death and our life.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Cost of Discipleship)
Martine Luther gives an example where the old theologians have contrasted the living wood with dead and have allegorized that contrast this way. They said, if you see a living tree with nice fruits, you will be tempted to eat, but if you see a dead tree with no fruits you will not be tempted. This is the way the natural man see. From the living wood came sin and death; from the dead wood, righteousness and life. They conclude: do not eat from that living tree, or you will die, but it is difficult to enjoy eating from the dead tree. The living tree represents life on this earth, tempting, and enjoyment, while the dead tree represents suffering, and sorrow. The one who eats from the living tree is seeking life on earth. The one who eats from the dead tree is not looking for life here but dead towards the world. Jesus said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mt 10:39) Taking up the cross is by nature something that causes pain.
Contentment is to be satisfied in what you have, without complaining and grumbling.
1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Business trading is something to gain a profit. On the other hand Christianity is the worst trade to the natural man. Because you will not gain anything in this life, you will lose, but it is the best calling. It is a gainful calling. In contentment there is great gain. Because gaining Christ is the best thing that happened to us. Apostle Paul encouraged the church with his personal problems, and I want to encourage you, only God knows what we are going through. People look at us outwardly and we are happy, rejoicing in the Lord, but inwardly we are going through a lot of pain for the glory of God, we know what is a trial, hardship, difficulties, lack of food, hunger also we know by the grace of God to be content.
Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
Heb 13:5 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.
Need to be happy and live day to day and to be content in your present condition.
If we covet heaven more, we shall covet earth less.
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Our head Christ is in heaven, and our home is there. Our treasure is there. Our hope is there. Where our treasure is that is where our heart is going to be.