Home » Sabbath: Beware of Covetousness    


Sabbath: Beware of Covetousness — 9 Comments

  1. There is a whole industry based on an appeal to our covetousness and it skews our purchasing more than we realise. And it starts at an early age. A lot of advertising is covert and we think it passes under the radar, but it is there and when we come to make a purchase, its influence gently pushes us in its direction.

    It is not just things that we covet, but social standing, influence, and even education. and unfortunately, we are very good at justifying a want as a need! If you want an example, just listen to your kids.

    It is not wrong to want something, but it is wrong to want something to the extent that it affects our relationship with God and others.

    It is interesting that the tenth commandment is covered by not just one, but two, "Thou shalt not"s. It is there for emphasis, and if you think about it, covetousness is the basis behind the breaking of all the other commandments. Lucifer's and Eve's sins are both essentially covetousness.

  2. When we take the time to be thankful for the things we already have, it can make it less likely that we'll want what others have. Focusing on the good things in our own lives can help us feel more content and less likely to compare ourselves to others.

    "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

    "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." - Colossians 3:15

  3. Today's lesson notes that covetousness is "... so damaging that God chose to warn against it ..." and similarly that it "... will keep one out of the kingdom of God..."

    The lesson also states that "... this week we will look at examples of just how bad it is and what we can do to overcome it ..." To help us gain more from these two specific focus points, perhaps it would benefit us to first understand what the problem with covetousness actually is. Therefore, I ask the following two related questions:

    1) What specifically is the actual 'phenomenon' of covetousness?

    2) Consequently, how/why is it so inherently damaging?

    • Dear Phil – so happy to find you well. You and the people of New Zealand where often on my heart and mind in prayer after hearing about the devastation the Cyclone caused.
      I know your heart to be ‘covetous’ (in a good way) 🙂 to help us gain a better understanding of ‘given to give’, as it is the ‘law’ governing God’s Creation.

      Considering your first question –
      What comes to mind is man craving ‘security’. Considering the inability of those not yet living a born-again life to understand that man’s ‘security’ or ‘happiness’ is not found in the accumulation or abundance of wealth but in a good relationship with their Creator, they might consider ‘having more’ equals greater security and is therefor a good thing. I do not think they consider this behavior 'wrong' since they lack God's Light of Truth.

      I think the ‘‘phenomenon’ of covetousness’ also includes the disposition of being ‘jealous’; expressing one’s competitiveness through ‘weakening’ the other person in order to help one feel stronger, more 'secure’. Could ‘covetousness’ be a sign of a person’s insecurity to meet the demands of life ‘by himself’?

      Considering the second question –
      ‘How’ – ‘covetousness’ prevents one from being able to rest in the ever present abundance of our Creator’s disposition of loving and caring for His own. The balance found in ‘given to give’, ultimately expresses living by faith in the Word of God; living in His kingdom is the only viable way for man to experience Life.
      ‘Why’ – if not interested and willing to change the by ‘self’ supported existence, one forfeits the blessing of being born-again, to receiving a new nature with which to understand and gladly accept one’s transition by the means our heavenly Father established to save man’s life.

  4. I believe the sin of covetousness may be more insidious than some of the other sins. Where does the legitimate desire to better one’s life become covetousness? It may not be wrong to want a nicer car, or a better job, or a nicer house, but then again these desires could be covetousness. At least for me I certainly need The Lord’s help to know the difference.

  5. ‘Covetousness’ - Another word in the English language for which I need to use a dictionary to help me find its correct meaning.

    Covetousness -
    The Oxford language dictionary defines the word ‘covetousness’ as: “having or showing a great desire to possess something belonging to someone else.

    Merriam-Webster dictionary states: “marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions; having a craving for possession.

    KJV Dictionary definitions –
    "Covet", v.t.
    1. - To desire or wish for; with eagerness; to desire earnestly to obtain or possess; in a good sense. – ‘To have an earnest desire.' 1Tim.6.
    2. - To desire inordinately; to desire that which it is unlawful to obtain or possess; in a bad sense. – ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, wife or servant.' Ex.20

    "Covetous", a. -
    1. - Very desirous; eager to obtain; in a good sense; as covetous of wisdom, virtue or learning.
    2. - Inordinately desirous; excessively eager to obtain and possess; directed to money or goods; avaricious. – ‘A bishop must not be covetous.' 1 Tim. 3

    "Covetousness", n. –
    1. - A strong or inordinate desire of obtaining and possessing some supposed good; usually in a bad sense and applied to an inordinate desire of wealth or avarice. – "Out of the heart proceedeth covetousness." Mark 7. "Mortify your members"; and 'covetousness' which is idolatry. Col. 3.
    2. - Strong desire; eagerness

    Now I have a better understanding of what it means 'to covet', but to comment, I want to wait to find what the lesson writer’s focus is in regard to the bigger picture of ‘covetousness’ in a Christian’s life.

  6. Covetousness can manifest in various subtle ways, such as not sharing in the joy of others' successes, focusing excessively on material possessions at the expense of people, and feeling like our prayers are unanswered, potentially because we are praying for selfish gain.

    Covetousness is “greedy, acquisitive, grasping—showing a strong desire especially for material possessions.” (Webster’s Dictionary)

    At times, we are all prone to displaying these signs of covetousness. Certain self-help books within the New Age genre advocate for the use of manifestation techniques in order to draw a person's desired possessions or outcomes towards them, such as financial wealth, a residence, a vehicle, or clothing. For example, “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne has sold over 30 million copies and has been translated into more than 50 languages. It is reasonable to assume that this book has generated a substantial revenue.

    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." - Matthew 6:33

    Choosing to follow Jesus does not necessarily mean that we will receive an array of luxurious clothing or a flashy sports car. From my understanding, Jesus' teachings do not align with the principles of the "prosperity gospel," which is often promoted in certain Evangelical churches. Rather, it means that our hearts will be transformed, leading us to prioritise things that are aligned with God's Kingdom rather than focusing on materialistic possessions.

    It is interesting to consider that the New Age movement and the 'prosperity gospel' share common ground in promoting 'positive thinking' and the individual's ability to manifest their desires. Food for thought.

  7. Eph.5:5 tells us clearly that covetousness is being an idolator. It is having desires for something we don’t have and certainty don’t need. Those desires, if left unchecked, could cause us to take further actions, such as stealing, forgetting who it is that gives us the power to obtain wealth, having a desire to become a adulterer, not being content with what we have, becoming disobedient to parents, bear false witness, wanting something (an idol) that we think more of than we think of our Heavenly Father
    , not reaching out to help those in need, etc. In a nutshell, breaking all of the commandments.

  8. What is so fascinating to me is that when you see people who covet things, it is usually those who already have alot. People who have money to buy what ever they want seem to be the ones who covet uncontrollably, but the people who literally have nothing are content with simple things and only dream of having the necessities people in the western world take for granted.
    The issue with coveting is that it is essentially never enough, they keep wanting more and more until they bend the rules to satisfy that desire. People are going into debt to keep up with fashion, trends, new phones, new cars etc but what does it really get them in the end? I feel more joy in helping others than coveting what others have.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>