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Page 118

  • Covet - To strongly, eagerly, and discontentedly desire the talents, achievements, or possessions of others
  • How does the tenth commandment confirm the truth that the moral law is of divine, not of human, nature?


    But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

    - I Samuel 16:7


    Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

    - I John 2:15

    But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.

    - Ephesians 5:3

    For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.

    - II Timothy 3:2

    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



    God's tenth commandment states, "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" (Exodus 20:17). It forbids all forms of coveting or grieving over the possessions of others and discontentment with our own estate. This commandment requires a charitable spirit toward others and their talents and belongings, and full contentment with the portion God has given us in His providence.

    As the concluding commandment, the tenth clearly reveals the spirituality and divinity of God's law. The law is more than mere rules to regulate outward behavior. In forbidding coveting, God reveals that a person's sinful motives, intentions, and thoughts are condemnable as well as his sinful actions. In doing so, we can also recognize the divinity of the ten commandments. Only God can know, judge, and punish a person for his inner motives and thoughts; man cannot. Man's laws, therefore, only pertain to his outward words and actions; God's laws, however, relate to man's total being -his motives, intentions, desires, and thoughts, as well as his words and actions.

    Coveting reflects a worldly spirit. The heart and thoughts are taken up with getting more of that which "the world" turns to for happiness and contentment - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The worldly method of seeking happiness, however, will never produce true contentment. A person seeking his fulfillment in riches will never be "rich enough"; the one searching for happiness by earning various honors will never be "honored enough." He will always lack contentment; he will always be searching for more.

    We were created for a purpose - a purpose far nobler than that of trying to get more possessions, honors, and pleasures for ourselves. We were created to love God and others - to give, not to get. Due to sin, natural man is worldly, not spiritual. He tries to fill the void in his heart, caused by missing an infinite God, with finite things such as riches, honors, and pleasures. One cannot fill an infinite space with finite things; the unconverted never find true contentment. Only those who know and love the Lord can experience fulfillment. Apart from God, all people live a covetous life.

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