under a special agreement with
presents "Light from the Old Testament"
under a special agreement with
Lesson 6 (Part 3)
To covet means to have an extremely strong desire for something that belongs to someone else. You can covet a person's money or his possessions. You can covet a person's wife or husband. You can covet someone's position.
Coveting is an inward sin—a sin of the thought life. No one can tell if you break this commandment except you and God. God hates this sin. He says that no covetous person shall inherit the kingdom of God.
The sin of coveting often leads to other sins. A covetous person sees something and begins to desire it. When the opportunity comes, he steals it. David coveted another man's wife and this sin led to the sins of adultery and murder.
Coveting causes men to use God's appointed day of rest as a day to make money. In the Bible a person who covets money is called an "idolater" because he makes money his god. Jesus said,
"Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses." Luke 12:15
We consider stealing to be a great sin, but the Bible says far more about the sin of coveting than it does about the sin of stealing. In fact, the Bible lists coveting along with the worst sins imaginable.
God's Word says,
"Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind [homosexuals], nor thieves, nor coveteous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
One of the greatest hindrances to human happiness is that men covet what they cannot have. The child of God does not have to covet anything. God has given us everything in Christ. The Bible says, "All things are yours." (1 Corinthians 3:21)
One of the wonderful things about God's great salvation is that it has the power to set us free from desiring what we do not have.
* * *
After speaking the Ten Commandments, God quickly turned to an entirely different subject. He spoke to Moses of building an altar and offering the burnt offering.
The law speaks of a curse to those who do not keep it perfectly, but what was in the heart of God for His people was not a curse, but blessing. God said, "In all places where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you." (Exodus 20:24)
The secret of God's blessing for His people was the altar and the burnt offering. The burnt offering speaks of Christ, for it is by Christ and Christ alone that we can come to God. He is "the Lamb of God" who takes away the sin of the world.
In considering the Ten Commandments, we cannot help noticing how little there is in God's law about works to be done by man. There are only two commandments which tell us to do something—the fourth and the fifth.
The fourth commandment says, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." In the matter of keeping the Sabbath holy, God says, "You shall not do any work."
The fifth commandment says, "Honor your father and your mother." This is more of an attitude than it is of works.
The other eight commandments all begin with "You shall not…" These commandments show us something about the character of man. Man in his natural, unsaved condition is inclined to do every one of these things which are forbidden. If this were not true, there would have been no need for God to forbid them.
Every commandment is an expression of God's great love for us. God's laws protect our life, they protect our property, they protect our good name, and they protect the marriage relationship. Jesus summed up the whole law in two commandments:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39
In His holy law God is simply claiming His rights as God. When man was created, there was the proper relationship between God, the Creator, and man, the creature. Man loved his Creator and wanted to obey Him. But sin came in and ruined that relationship.
To bring man back to Himself, God sent His beloved Son into the world. He is the One who could say, "I delight to do Your will, O my God…Your law is within my heart." (Psalm 40:8) Christ came to be the Savior of the world, to give His life as a ransom for many.
Man's first step to blessing is to give God His rightful place as God. When we come to Him in repentance, trusting Christ as our Savior, we are born again.
The Bible says of believers,
"You are not in the flesh [in your natural, unsaved condition], but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." Romans 8:9
We are no longer "in the flesh"—in our natural, unsaved condition. We are "in the Spirit"—new persons in God's new creation. The Spirit of Christ is now dwelling in us. We now love God and we delight to do His will. God has brought us back to Himself!