Exodus 20:17 – To Covet or Not to Covet

Exodus 20:17
17 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.

-Are you familiar with the 10th Commandment?  Often I see this commandment referred to as “Thou shalt not covet”, but that really does a disservice to the nature of the law.  There was a reason that God went to the trouble of spelling out specific things that we should not be coveting; it implies that there are other things that are acceptable to be coveted.  To covet simply means to “yearn after” and while that can be destructive if we are focused on the wrong object, it can also be very positive.  Paul tells us to “covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31), which refers to different areas of service to the Lord.  Coveting after a deeper level of trust in God, coveting after a better prayer life, coveting after a chance to serve the Lord in ministry; these are all things that can lead to a deeper level in your relationship to God.  How can we know when coveting is okay?  Remember Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

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