(Exodus 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 first nine commandments are sins that are committed outwardly but this tenth commandment is committed inwardly. The first nine focus on our actions – this one focuses on our attitude. The first nine look at our deeds; this one looks our desire. The first nine are mainly visible – this one is invisible. It is the sin of covetousness.
- DEFINITION OF COVETOUSNESS
The Bible defines covetousness as “selfishness.” The word covet is made up of two Greek words when put together mean, “an excessive desire for something you do not have or the envious desire for something that someone else has. Covetousness has been described as the mother of all sins because this commandment causes us to break all the other nine commandments. Covetousness leads to the breaking of the first commandment, the making of gold our god. (Colossians 3:5), says that “…covetousness…is idolatry.” Covetousness leads to breaking the second commandment in that it leads us to bow down to an image; perhaps an image of gold. Covetousness leads to breaking the third commandment in that it causes us to take the name of God in vain. In (II. Samuel 15:7), Abaslom the son of David took God’s name in vain by saying that he was going to pay a vow unto the Lord that he never vowed but was plotting to overthrow David as king because he coveted the crown. Covetousness leads to breaking the fourth commandment that leads us to not keeping the Sabbath day holy. The Sabbath was Saturday in the Old Testament for the Jews in which they worshipped. In the New Testament, the church worships on the first day, Sunday. And it is greed and covetousness that causes people to work seven days and not attend the church. Covetousness leads to breaking the fifth commandment that leads to not honoring our parents. The prodigal son in (Luke 16), left demanded to have his inheritance and left home because his covetousness. Covetousness leads to breaking the sixth commandment, not killing (murder). In (I. Kings 21:4), we read the story of how Naboth was killed because King Ahab coveted his vineyard. Covetousness leads to the breaking of the seventh commandment, not committing adultery. King David in (II. Samuel 11), committed adultery with Bathsheba, another man’s wife because of covetousness. Covetousness leads to the breaking of the eighth Commandment, not stealing. In the book of Joshua, we read that Achan committed a trespass against God because he coveted gold as Jericho and hid it in his tent. Covetousness leads to the breaking of the ninth commandment, not bearing false witness/lying. Covetousness is the mother of all sins.
- DEFILEMENT OF COVETOUSNESS
Covetousness makes us greedy of gain and makes us grab another’s wealth. When we are constantly going after what someone else has that we do not have, it defiles our heart and dominates our lives by making us slaves to the things we want. When this happens, we will be guilty of placing the Lord in second place in our lives. There is nothing wrong in possessing things, but we fall into sin when things begin to possess us. When we allow things to supersede God in our lives, then we are guilty of idolatry.
- DEFEATING OF COVETOUSNESS
Covetousness can be defeated in our lives in four ways. Firstly, there is a Conversation that we are going to have to Prevent. Don’t get in a discussion with the devil; this is what Eve did in the garden that got her and the whole human race in trouble. Secondly, there is a Charity that we are going to have to Perform. (Luke 6:38a), “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom…” Learn to be a giver. Thirdly, there is a Confidence that we are going to have to Place. (Matthew 6:33), “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Always put God first in your life and trust Him to supply all your needs. Fourthly, there is a Contentment that we are going to have to Possess. (Hebrews 13:5), “Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things at ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” This commandment is something that we either learn in this life or we will learn it in death. It has well been said, “A child is born with a grasping hand, but we die with our hands open.”
Pastor Allen Jackson