Oh relax…I KNOW there are ten just as well as you do. Yet, some of us unknowingly (or perhaps knowingly) break one of these commandments on an almost regular basis. I can feel the spiritual eye rolls that I am getting right now, but give me a chance to explain! I have to stop and give credit to my husband for planting the general idea of this blog from one of the teachings that God gave him; after laying it before the Lord, and asking my husband’s permission I began this blog. So let’s start from the beginning:
First of all God informs us that it is He who brought us to freedom from bondage (Egypt): this lets us know that He means serious business in what He is about to say. Liken it to your Earthly father who is about to chastise you; he’ll say, “Boy (or girl), don’t you know I’m your daddy?” It’s a rhetorical question because we know who daddy is all the time. Then God begins to lay down the law. It’s pretty cut and dried so let’s review them. And probably what we think when reading or hearing them…
Read the “comments” with tongue in cheek please.
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me:Check! I don’t worship any gods beside the God of Jacob, Abraham and Isaac. My God is an awesome God, He reigns from Heaven above with wisdom, power and love, my God is an awesome God. I get it!
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: I’m good on this one too; I don’t even like graven images, especially that picture my Grandmama had on her wall!
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain: Hmm…does typing out “omg” count? Well I will repent for that one and watch myself for now on. Thank you Lord!
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy: Yes SIR, no one can take the Lord’s day from me. That is our time, and I can shop after church!
- Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee: Yeah, I got this one. I honor them all the time, it’s just that sometimes I’m busy so I send their calls to voicemail.
- Thou shalt not kill: This is a no-brainer. God knows I would never take someone’s life. I might pray that HE do it, but I never would.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery: Nope, never. I would have to be out of my mind to cheat on this prize that God blessed me with.
- Thou shalt not steal: A sticky fingers I am not. I am blessed with what God gave me!
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour: I’m glad that I Googled this one; nope I’m not a liar!
- 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: Uhhh hmm….
And there it is. The first nine commandments are pretty cut and dried; we can walk upright and observe God’s law, but when it comes to coveting it is almost like a secret sin because of all the others there is evidence, but to covet? Not so much. Of course the first thing we’ll say is, “None of my neighbors have anything that I want, I am quite content with what God has given me”, but is that the truth? How many times have you been riding down the street in your little beater and you see a BMW or Jaguar and you say, “Dang, that’s hot…I want that”? Or maybe it could be something simpler like your neighbors lush, green, beautiful grass and yours always has that brown look, so what do we do? Spend hundreds of dollars that we don’t have so that their yard doesn’t outshine ours. That’s covetous. Maybe someone can relate to this one; you hear a preacher who is enigmatic, charismatic and a wordsmith and you desire to preach, teach or exhort like him even to the point where you will practice being that way. Covetous. Let me make it a little more personal so that I don’t appear to be pointing fingers:
Years ago we were a little “credit challenged”, and we went out to a dealership close to closing to look at a used SUV. There was this little man there named “Henry”, and he told us to look at the new SUVs on the lot. My husband and I both joked about it, but we looked anyway and found one that we loved; this truck had 14 miles on it and was super sharp! Mr. Henry asked us if we liked it, and of course we said yes, but explained our credit deficiencies to him. He went to talk to his “manager”, then he came out like twenty minutes later and told us to take the truck home overnight and think about it while they worked on our credit. Y’all know we rolled outta there like runaway slaves LOL. The next day, sadly, we were resigned to the fact that we wouldn’t get approved for the loan, despite my husband’s good job and income, and were prepared to take it back. Mr. Henry called and told us to keep it, that the loan had been approved and that we just needed to come back in to sign the paperwork! We found out that Mr. Henry was a saved man, and had prayed on our behalf before going to the finance people…thank God for angels being everywhere! We knew that this was our blessing, and we were content…for a while…
A few years and a few miles later my husband’s boss invited all of their employees to come to a company outing at his lake house. My husband drove our faithful SUV, and when he got there the driveway was filled with luxury cars; Jaguars, BMWs, Volvos and Mercedes. It seemed that all of the employees drove luxury cars, except him. While there his boss told him that he was going to let him take over the payments on one of his Mercedes, because he really liked my husband and felt that he deserved it. Hubby knew that Mercedes had long been my “dream car”, and so he told him that he would think about it. A month or so later he came home and told me to get in the car because we were going to pick up the Mercedes; I did not believe him but went along for the ride. Long story short, we brought that Mercedes home two hours later. If you’re thinking that this too was a blessing, think again! You see, although he was walking in uprightness, Satan put in him a spirit of covetousness in the guise of “if they can have it, I deserve to have it too”, instead of being content in what God had already given us.
This is a wiley, crafty spirit and it can be so slick that we can desire to be as pretty or handsome as someone else (plastic surgery), or to want to dress as nicely as someone else or even to the point where you stop being satisfied with who YOU are because someone else seems to be much better or happier. A good example is Facebook; have you ever noticed that those who don’t follow Christ get 3,754 “likes” on a post, but you can post, “God is good…all the time” and you might get 2 likes and those are from your kids or spouse? LOL. Well to desire many “likes” is covetous, and a tad narcissistic. The final thing that I want to point out is that breaking the 10th commandment can also draw you into other sins because it can lead to envy, which can lead to theft or lying, and possibly murder. Beware of this secret sin!
“Well Sis. Pastorswife, Jesus’ grace covers the sins of the Ten Commandments, Paul said so.” Not so fast!
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
But are we to ignore the next verse?
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Let me put it in a different context. A murderer gets arrested and sentenced to death by a judge in Texas. The Texas governor is about to leave office and he pardons a few death row inmates, including the one who was accused and sentenced to death. Now, the law convicted him, the law sentenced him and the grace of the governor pardoned him. Is that person now free to go and murder all over again just because he got pardoned? God Forbid! It was grace that freed the prisoner, but it is the law that he must follow from that point on.
The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable (Isa. 42:21).
Perhaps you’re wondering what happened with our SUV and Mercedes? Well our true blessing was the SUV and because we didn’t honor the reasonable commitment that God required us to make, it ended up being repossessed; the Mercedes we kept for a while, but having it made us feel like we were in bondage (which we were), so we willingly gave it up and bought a different, much more reasonable minivan. Thank God for deliverance!
May you have a blessed and non-covetous week!