Covetousness Which Is Idolatry
God even ties the 10th Commandment about not coveting to the Second Commandment against idolatry. When we put our greed and selfishness ahead of God, it can become idol worship.
The apostle Paul wrote: Therefore put to death your members which are on earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience .
Paul also made this comparison in his letter to the church in Ephesus: For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God .
Jesus Christ explained, No one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon . Worshipping wealth separates us from worshipping the true God.
When we covet, we give in to a toxic, selfish mind-set that leads to sin and death. Thankfully, the Bible identifies the cure as well as the disease.Thats why Jesus Christ also told us, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also .
Equal To All Other Commandments
Philos thinking here is reminiscent of the statement of R. Yakum , quoted in the 9th century C.E. midrashic work Pesikta Rabbati :
Rabbi Yakum says: To violate do not covet is tantamount to violating all ten commandments: do not covetI am
Following a rabbinic tradition in which a commandment from the second list is paired with a commandment from the first, Rabbi Yakum reads the tenth and the first together as if they state in a sentence do not covet Me. In other words, not only are social sins such as adultery and theft committed because the person desires what a fellow human possesses, but religious sins between humans and God, are committed because a person covets being God or having divine power/authority. If God is the master of the world, how can a person desire to have that which God did not give, or act in a way God does not permit?
This point was teased out by R. Yaakov Culi , in his Ladino commentary on the Torah, Me-Am Loez:
A person should contemplate somberly and reason with himself: God is the master of my fate, not I. If I deserve to own something, surely God will not withhold it from me. But if something is not destined to be mine, then all of my pains and efforts to acquire it will come to naught. So it is futile to pursue it.
Do Not Go To The Mall Just For Sales And Discounts
Most of the time, it never pays to buy stuff just because they are on sale or on credit. Sales are always designed to stimulate impulse purchases. Furniture stores and car dealers are always offering 0% financing deals . Heres the thing if you cannot pay in cash, you cannot afford it! Very often, I find myself tempted to buy something I would never have bought because it is on sale!.
Make use of sales, but do not let SALES MAKE USE OF YOU.
Earn The Right To Better Stuff
My son recently asked me if he could get a first base glove if he played first base in this Springs baseball! My answer was a firm NO. Once again, I had to explain to him that wearing a first base glove was not going to make him a better player. In fact, I told him that he had to earn the right to get one. That means lots of practice and if he gets into his high school or college team, then he would probably have earned his right to get the right gear.
Same goes to the grand piano example. If an aspiring pianist has made it and is a professional, then he or she has earned the right to get a grand piano. In fact, you would even say that it is a necessity then. If a college student has excellent grades and has a gotten a job with a top law firm or something equivalent, then he or she has probably earned the right to a slightly more expensive but stylish working attire. A chef probably has earned the right to good or even high end kitchen equipment because he will make use of them to the fullest. Ordinary folks like us who can hardly make a scramble egg properly should settle for the most affordable gear.
The Lxx Translation: Desire
The LXX translators of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 used the verb epithumeo , which the Greek English Lexicon of the Septuagint translates as to set ones heart upon, to long for, to desire. The Greek verb epithumeo is different than the English verb covet since it can be used for positive as well as negative desires. For example, before he is taken by the authorities, Jesus tells his disciples that he greatly desires to have the Passover feast with them .
The LXX translators used the term epithumeo for all coveting prohibitions in both versions of the Decalogue, i.e., as a translation of both the Hebrew root ×.×.× as well as the root ×.×.×, perhaps because it understood these Hebrew roots as synonyms. For this reason, readers interpreting the Greek Bible were likely to miss the specific connection between ×.×.× and taking.
Don’t Miss: What Does Bible Say About Vaccines
The Doubled Prohibition Of Coveting
The writers of the Torah were dead set in their opposition to coveting of this, at least, there can be no doubt. It is the only prohibition mentioned twice in the Decalogue and with an impressive list of interdicted items :
×Ö¹× ×ªÖ·×Ö°×Ö¹× ×ÖµÖ¼××ª ×¨Öµ×¢Ö¶×Ö¸
You shall not covet your neighbors house.
You shall not covet your neighbors wife, or his male or female slave, or his ox or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbors.
In MT Deuteronomy, the verb covet appears only once, and another term, crave or desire appears in the second prohibition :
You shall not covet your neighbors wife.
You shall not crave your neighbors house, or his field, or his male or female slave, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbors.
This doubled prohibition of coveting is so important in the Roman Catholic tradition that it views the above as two separate commandments instead of one.
Reasons Why The Sin Of Covetousness Is So Dangerous
1. You can begin to despise Gods blessings in your own life. When you become so consumed with what you dont have then you can begin to miss what you do have. You can despise Gods blessings because you are only interested in the next set of blessings and not thankful for the ones you already have. I know someone who is a pastor looking to grow his church. He is so consumed with getting his church to grow and move to the next level that he has missed and has no appreciation for where he is now. In effect, he has despised Gods current blessing, because he is only concerned about Gods future blessing. Lets learn to thank God in every situation and in every circumstance. As Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.
2. You can end up never satisfied. If you remember one of the definitions of covetous is an inordinate desire to get wealth. One of the problems with that is you can end up never satisfied with how much you have. Consider this verse.
Whoever loves money never has enough whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
Read Also: What Does The Bible Say About Refugees
How Does Coveting Affect Our Relationship With Others
Paul tells us that all commandments, including the commandment prohibiting coveting, can be summed up in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself . How is it that he can make the connection between coveting and loving our neighbor? Why does one inhibit the other?
We tend to believe that coveting is an isolated problem, affecting no one but ourselves. Yet, coveting, like all sins, disrupts our relationships and our ability to hold people within proper view. We are called to celebrate with one another , respect the position to which the Lord has called each of us , and acknowledge that we are merely stewards of resources that belong to the Lord .
When we covet, our attention turns from peoples divine purpose to their possessions or position.
We become distracted with their allotment in life their talents, their opportunities, and their stuff. We cannot be so foolish as to believe our thoughts dont affect our actions and words. If our thoughts are consumed in jealousy or idolatry, our actions and words will be affected. This is why Solomon tells us to guard our hearts, for the heart drives all we do .
Covetousness may begin inwardly, but it will manifest itself outwardly.
Why Did God Command Us Not To Covet
As Abraham Lincoln paced the floor amid the crying of his two young sons, a passing neighbor asked, Whats the matter with the boys?
Just whats the matter with the whole world, answered Lincoln. I have three walnuts, and each boy wants two.
Lincolns boys were stricken by a bug, says Avery, age 8: God commanded us not to covet because sometimes if you cant get it out of your head, it might bug you.
As Honest Abe discovered, the coveting bug disturbs the peace. If everyone in the whole world coveted, there would be no peace nor kindness throughout the world, says Sika, 9. Everyone would be whining and complaining about what other people have, adds Laura, 9.
You arent cool if you dont have this is the motivation behind a lot of coveting, says Taylor, 10.
Colton, 8, illustrates a better response to advertising: If you see a cool skateboard on television, you should not be mean to someone who has it.
This is easier said than done. Advertisers spend millions trying to convince us that we cant live without their products.
Courtney, 11, has the remedy. Instead of focusing on what we dont have, we should reflect on what we do have and be thankful for what Christ has given us.
Offering thanks to God is a major antidote against the coveting bug. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote: In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you .
You shouldnt set your sights on things on the Earth, but things above, says John, 11.
You May Like: What Does The Bible Say About Cremation Versus Burial
Romans : 713 The New International Version
7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, You shall not covet. 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
Romans : 713 The Holman Christian Standard Bible
7 What should we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, Do not covet.8 And sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind. For apart from the law sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life 10 and I died. The commandment that was meant for life resulted in death for me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.
13 Therefore, did what is good cause my death? Absolutely not! On the contrary, sin, in order to be recognized as sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment, sin might become sinful beyond measure.
You May Like: What Does The Bible Say About Protecting Yourself
The Ten Commandments Dont Forbid Coveting
In the original Hebrew, the Ten Commandments dont address coveting, so common renditions like do not covet or thou shalt not covet are mistranslations.
The Hebrew verb in the 10th commandment is chamad. As usual, we learn what the word means by looking at how it is used elsewhere.
The clearest case against covet is Exodus 34:24, which has to do with the three pilgrimage holidays, for which the Israelites would leave their homes and ascend to Jerusalem. Exodus 34:24 promises that no one will chamad the Israelites land when they leave for Jerusalem to appear before God.
It seems absurd to me to think that the Israelites were afraid that in leaving their land for a while, other people would desire it. After all, other people could desire the land whether or not the Israelites were around.
So its pretty clear that chamad doesnt mean covet or desire there.
In Deuteronomy 7:25, we see chamad in parallel with take:Do not chamad the silver and gold and take it Just from this context, the verb could mean covet, but other than our preconceptions of what the text should mean, we see nothing to suggest that translation.
Furthermore, the parallelism here suggests that chamad is like lakach. That is, to chamad is to take in some way, not to want in some way.
And in Proverbs 12:12, we see a pair of opposites: righteous and give versus wicked and chamad. So chamad seems to be the opposite of give.
What Does The Word Covet Mean In The Bible
. People also ask, is covet and jealousy the same?
Here is a brief definition of each before we get into a lager discussion of these. Jealousy – The fear of losing something that you feel already belongs to you. Covetousness – The desire of that which is not yours and currently unattainable as it belongs to someone else or lies outside your ability to get.
Subsequently, question is, what does Revilers mean in the Bible? To revile is to criticize in an abusive or hostile way, or to spread negative information about. When you verbally attack someone and call him names and say mean things, this is an example of a time when you revile. YourDictionary definition and usage example.
In this regard, what is the difference between covet and desire?
As verbs the difference between desire and covetis that desire is more formal or stronger word for want while covet is to wish for with eagerness to desire possession of, often enviously.
Is wanting something coveting?
The first definition, to wish for earnestly, is where most people get off track. Earnestly means: strongly or with great emotion. Thus, many people think that if you see something that belongs to your neighbor, or anyone else for that matter, and you want the same for yourself very, very badly, you are then coveting.
Read Also: What Does The Bible Say About The Vaccine
Romans : 713 1890 Darby Bible
7 What shall we say then? is the law sin? Far be the thought. But I had not known sin, unless by law: for I had not had conscience also of lust unless the law had said, Thou shalt not lust 8 but sin, getting a point of attack by the commandment, wrought in me every lust for without law sin was dead. 9 But I was alive without law once but the commandment having come, sin revived, but I died. 10 And the commandment, which was for life, was found, as to me, itself to be unto death: 11 for sin, getting a point of attack by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12 So that the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Did then that which is good become death to me? Far be the thought. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death to me by that which is good in order that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
Buy Only What You Need
The first concept I thought was that we should only buy what we need. This sounds ridiculously simple but the concept is easily violated. Heres a few examples. My kids have lots of soft toys . By the way, weve stopped buying stuff when going to such places. Last year, my son says he wanted a baseball batting glove . Well, he hardly had a hit the whole season, though his team won the championship. My son also keeps wanting to buy new soccer balls.
In these examples, you can see that we buy things we simply do not need at the end of the day. So, heres rule #1: Buy only what you need. Not more, not less.
Also Check: What Does God Say About Abusive Relationships