‘You shall not covet .... ’

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION/NEWS - [De­vo­tion by Randy Moll. Scrip­ture taken from the New King James Ver­sion®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nel­son. Used by per­mis­sion. All rights re­served.]

“You shall not covet your neigh­bor’s house; you shall not covet your neigh­bor’s wife, nor his male ser­vant, nor his fe­male ser­vant, nor his ox, nor his don­key, nor any­thing that is your neigh­bor’s.” Ex­o­dus 20:17; cf. Deuteron­omy 5:21

This com­mand­ment of the LORD teaches us that God re­quires not only out­ward ho­li­ness, but in­ward ho­li­ness as well. Not only are our ac­tions to be pure, but our thoughts and de­sires as well. Thus, we learn that we not only sin when we com­mit adul­tery or take our neigh­bor’s prop­erty or goods; we sin when we de­sire what be­longs to our neigh­bor and is not right­fully ours.

There­fore, we are not to covet or de­sire our neigh­bor’s house, his wife, his ser­vants or em­ploy­ees, his stock or any of his prop­erty. Rather, we are to trust in the LORD God and be sat­is­fied in Him and in that which He has given us.

The Bi­ble teaches us: “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own de­sires and en­ticed. Then, when de­sire has con­ceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15).

We may not re­al­ize it, but our hearts, as they are by na­ture, are filled with evil thoughts and de­sires. When we en­ter­tain these thoughts and de­sires, they grow and of­ten even lead to sin­ful words and ac­tions. Cf. Matthew 15:19.

This is why God warns against the sin of cov­etous­ness, for it is con­trary to God’s will and de­sire for us and leads to acts of dis­obe­di­ence and re­bel­lion. The Bi­ble is filled with ex­am­ples. David lusted after Bathsheba and took her, even com­mit­ting mur­der to cover up his sin of adul­tery. King Ahab cov­eted Naboth’s vine­yard and com­mit­ted mur­der to get it. Ju­das de­sired money and be­trayed Je­sus for thirty pieces of silver.

Rather than cov­et­ing, which leads to death, the LORD God would have us trust in Him and be sat­is­fied with what He gives us. The Bi­ble tells us: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own un­der­stand­ing; in all your ways ac­knowl­edge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6; cf. Psalm 37:3ff.).

From this com­mand­ment, we truly see that God com­mands and de­sires that we be holy as He is holy — in thoughts, de­sires, words and deeds (cf. Leviti­cus 19:2; Matthew 5:48). Though we have mis­er­ably failed to keep God’s holy com­mand­ments, Je­sus Christ, God’s only be­got­ten Son, has ful­filled them for us by liv­ing a holy life in thought, word and deed. He also went to the cross and there bore the full pun­ish­ment for our sins and the sins of the en­tire world that we might have God’s par­don and for­give­ness, and life ever­last­ing in heaven through faith in His name (cf. 1 John 1:5 – 2:2).

O dear­est Je­sus, for­give me for my evil thoughts and de­sires as well as for my sin­ful words and ac­tions. Cleanse my heart and give me a gen­uine de­sire to live for You. I ask this for the sake of your holy and pre­cious blood, shed for me upon the cross. Amen.

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