The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Deuteronomy 5: 1-21 Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire, while I was standing between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain. He said, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me. ‘You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. ‘Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you. ‘You shall not murder. ‘You shall not commit adultery. ‘You shall not steal. ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’
Ever hear the expression “keeping up with the Jones’”? Inextricably linked to the pursuit of the “American dream”, this term is meant to convey the idea that one should never be content with what they have, but rather, must be slavishly led along by their neighbors possessions. Advertising plays upon this base sin of ours. All of it is geared towards appealing to your lack of contentment. Newer, bigger, better, more...mine, mine, mine! Everyone wants what they want, when they want it, and like good little slaves, they blindly allow the world, their flesh, and the devil to lead them to conclude that God, and His provision, are not enough. We take our eyes off of Christ, look at the shiny trinkets owned by our neighbors, and like a fish chasing a lure, we get caught up in an evil snare. Whether it be material wealth, power, or your neighbors twenty-something wife, lack of contentment with the blessings of God leads us to desire things God has forbidden.
‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’
The story of David and Bathsheba paints a pretty clear picture of the dangers of coveting does it not? David, in the season that kings went off to war, stayed behind in his kingdom. Up on the roof he observed Bathsheba bathing. Instead of averting his eyes and leaving the roof, he became enchanted by her form, and sent for her. She was a married woman. David, the serial adulterer, was not content. Knowing she was Uriah’s wife, he took her anyway. This coveting, and taking, led to David becoming a murderer, and resulted in God taking the life of his first son born of Bathsheba. Coveting has consequences in real time.
How might coveting your neighbor's possessions bear consequences in this life, here and now? First, it is a sin against Almighty God. God gives good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11), supplies for all of our needs (Philippians 4:19), and stands alone as the One Who is worthy of worship (Revelation 4:11). Secondly, coveting impacts the people who you say you love. Your discontented spirit, never being satisfied with God’s blessings, leads to bitterness between husband and wife. Men, as you surf the internet for porn, your mind is being altered to expect a very distorted picture of femininity that your wife, or in the case of you unmarried young men, your future wives, are not equipped to fulfill. Wives, young ladies, the temptation for you is to look at the women of the world and ask yourself, “Well, why not #metoo? These women have it all.” Yes, they have it all: emasculated husbands, kids being raised by total strangers, and the right to look and behave just like men. Children, your temptation will be to gaze out at the world and see all the “fun” your peers are having and say to yourself , “Self, when I get out of my parents' home, I am going to pursue _______________”. Forsaking your fathers teaching from the Word of God, you will believe you are more wise, and more capable to indulge in all this world has to offer, not content with the blessings of God in your life.
The remedy for covetousness isn’t simply to sell all of your stuff, cancel your subscription to spectrum, and flee to the hills like the amish. The remedy, is being thankful to God for all of the blessings He has given you. What are some of these blessings? First of all, you have been saved by grace through faith, it is a gift of God: give thanks! Secondly, you have been blessed to be led to a church where God’s Word is proclaimed and lived out right before your eyes, which cannot be said of many churches in 2019: give thanks! Lastly, we have all of God’s promises to us. Church, He promises to never leave us or forsake us. Can we not rest in that promise alone? Isn’t this simple little promise, from the Creator of the universe, to His people, good enough for you today? Give thanks.
If you are able, please kneel as we confess our sins to our Just, Holy God, knowing that He is faithful to forgive us of our sins.
If I should suffer need, and go unclothed,
and be in poverty,
make my heart prize thy love,
know it, be constrained by it,
though I be denied all blessings.
It is thy mercy to afflict and try me with wants,
for by these trials I see my sins,
and desire severance from them.
Let me willingly accept misery, sorrows,
if I can thereby feel sin as the greatest evil,
and be delivered from it with gratitude to thee,
acknowledging this as the highest testimony
of thy love.
When thy Son, Jesus, came into my soul
instead of sin, he became more dear to me
than sin had formerly been;
his kindly rule replaced sin’s tyranny.
Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin
I must not only labour to overcome it,
but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it,
and he must become to me more than
vile lust had been;
that his sweetness, power, life may be there.
Thus I must seek a grace from him contrary to sin,
but must not claim it apart from himself.
When I am afraid of evils to come,
comfort me by showing me
that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch,
but in Christ I am reconciled and live;
that in my self I find insufficiency and no rest,
but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace;
that in myself I am feeble and unable to do good,
but in Christ I have ability to do all things.
Though now I have his graces in part,
I shall shortly have them perfectly
in that state where thou wilt show thyself
and alone sufficient, efficient,
loving me completely,
with sin abolished.
O Lord, hasten that day. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
From The Valley of Vision, titled “Contentment”
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 6/16/19 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)