The Ten Commandments — #11 YOU SHALL NOT COVET

Geoff Hohneck
The Ten Commandments
You Shall Not Covet
Exodus 20:17
14 May 2017

God cares about the condition of the heart foremost, for this is where actions spring from. The tenth commandment prohibits coveteousness, which, although invisible, is the root of many sins.

The prohibition of this last command is against coveting: wrongly desiring something that is not yours. "You shall not covet" is stated twice in this commandment for emphasis. Also, seven things are listed that we should not covet. The number seven often designates completeness; thus we are not to covet anything. The word "neighbour" is stated three times, emphasizing that we are not to desire God's gifts to someone else. To covet is to break the first commandment, "you shall have no other gods before Me," because we place our desire for things in front of God. Coveting is therefore also idolatry (Col. 3:5). Do we truly believe that Christ is the all-satisfying "Bread of Life" (Jn. 6:35)?

This command prescribes that we recognise the worldly push to be discontent. We are to cultivate contentment, otherwise we are vulnerable to coveteousness. We are to distinguish between contentment and complacency, always desiring more spiritual progress. We are to make a conscious effort to kill coveting in its tracks, and fix our desires on wholesome things. And last, we are to always call to mind where our true treasure lies!