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November 24, 2011

Tenth Commandment – 11.24.2011

Filed under: Old and New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 12:28 pm

10th Commandment

by Adam Osborne, JR.

Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

1 Cor 6:9-10 (KJV) 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Exodus 20:17
• Covet – khaw-mad’ – A primitive root; to delight in: – beauty, greatly beloved, delectable thing, ( X great) delight, desire, goodly, lust, (be) pleasant (thing), precious (thing).


• Like we always do in this class, describe to me the ways and things that we can covet.
• What are the things that we covet, that are just going to be HARD, really HARD not to covet?
• What are things that we covet, that most of the time we don’t even think about it as covetousness?

Any more discussion on covetousness before we explore further?


Before we even start today, can someone tell me when the first recorded case of covetousness in the bible was?
• Eve, garden of Eden.

Gen 3:6-7 (NIV) When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

What was “different” about this tree? There were probably vast amounts of trees in Eden, what made this one different?
• Desirable for gaining wisdom

Let’s look at Genesis 3:1-5 and evaluate it:
Gen 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Let’s examine the LIE that the serpent told Eve, and let’s compare it to some of our temptations and see the similarities. What did Satan do here to tempt Eve?
• He told a great deal of truth combined with the element of untruth.
• The tree was not physically fatal to life, and the eating of it really issued in a knowledge of good and evil.
Isn’t that the way a lot of us are tempted in to sin? Isn’t there always a little bit of “truth” mixed in to a little bit of “untruth” that tempts us into sin? This is one of Satan’s favorite ways of deceiving us to sin.

ye shall be as gods. Notice the word “gods” here. Satan uses the Hebrew word <ʾelōhîm> — which is the same word used for the true, supreme being, the SUPREME GOD, Yaweh. Satan was trying to persuade our Adam and Eve that they should, by eating this fruit, become wise and powerful as God, (for knowledge is power), and be able to exist for ever, independently of him.

RESULT: Not trusting God, he uses his own will to seek happiness by, as a surer way, as men do now.
So, ok, covetousness is such a big deal that it made the Top 10, and if you had a computer program like mine, you can find all kinds of scriptures dealing with how “bad” coveting is. Let me ask you this, why is it such a BIG DEAL? Why is just “wanting something” such a big deal?
• Possible answer:
o Because it is “idolatry: Col 3:5 (NIV) Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
o But covetousness is the root of all sins of word or deed against our neighbor. James 1:14-15 (NIV) 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
o Lack of covetousness will prevent most public crimes; “If you do not covet other people’s stuff, then you will not steal, rob, kill, destroy, etc.”
o Because covetous people are never satisfied.
o He has other gods before him.
o He worships his gold or treasures, be sets his affection on it. Expects protection and security from it.Places his confidence in it.
o Because covetousness is telling God that “HE” is not good enough to fulfill your needs and desires.
o It tells God that we are not content with his provisions. It neglects divine Providence
o Let’s face it, it tells God that we want what will gratify OURSELVES, not what will serve God.


Let’s look at just a few verses that I thought were key for today’s lesson.

Our relationship with God.

This first verse MUST BE read in the KJV.
Psalms 10:3 (KJV) For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.

When talking about covetousness here, notice the scripture says “WHOM the Lord abhorreth.” Well, think about that, do you think you can be in “fellowship” with God when you are covetous? So, how would you get back in fellowship with God?

Our relationships with our family.

Prov 15:27 (NIV) A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live.

If the bible says that covetousness “will” bring trouble to a family, do that mean it “might”, or does it mean it “will”? Is there any way around this?

The more you get, the less you have. AND, give to the needy, not your rich friends

Prov 22:16 (NIV) He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich–both come to poverty.

When is “enough” enough?

Eccl 5:10 (NIV) Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.

Woe’s and Warnings to YOU!

Isaiah 5:8 (NIV)Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.

A wasted life, deserted and foolish

Jer 17:11 (NIV) Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means. When his life is half gone, they will desert him, and in the end he will prove to be a fool.

Are you rich, who are your friends?

Ezek 33:31 (NIV) My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.

Here’s the “answer” to it all……Here is the TRUTH for us believers.
Matt 6:19-21 (NIV) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew Henry Unabridged (reworded)
The tenth commandment strikes at the root:
• The preceding commands implicitly forbid all desire of doing that which will be an injury to our neighbour;
• this forbids all inordinate (excessive) desires of having that which will be a gratification to ourselves.
o “O that such a man’s house were mine! Such a man’s wife mine! Such a man’s estate mine!”

Basic Christianity, John Stott.
The tenth commandment is in some ways the most revealing of all. It turns the Decalogue (The Ten Commandments) from an outward legal code into an inward moral standard. The civil law cannot touch us for covetousness, but only for theft. For covetousness belongs to the inner life. It lurks in the heart and the mind. What lust is to adultery, and temper is to murder, that covetousness is to theft.

The particular things which we are not to covet and which are mentioned in the commandment are surprisingly modern. In the housing shortage there is much coveting of our neighbor’s house, and the divorce courts would not be so full if men did not covet their neighbor’s wife. “Covetness….is idolatry” wrote Paul, and by contrast, “There is great gain in godliness with contentment.”

Albert Barnes Commentary:
As the sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments forbid us to injure our neighbor in deed, the ninth forbids us to injure him in word, and the tenth, in thought. No human eye can see the coveting heart; it is witnessed only by him who possesses it and by Him to whom all things are naked and open.

Spiritual Preparation – Bible Reading for Families
Pray daily that God would give you a heart that says everyday “The Lord if my shepherd, I shall not want.” Pray that you would have a heart for the poor and needy and would take action to give rather than get.

Consider fasting from at least one meal this week and giving the cost of the meal to those in need.

Read these before reading Matthew 5:38-42 (below)
Exodus 21:24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

Leviticus 24:20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.

Deuteronomy 19:21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Matthew 5:38-42
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

For Teachers
Context and Commentary
In Exodus, God gives His people a stern and final warning which strikes at the root of the evil that dwells in man’s fallen heart. While other sins such as theft, murder, adultery, and blasphemy are outward, covetousness is a sin that dwells inside. It is a sin that lies at the root of the bad tree. From it grows all manner of outward sin. No wonder God completed His Ten Commandments with it!
In the New Testament, the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles echo this command. God’s people, who make up the church, are not covetous. Period. We are alive in Christ and dead to sin. Yet how is it that covetousness can creep into the church? We have an enemy who likes to use this particular sin on unprepared Christians to tear down the church of Jesus Christ. When Christians neglect to put on the armor of God (Eph. 6), we are vulnerable to the Devil’s flaming darts. We get lazy or slothful in our prayer or daily study of the Holy Scriptures and soon the prince of liars finds an opening and exploits it.
The armored Christian however will know God’s will, for it is plainly laid out in His word: “Give to the one who begs from you” (Matt 5:42), “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt 6:19-20), and to “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” to the feast of the kingdom of God (Luke 14:21).

John Calvin’s Commentary on the Harmony of the Three Gospels
Though the words of Christ, which are related by Matthew, appear to command us to give to all without discrimination, yet we gather a different meaning from Luke, who explains the whole matter more fully. First, it is certain, that it was the design of Christ to make his disciples generous, but not prodigals and it would be a foolish prodigality to scatter at random what the Lord has given us. Again, we see the rule which the Spirit lays down in another passage for liberality. Let us therefore hold, first, that Christ exhorts his disciples to be liberal and generous; and next, that the way of doing it is, not to think that they have discharged their duty when they have aided a few persons, but to study to be kind to all, and not to be weary of giving, so long as they have the means.
Besides, that no man may cavil (split hairs or quibble) at the words of Matthew, let us compare what is said by Luke. Christ affirms that when, in lending or doing other kind offices, we look to the mutual reward, and we perform no part of our duty to God. He thus draws a distinction between charity and carnal friendship. Ungodly men have no disinterested affection for each other, but only a mercenary regard: and thus, as Plato judiciously observes, every man draws on himself that affection which he entertains for others. But Christ demands from his own people disinterested beneficence, and bids them study to aid the poor, from whom nothing can be expected in return. We now see what it is, to have an open hand to petitioners. It is to be generously disposed to all who need our assistance, and who cannot return the favor.

Bible Fellowship Time
Discussion questions:

1. What is the purpose of the Ten Commandments?
2. What does God declare and reveal as a sin in the tenth commandment?
3. What specifically does he forbid the coveting of?
4. Are there some things that are good to covet? What are they?
5. What is this commandment’s relationship with the previous commandments?
Going Deeper – Matthew 5:40-42
40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

6. What is Jesus’ teaching on giving (v.42)?
7. Are Christians to be liberal or conservative in giving to those who ask or are in need? (Liberal)
8. Read Matthew 6:19-24. What does Jesus’ teaching in that passage say about a person that covets?
Matt 6:19-24 (NIV) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

9. If we have covetous eyes which are on our neighbor’s possessions, what does that say about our body?
10. What does it say potentially about our salvation?


Anybody who knows English comedy will recognize the television show Are you being served? It was a very famous sitcom from the 1980’s in the United Kingdom and made its name by being full of double entendre’s based on innuendo and parody of the British social caste system. It is about the exact opposite of the Christian walk that Christ taught his disciples. If Christianity was a TV show, it would more accurately be called Who are you serving? Christians are called upon to give to and serve God and our neighbor liberally and without thought of return on investment. Particularly Jesus points out those who ask. Who are those who normally ask? The poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. A covetous person seeks after his own fleeting treasures, while a generous Christian seeks after the needs of others out of compassion and a genuine gratefulness to Christ for his own liberal sacrifice on their behalf. Are you laying up treasure here or in heaven?

Who are you serving?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Closing Devotion

Thomas Manton

Let us be content with the portion God has given us of earthly things. God stands upon his sovereignty, and we must be content with God’s allowance, though he gives to others more and to you less; for God is supreme, and will not be controlled in the handing out of what is his own. The good man of the house pleaded, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?…Do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matt. 20:13-15) Though others have better trading, and finer apparel, and be more amply provided for than us, God is sovereign, and will give according to his pleasure, and you must be content. Nothing is deserved, and therefore certainly everything should be kindly taken. If a man is kept at another’s cost, we take it very ill if he murmurs and dislikes his diet. Certainly we are all maintained at a free cost, and, therefore, we should be content with whatever God will put into our hands. God in wisdom knows what is best for us. The shepherd and not the sheep chooses the pasture. Leave it to God to give what is suitable to your condition of life. God gives a portion as you are able to bear. Contentment itself is a gift of God and a great blessing. When our minds are suited to our condition, our earthly blessings are sweeter and more comfortable. Our happiness does not lie in abundance, but in contentment
(Luk 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.).
All spiritual miseries may be attributed to either a war between a man and his conscience, or a war between his affections and his condition. There may be just as much love in a lesser portion as in a greater. There is the same affection to a younger child, though he does have as large an allowance as his elder brother. The father loves him just as well. So a child of God may say “God loves me, though he has given another more than me.” Be content with what falls to your share in the gracious providence of God.

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