Exodus 20:17 – You shall not covet

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s. – Exodus 20:17

The word covet does not come up in everyday language much. But it certainly is a part of everyday life! The definition for coveting is: to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others. Behind this is a heart of ingratitude, selfishness and a belief that God has somehow withheld something from us. “I sure wish I had one of those… or, “why isn’t my spouse more like them…or, “why do I have to stay in this job…?”

Wanting what we don’t have displays that we are not satisfied with God’s provision in our life. “I deserve better than this!” And, “I know what I need better than God does.” When we believe that God is infinitely good, and we remember that he alone is sovereign, we can set all coveting aside. Another way of translating this command would be, “Be satisfied with what your generous God has given you!”

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