God’s Top 10 – How Did “Covet” Even Make the List?

mosesHeston2703_468x611So, most of us are familiar with the list. We’ve heard it read. We’ve seen the fiery finger of God write it on stone in the movies. Or we remember the flannel board stories in Sunday school.

Thou shalt not . . .

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me. (Totally makes sense – “Love only Me!”)
  2. You shall not make idols. (See number 1 – “Worship only Me!”)
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. (Watch your MOUTH. Respect and treat Me with reverence)
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (I needed rest – so do you!)
  5. Honor your father and your mother. (Show some RESPECT)
  6. You shall not murder. (Goes without saying)
  7. You shall not commit adultery. (You made a Vow, stupid)
  8. You shall not steal. (It doesn’t belong to you!)
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Don’t be lying about stuff – you have enough trouble with your life – don’t mess with others!)
  10. You shall not covet. (What? You mean if I look at what someone else has and want that for myself – that’s wrong? It made this list? Really?)

Let’s look deeper at number 10:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, his ski boat, his Beamer, his sail boat, his jet ski, his lake house or beach house . . . or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Okay, I expanded on that a bit. Feel free to fill in your own temptations – these are mine – get your own : )

So, where is God going with this and how can this be as bad as having another god or murdering someone?

First of all, let me be clear, I’m no Biblical scholar. I don’t read Hebrew or Greek, and, it’s been years since I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. But, I have read the Word for many years. I’ve studied under many amazing teachers and I believe in the priesthood of the believers (1 Peter 2:5-9)– meaning revelation is available to all who seek it (James 1:5). Recently while studying the Word for a talk I was giving to a men’s group I began to write about envy and coveting and how they can sometimes derail me. It usually comes with the accuser’s voice telling me how I’m not worthy of such things or how God must love them more. This is, of course, a complete lie AND, more importantly, a smokescreen that covers up the real problem with coveting and WHY it made “the list”.

Is it wrong for me to want nice things? Would it be evil for me to own a BMW or a lake house? Of course not! Those things aren’t even the point. As I looked at this I sensed that there was something I was missing – I just couldn’t put my finger on it, and then it dawned on me (cue the “still small voice” here). When I compare what God is doing in my life with what He “appears” to be doing in yours, or someone else’s life, I, in effect, reject Him as my loving Father and I reject His plan for me. In other words, I reject Him and His workings in my life BECAUSE I want what He’s doing in your life, and there is the rub. It’s the equivalent of when one of your children tells you that they wished they lived in “Joey’s Family” – because his parents aren’t as strict and he gets to do whatever he wants!

So, God, who demands our full attention; who jealously wants our complete worship; who created us because He wants to fellowship with us – cannot abide a child who selfishly stomps his foot and says, “I wish you weren’t my Dad!” And that, in effect is what we do when we covet our neighbor’s stuff.

Let me know what you think?

(Note: the interesting thing about this is that it applies to everyone. If you have little, you know many people who are doing better than you and you can take your pick. If you already have your lake house, however, you probably know someone with one that’s nicer or someone who has a lake house AND a beach house. It never stops!)

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