The tenth commandment requires us to be fully content with our own condition and to be charitably disposed toward our neighbour.
Scripture: Exodus 20:17; 1 Kings 21:1-26
- The law of God reveals the structure of our relationship with God and one another. It gives instruction and light.
- While the law in large part addresses our actions, the tenth commandment shines a light on the attitude of our hearts.
- We live in a consumerist culture, in which greed, envy, and covetousness are prominent.
- Desire in itself is not wrong: we are to delight in the beauty of creation; good food is to be enjoyed (Gen 2:9; Deut 14:22-27); sexual desire within godly marriage is good.
- Coveting is an inordinate, immoderate and excessive desire for what belongs to your neighbour.
- More often than not, coveting leads to further sinful action.
- Coveting led Ahab into perjury, murder, theft (1Kings 21).
- King David desired Bathsheba and it led to adultery, false witness, and murder (2 Samuel 11).
- The tenth commandment forbids discontentment, inordinate desires, and envying or grieving at your neighbour’s talents and blessings.
- Envy makes one upset about the blessings of others, breeding contempt and hatred (Prov. 14:30).
- Envy is easily diagnosed: do you rejoice with others when they are blessed? (Romans 15:10).
- Envy soon leads to contempt even for the envied gifts or blessings themselves.
- Envy sucks joy from your soul and prevents you from receiving or enjoying God’s good gifts.
- The older brother in Luke 15 is envious and sullen.
- Finally envy culminates in contempt and hatred for God.
- Greed is an endless desire for more (Eccl. 5:10).
- Greed diverts our eye to the earth; it is a love for the world rather than love for God.
- Greed causes us to have contempt for God. Greed is the enemy of God’s grace (Matt. 6:24; 13:22).
- If you devote yourself to money, you despise God and His providence (Psalm 10:3; James 5:1-6).
- The positive implication of the tenth commandment is to require contentment and generosity.
- The tenth commandment requires us to be fully content with our own condition and to be charitably disposed toward our neighbour.
- We are to trust God and rejoice in His providence, i.e., God’s good, wise and just governing of all things.
- “Christian Contentment is the sweet inward gracious frame of spirit which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” — Jeremy Boroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
- Whatever trials we face, God calls us to not be afraid. We can face all things through the power of Christ (Phil. 4:13).
- Obeying God’s law begins with a changed heart attitude. Christ has paid for our sins that we might be made new.
- What is forbidden by the tenth commandment?
- Distinguish godly desire from ungodly desire.
- What is the difference between envy and greed?
- Why is dissatisfaction with God’s providence wrong?
- What is the fruit of envy? Why is greed never satisfied?
- Do we rejoice at the talents and blessings of others?
- How can we cultivate contentment and generosity this week?
- On what basis can our hearts become obedient?