April 7, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery...You shall not covet." Exodus 20:2, 17
To deal with this command by God, "You shall not covet," we need to understand what it means to covet. Covetousness deals with an inward, mental process associated with motivation and desire, which, if left unchecked, leads to sinful actions and dreadful circumstances. It can consume a person. It leads to greed and makes us determined to have more, whatever the cost and by whatever the means. Our eyes are focused upon the gratification of our gain rather than on the consequences of our sin in getting it. We ignore completely that God knows and sees all we do, and that He will justly repay our evil ways: "Your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).
An example of this is seen when the people of Israel, under Joshua, attacked the small village of Ai. God had miraculously given them victory over Jericho. Joshua had explicitly followed God's plan in conquering Jericho, but when he saw the small village of Ai, he was convinced he could do this "on his own." What a humbling awakening awaited him. When his men returned from a surprising defeat, Joshua was devastated. How could this happen? Then God rebuked Joshua. "Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned." Israel had disobeyed God! What happened? One soldier, Achan, coveted a Babylonian garment, along with gold and silver. One obscure individual, one simple act of sin, one look of covetousness, stopped the course of a whole nation, turned Israel into defeat, brought all of Israel guilty before God, and God withheld His blessing upon them!
The whole scenario is explained in James 1:14, 15 (put 'Achan' in the midst of what James says and insert the word covetousness for lust): "Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lusts [covetousness] and enticed. Then when lust [covetousness] hath conceived, it brings forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death." Achan looked, desired [coveted], took the forbidden items, and was sentenced to die. God demanded a complete and thorough "cleansing." When the sin was dealt with and put away, God turned from the fierceness of His anger and judgment to again restore His power and blessing upon Israel. Now, what does this say to us today? What can we learn from this dreadful act of covetousness?
There is no alternative to obedience. God and sin cannot co-exist. If we are to be led by Him and blessed with His presence and power, we must deal with, confess to, and repent of sin. How clearly God reveals His grace to those who covet. "Return, thou backsliding [sinner], says the LORD, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, says the LORD, and I will not keep mine anger forever; only acknowledge your iniquity" (Jeremiah 3:12,13). It is not for us to alter in any way what God has clearly set forth in His Word. We must follow in explicit obedience, focusing our lives on HIS WORD and HIS WILL, and seek to be led in HIS WAY! Fix your eyes upon Jesus!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-04-07
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