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You Shall Not Covet

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We often think a lot more about the "big" sins and the more well known commandments of God, but this one commandment, "you shall NOT covet", covers the whole list!

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Start off telling everyone of the blessing of being at Belmont Church in Nashville, last Sunday. AND THANK DESIRAE FOR AWESOME WORD THAT SHE GAVE!

Let me start off by asking all of you here, as well as those who might be watching live right now, a question. “Do you feel happy and content in your life right now?”

If you said “yes”, why did you say yes? Is your answer based upon a recent change in circumstances? And if that is the case, and circumstances where to change again, do you feel that you would continue with your feeling of happiness and contentment in your life?
And if you said “no”, what would it take to make you happier and more content in your life right now?
I read a report yesterday, called the World Happiness Report, that is done in conjunction with the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness.
This report is a glimpse into the happiness status of 156 countries around the world.
Finland, being at the top of the list, along with Denmark and Norway, as the top three slots.
America, has been on the decline annually on this report and is now reported as being number 19 on the list!
We have dropped 6 slots on this list in the last 3 three years alone!
A nation that is, once again, increasing economically and is and has always been a world power and a hallmark for opportunity and freedom for its individuals and yet we are declining in this area called “happiness”, according to a annual report taken from around the globe?
Why is this? How is it that a nation that has everything pertaining to prosperity and wealth and opportunity that is available to pretty much every citizen, still is declining in the area of national/individual, HAPPINESS?
It would make more sense if we were a nation that struggled in every way economically and that education and personal financial growth, was limited to only a certain group or class.
But, historically, this nation has always been blessed with affording those who desire to work and further themselves, with increase and prosperity, in varying degrees.
And yet, American’s measure of happiness is decreasing!
Now before we get into the full message this morning, let me say this in response to this statistic on our nation’s “happiness” rating.
What we are seeing happening right now, in this nation, cannot be answered or summed up in this one message. We are witnessing something that is a gradual and continual process that has been taking place for decades in this nation!
And so, having said that, what I am speaking on this morning, is what I would call the match that was lit and that started the raging fire that is consuming millions of American’s lives right now!
The very thing that we were blessed with, was allowed to become the very thing that is wrecking lives and homes and churches all across this nation.........OUR PROSPERITY!
We were a wealthy and prosperous nation that grew into the pinnacle of prosperity and power and security and thus became iconic and most desired of other nations from around the world!
And in the middle of all of our prosperity and comfort and power, we made the mistake that children Israel made thousands of years ago, in the Old Testament.
We breached numbers 1 and 10 of the law and everything in between came with it!
And specifically we breached number 10, in every way possible!

Now before I explain what I mean by breaching numbers 1 and 10, I want to read a passage from the book of Psalms, that I actually shared in a Facebook posting a few weeks ago.

If you would, please turn with me in your Bibles, to the book of , and we will begin reading from there.
Psalm 37:1–29 NLT
1 Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. 2 For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. 3 Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. 5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. 6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. 7 Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. 8 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm. 9 For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. 10 Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. 11 The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity. 12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. 13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming. 14 The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right. 15 But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. 16 It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. 17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly. 18 Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. 19 They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough. 20 But the wicked will die. The Lord’s enemies are like flowers in a field— they will disappear like smoke. 21 The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers. 22 Those the Lord blesses will possess the land, but those he curses will die. 23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. 24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. 25 Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. 26 The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing. 27 Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die. 29 The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.
(I know that some people think, “Do you really want us to stand the whole time that you read all 29 verses?”)
Which, by the way, takes me about 2.30 minutes to read through, aloud.
Let me say this to you. In 1997, Garth Brooks put on a record show in Central Park, in New York, where he played before an estimated 900,000 fans!
Psalm 37:4–6 ESV
4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
And those fans rose to their feet and screamed and yelled and sang along for his monstrous hit, Friends in Low Places, which lasts for some 4.5 minutes.
Over 900,000 people standing for over 4.5 minutes, to sing a country western song, which has nothing to do with glorifying Yahweh.
So, if 900,000 people stood and sang in honor and celebration of a man, then I say most definitely to you this morning, YES, I would like for us to stand in honor and recognition of the fact that the words of your great God and savior are getting ready to be read aloud!
If you have it now, , then follow along with me please. I am reading from the ESV this morning.
Psalm 37:1–29 ESV
1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. 12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; 15 their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; 19 they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. 20 But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. 21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; 22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 26 He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. 27 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.
Thank you and you may be seated!
Now the video that I posted a few weeks ago and the part of this passage that I commented on then, I want to focus on right now.
“4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”
This passage has been used soooooo many times to express the understanding of, “whatever you want, whatever you desire, that is what God wants to give to you”, right?
I mean how many of you have ever heard that part of the passage, “God gives us the desires of our hearts?”
But like I mentioned in that video, look at the ENTIRE passage around that phrase and then you will begin to gain the understanding of what David was saying here, in this Psalm.
To “delight” yourself in the Lord, basically means this.
It means that you find your greatest sense of fulfillment of, your greatest amount of JOY in and your truest sense of pleasure, while being in the Lord and His presence.
Committing your ways to the Lord and delighting yourself in the Lord, means that you find your greatest fulfillment and joy in doing the will of God for you and your life!
If that is the “desire of your heart”, doing the will of God for your and your life, then YES, most definitely, He will give you the desire of your heart, because it is His perfect will for your life!
Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Entrust everything of your life into the hands of almighty God and do not try to do it of your own accord and he will place you on the path that you need to be on for success in spreading the gospel message!
The problem that mankind and many people of this nation have run into, is the area of the DESIRES of our hearts!
We have “desires” for things that run counter to the Will and the Word of God and many times over, we do not even know it, or recognize the fault in it!
And it is here, with these “desires” that I will park for a little bit this morning and expand on another passage in the Bible.

I mentioned a few minutes ago, in my opening about the decrease in happiness of Americans and of how we have breached numbers 1 and 10; especially number 10. Here is what I mean. Turn with me in your Bibles to ,

Exodus 20:1–17 ESV
1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “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.”
Does everyone recognize these verses and what they are dealing with?
These are the Ten commandments that God gave to us for our lives.
And this morning, I am not going into all of them, but rather, I am focusing on the first and last one, with the primary focus on the last one.
These commandments, are what I was referring to when I said that we had breached or broken numbers 1 and 10 of the law.
The first commandment that God gave was that we are to have NO other gods before Him.
Yahweh is the one TRUE GOD and as His children, we are not to worship or give honor to any other, or any of our devotion to anything or anyone else, above Him.
We are not to instill our praise and worship into anything or anyone other than God and we are not make images with which we worship and place our devotion and our praise!
This is the second commandment, which accentuates and builds off of the 1st.
Do not be surprised that in churches all over the nation today and around the world, people worship symbols and objects in the churches. (communion tables ,cups, and even the cross itself. Remind of Nehushtan.)
In the ancient civilizations and in times of idol worship, people would paint themselves up and wear different decorations to adorn themselves, they would yell and dance and chant to work themselves up into a frenzy. They would dance before their idols and scream out their god’s names. They built huge monuments and buildings for their gods to worship them in them.
We still worship our idols, we just look at them differently. God, however, doesn’t!
Anything and anyone that we set before Him in our lives, becomes our idol!
Our jobs, our hobbies, our relationships with others, our money, our cars, etc., these all can become gods/idols in our lives, because they take precedence over our relationship with Yahweh!
And most people do not even take notice that these things have taken root in their lives and become idols that are served, rather than God and that their love and loyalty and attention, has become pledged to these new gods.
But make no mistake, they are idols in our lives none the less, whether we label them as such or not.
They are the things that we desire, more than we desire God!
And it is that DESIRE that we now turn our attention towards.

Let me ask everyone here to just close your eyes for a minute, and I am going to ask you a few simple questions. Let’s have some fun and suppose that for the next minute or so, I have the power and authority to grant you any of the things (LEGALLY), that I am about to ask about and thus give you the things that you otherwise could not have, OK?

Picture in your mind, the car that you drive right now. Now, think about someone else’s car that you really like and would like to have. Whose car would it be and what car is it that you would want?
Think about your house that you live in right now. Now think about someone else’s house that you have been in, or seen, that you would really like to have instead. Say the word and it is yours!
Now, lets think about something smaller, like say, a dog. Let’s say that either you don’t have a dog, or you, but it’s dumber than a box or rocks and you wish that you had a different one. Let’s say that you have a friend or family member, that has the coolest and best trained dog ever, and that you love being around that dog. Whose dog is it that you would love to have?
Jewelry there a diamond ring that you have seen on another ladies’ hand that caught your eye and that you would love to see on your own hand? Say the word and it shall be!
Guys, what about that new, state of the art bass fishing boat that your friend just bought, because he’s single and has no obligations and can buy new toys whenever he likes? It puts to shame your old rickety aluminum john boat and it has every new bell and whistle that is made to practically make the fish jump into your lap. Picture that boat, where is it and who has it. Are you ready to have it?
What about someone else’s boyfriend/girlfriend, or even someone else’s spouse? You have been dating, or married to your current one, for some time now, and they drive you batty, most of the time. Is there someone else that you think about being with, that is already married, or in another relationship?!
OK, open your eyes. If any of you could picture a certain something, or someone in your mind, for any of these mock scenarios that I just listed, that currently belongs to another, other than you, then congratulations, you have have just been found guilty of the 10th commandment...........YOU SHALL NOT COVET!
This word, this command, COVETING, is not really heard of, or taught about in today’s society.
But make no mistake, COVETING, is a dangerous and deadly DESIRE that dwells within the hearts of countless millions, all across this nation!
But what is COVETING, by definition, so that we are all clear about it?
Let me give you a definition for the act of COVETOUSNESS: The desire to have something for oneself, a craving or passionate desire. To COVET, is marked by an inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions.
The Hebrew word used in this 10th commandment, is chamad, and it simply means "desire.
However, in the use for this commandment, it refers to an evil desire.
A DESIRE is not a wrong thing, as long as it is a healthy desire.
Desiring God in our lives and the things that God wants for us and our lives, is not wrong and is actually mentioned throughout the Bible.
The Psalmist said, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?”
As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?
This is the expression of a strong DESIRE for God and to be in His presence.
2 I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?
“Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”
I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
When can I go and stand before him?
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
Again, this Psalm conveys the healthy and needed DESIRE for the living God and being in His presence!
but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
This should be the DESIRE of our lives! Being with and around God at all times and being in His word!
he is mine forever.
David said, “The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.”
each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
even the finest gold.
Every word that God has spoken to us, is to be desired, because His words are life to the believer!
They are sweeter than honey,
even honey dripping from the comb.
Now let make something clear about your “liking” something and your “coveting” something.
Now let make something clear about your “liking” something and your “coveting” something.
You can like the make and model of the car that your friend just bought and that is NOT coveting.
You can go out and buy the same make and model of that car and that is not coveting.
You may have even bought the same color car as your friend and that is still not coveting. It is a little weird if you are the friend, but it is not coveting.
Mention Kellyn and her shoes.
That is copying someone’s car, but not coveting someone’s car.
When you develop a strong desire in your heart for what someone else has, or for that which is forbidden to you, then you are most definitely COVETING!
It is the nature of your DESIRE that determines what lies hidden in your heart!
So, COVETING, according the command of God, is sinful, because it is a wrong DESIRE within our hearts!

Let me say this about the 10th commandment, of COVETING. Coveting, is different from the other 9 commandments, because it is internal and the other 9 are all external.

This is what I mean. If you worship anything, or anyone other than God, this is external. God is in heaven and looking down and watching you as you do so.
If you steal from someone, it is external.
If you murder someone, it is external.
If you commit adultery, it is external.
If you dishonor your parents, it is external.
If you lie to someone, it is external to you.
These are all things that you or I do, that are external to us and are done to and before others.
But the act of COVETING, is something that we do internally, in our hearts. It is that secret sin, that others do not see taking place.
Now, when you, or I act on this wrong DESIRE in our hearts, then we break the other nine commandments.
The 10th commandment is like the progenitor of all of the other commandments.
If you COVET something, that is, if you have a strong desire for something that is not yours and is not to be had by you, then from there, the other nine commandments are broken.
You do not commit adultery with someone, unless you first lust and develop a DESIRE for that someone.
You do not steal unless you have a DESIRE for that object.
You do not murder, unless your DESIRE is to have your way and stop someone else from having theirs.
Do you see what I mean, that internally, COVETING takes place and no one sees it, unless you move forward with it. But from that wrongful DESIRE, all the other commandments are broken.
This is why God condemns it, at the root, because from it, other sins take place.
Other sins, including the most damming of all sins, the breaking of the 1st commandment, “You shall have NO other gods before Me!”
When Jesus was asked by the lawyer of the Pharisees, which of the commandments was the greatest, in attempt to trap Him, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
The love of God and the DESIRE to be with Him, is to be pre-eminent above all other DESIRES. Everything hangs upon whether you truly love God more than all other loves and passions and DESIRES!
This is why Jesus also said, when speaking of being a follower/disciple of His said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
If our love and DESIRE for anyone, or anything, becomes greater than that for Jesus, then you are not incapable of following Him and being His disciple!
A.W. Tozer said, “"The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One,"

I started off mentioning the issue of Americans becoming more and more unhappy and I said that this was because of our prosperity that we began to breach the 1st and 10th commandments. Here is what I mean.

When you live in a culture and society that thrives on “MORE” and that what you have is NEVER enough, then it is a breeding ground for COVETOUS DESIRES!
And when the heart of a man/woman is full of DESIRE for amassing more, here in this life and on this earth, then he/she will never be happy and they will NEVER have true JOY in their life.
This is why Jesus taught us in , where the man came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” and Jesus responded and then made this statement, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
And it was here that Jesus told the parable of the rich man and his heart’s DESIRE to store up as much wealth for himself as he could, and then God says to the man, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Jesus taught 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.
We are to look to heaven and keep our focus upwards to where Christ is seated at all times. And we are to work here, to store up our treasures, there, where He is at!
C.S. Lewis said this, “Our problem is not that we want too much, it's that we're satisfied with too little.”
In other words, when we settle for the things of this earth and the riches and DESIRES of this life, then we have settled and become satisfied with the lesser things!

In this nation, enough, is never enough! We are programmed to always want and to DESIRE more and more of the things of this world.

Our nation’s debt is at 22 trillion dollars! And that is at the government level. Last year, the Federal Reserve's latest report showed that U.S. households are in debt to the tune of about $13.2 trillion!
Of this debt, about $1 trillion is revolving debt.
There are around 327.2 million people in the US and out of that number, people of the age 18 and above that own credit cards are a staggering, 248 million!
On average, Americans die with $61,000 in debt, that they pass on to others!
We DESIRE and we go get! We are busying ourselves storing up treasures here on earth and not in heaven!
What would you be willing to do for $10 million? From survey results found in The Day America Told the Truth, a book written in the early 90’s, that was a survey on mass morality, 1 of 4 respondents would abandon their entire family, 23 percent said they would become a prostitute for a week, 16 percent noted they would leave their spouse, and 3 percent confided they would put their children up for adoption; all for $10 million!
We never have enough! This is why Paul told Timothy in , “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire DESIRE to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
I may continue this Wednesday with the issue of our DESIRES and that of COVETING, because we haven’t even scratched the surface of this one commandment and its depth!

But let me close with asking you a question that stems from the passage in that I read at the beginning, “Can you say right now, today, that you are getting the DESIRES of your heart fulfilled?”

Is God giving you the DESIRES of your heart?
If not, then ask yourself the question, “What are the DESIRES of my heart?”
Is your heart’s DESIRE to seek God and His will for your life and to fill your heart with His Holy Word, the Bible?
It was said one time and it is so true, “The more of Heaven we cherish, the less of Earth we covet."
What are your DESIRES? Are they for God and serving Him, or are they COVETOUS DESIRES that seek treasures on earth?
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