“You shall not covet your neighbor´s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17
Q: What is the tenth commandment?
A: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or anything that is his.
What does this mean?
Because we worship and love God, we shouldn’t desire to have the things that belong to other people, but instead, we should help them protect what is theirs.
Coveting is all about our desires. But are all desires wrong? Can you think of some desires that are good?
It’s good to desire to eat. If we didn’t, we would eventually die. It’s good to desire a place to live. No one wants to be homeless. It’s good to desire clothes to wear. Who wants to run around naked!?!
There are lots of good things to desire but most of all, God wants us to desire Him. God is greatly glorified when we desire Him over and above all these other things in the world. He wants us to find our greatest satisfaction in Him and Him alone.
When we covet, it’s like we are saying to God, “I want this thing more than I want You.” God knows that that will make us miserable in the end so He is so loving to tell us to be consumed with Him instead. God wants us to desire Him. Doesn’t it make sense that we should desire the greatest thing in the universe? Well, what is greater than God?
In this sense, coveting things that we don’t have is like eating a nasty, moldy cheeseburger that we found in the garbage can (Yuck!) when we could have a really tasty, fancy dinner of all our favorite foods! God doesn’t want us to settle for things that don’t last and are less than the best. God is the best! Let’s only settle for Him!
Read Psalm 73:24–26:
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
- According to the Psalmist, can anyone take God away from him?
- How do you think you could increase your desire for God?
- In what ways is God way better than all the things we are tempted to covet?
Our Father, thank You that You have given Yourself to us. May You be our greatest desire in all the world. We know that our desires are often disordered and sinful. Forgive us when we fail, and may Your glory be that which consumes us. Thank You for the cross and the empty tomb. In Jesus’ name, Amen.