The word covet isn’t used much today. Instead we talk about greed, desire, longing, craving, lust or wanting what someone else has that we don’t. Both the 8th & 9th Commandments are similar because they talk about how our passions get in the way of common sense. They both refer to coveting.
The ninth refers to a neighbor’s home – his shelter – his inheritance. Instead of looking at his home as the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence, we should be willing to help him, work beside him, make sacrifices so that he will be able to keep it for his own protection and good.
The tenth goes a little further by including his wife and family, all his worldly goods and anything that he owns. Our neighbor is not just the guy who lives next door. He is anyone we do business with, our friends, our co-workers, our leaders, our teachers, everyone we come into contact with on a daily basis. As followers of God, it’s our responsibility to love everyone even when we don’t agree with them or think we deserve what they possess more than they do.
These ten commandments were establish by God as the Israelites passed through 40 years of traveling through the wilderness and soon forgetting what God had done for them during their deliverance from bondage. We often act the same way. As soon as we’re left to our own devices, we’re bound to fail. God presented theses commandments, carved in stone tablets by His own hand, through His servant Moses. They aren’t complicated to understand. Some seem archaic today, because of the circumstances of time has almost obliterated them. Still for those who love God and depend on His intervention, they are not just guidelines, but LAW.
We’ve seen an increase in crime and blatant misuse of the law of our land. We’ve also seen the laws of God stomped upon and crushed as they were when Moses came down that mountain. Each law we have in place in our country was designed for the protection and safety of its citizens. Each of God’s Commands were written to give us the truth of how God wants us to live. In my book, He certainly deserves our obedience more than anyone.
The words are simple. We aren’t talking about complicated legal language. God’s word is written for all of us – not just the rich, the poor, the harassed or broken – everyone – in words that stand the test of time.
In concluding this series on the Ten Commandments, we’re reminded that God is jealous. He demands our obedience, but He shows mercy to those who love Him and follow His law. That should send fear into our souls and minds. Our humanity and original sin will separate us until we die. Since our God is also loving and full of grace, He has provided a way for us to keep these laws. Through His Son, Jesus, we’re guaranteed eternal life. Through His Spirit’s work within our hearts and minds, we believe and trust God completely. The Spirit instills in us the faith necessary to follow Him.
THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.