Thou shalt not covet

I. This broad concept is observed in the variety of terms used.

A. The Old Testament connects three word groupings.

1. The initial commandment (Exodus 20:17) uses the word CHAMAD which means "to delight in."

2. The repeated commandment (Deuteronomy 5:21) uses the word 'AVAH which means "to wish for."

3. The applied commandment (Jeremiah 6:13) uses the word BATSA' which means "to be greedy.”

B. The New Testament provides a long list of synonyms.

1. The basic thought is repeated (Romans 7:7-8) using the word EPITHUMEO which means "to long for."

2. The basic word is connected by application to several other terms.

a. It is connected to the word PATHOS (Romans 1:26) which means "passion." (A parallel word HEDONE (Mark 4:19; Luke 8:14) means "sensual pleasure."
b. It is connected to the word OREGOMAI (Romans 1:27) which means "to reach out for.
c. It is connected to the word PHTHORA (Romans 1:29) which means "jealously." (A parallel word ZELOS (Acts 7:9; 17:5) means "heated, envious."
d. It is connected to the word PLEONEKTES (Colossians 3:5) which means "eager for gain.”
e. It is connected to the word PHILARGUROS (1 Timothy 6:9-10) which means "fond of silver."

II. This concept is amplified by the character descriptions given.

A. There is the disgusting example of lustful Israel (Numbers 11).

1. Israel had had over a year of personal evidence of the Lord's supply (water out of rock, manna, clothes, etc.).

2. Israel had had many experiences with the judgment of the Lord (Ten Plagues, Red Sea, Brazen Serpent, Ten Commandments, Fire).

3. Israel "fell a lusting" (‘AVAH – to wish for) the old delicacies of Egypt (Numbers 11:4-6).

a. They were not satisfied with the Lord's provision (Numbers 11:7-15).
b. The Lord gave Israel her request (Numbers 11:16-31).
c. The Lord sent a plague of Judgment (Numbers 11:32-35).
d. Those that lust were still not satisfied (Psalm 78:23-37).
e. Those that lust had leanness in their souls (Psalm 106:13-15).

B. There is a tragic example of lustful Achan (Joshua 7).

1. Achan had been twice warned (Deuteronomy 7:25; Joshua 6:18-19).

2. Achan gave into "a delightful desire" (Joshua 7:21).

3. Achan brought judgment upon Israel (Joshua 7:5-15).

4. Achan was eliminated from Israel (Joshua 7:25-26).

C. There are further descriptions provided.

1. Those that lust are "greedy dogs" (Isaiah 56:11).

a. The lifestyle of such is evil (Proverbs 1:10-19).
b. The focus is on extortion (Ezekiel 22:12).
c. The habit injures close associates (Proverbs 15:27).
d. They plot their wickedness in advance (Micah 2:1-2).
e. The motivation to be rich is destructive (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

2. Those that lust boast of their "hearts desire" (Psalm 10:3).

a. They work uncleanness with greediness (Ephesians 4:19).
b. They make merchandise of weak Christians (2 Peter 2:3).
c. They lead away silly women (2 Timothy 3:6).
d. They promote many different lusts (Titus 3:3).

3. Those that lust are self-centered (Ezekiel 33:30-31; 2 Timothy 3:2).

a. They are lazy (Proverbs 21:26).
b. They justify themselves (Luke 16:13-15).
c. They want another sin or more wis­dom (1 Corinthians 1:22).
d. They find teachers to agree with them (2 Timothy 4:3).

III. This concept is thoroughly amplified by the Scriptures.

A. There are many warnings about the ill effects.

1. We are told to beware of covetousness (Luke 12:15).

2. We are told that covetousness chokes Christian growth (Luke 8:14).

3. We are told that lusts were begun by Satan (John 8:44).

4. We are told that lusts are generated by the world (1 John 2:16-17).

5. We are told that those that lust will not inherit the kingdom (I Corinthians 6:10).

6. We are told that wars, fighting and unanswered prayer result from lusting (James 4:1-3).

7. We are told that all sin originates with our lust (James 1:13-15).

B. There are many direct commands against lusting.

1. We are to flee youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22).

a. This includes sexual lust (Proverbs 6:25; Matthew 5:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5).
b. This includes physical appetites (Proverbs 23:3-6).

2. We are to deny worldly lusts (Titus 2:12).

a. This includes the presence and position of evil men (Proverbs 24:1).
b. This includes making provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14; 6:12).

3. We are to separate fellowship from those that lust (1 Corinthians 5:10-11; Eph 5:3).

4. We are to give freely of our worldly possessions (2 Corinthians 9:1-7).

C. There is a cure for sinful covetousness.

1. We must return to righteousness obedience (Jeremiah 6:16).

2. We must "desire" spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31; 14:1, 12, 39).

3. We must "be zealous" for the growth of others (2 Corinthians 11:2).

4. We must "long for" answers to prayer (James 1:5-6).

a. God promises an answer (Proverbs 10:24).
b. God gives the reason (Proverbs 11:23).
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