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What’s in a Commandment? #10 – Coveting

How many of you were just waiting and waiting and wanting to read this last post of the Ten Commandments?  Come on. Were you coveting this post?  If you were, please reconsider your day job.  :)

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

In a nutshell, we aren’t supposed to sit around thinking about what someone else has, you know the phrase, “Keeping up with the Jones”?  They have it, we want it, we go out and buy something to make ourselves feel good…we can now say we have it too!  Doesn’t this stem from coveting or wanting what our “neighbor” has?  Do you like their new pool?  How about that new lawnmower?  We know it’s wrong to steal (we talked about that commandment already), so coveting doesn’t get the job done.  We head out and buy something and this fills the void until we covet again.

We all know that having strong desires can lead to murder, stealing, lying etc.  Coveting kind of falls into the “pre-existing” condition category of many other sins.  When we covet what someone else has, it can lead to all sorts of bad actions.

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What’s in a Commandment? #9 Lying

Liar, Liar pants on fire…okay, really, why are the pants on fire? [Revelation 21:8 explains that]

The 9th commandment seems pretty simple.  At face value, we shouldn’t give false testimony against our fellow members of society.  We shouldn’t lie about them to another person!  This commandment has easily been applied to lying in general being wrong, rightly so.

How about those little white lies or what you say when talking to a child, you know, protecting a child from hearing what you don’t want to tell them…?  Here’s an idea.  DON’T TELL THEM or simply say THEY ARE TOO YOUNG TO UNDERSTAND.  Why lie in place of a truthful explanation????

Is there really a situation where lying is the only option?  Is it ever the BEST option?

Okay, a classic white lie revolves around relationships.

< Am I fat?

< Do I look good in this dress?

< Honey, was it good for you?

How do you answer these questions?  Should you lie to make someone feel good?  Let’s think of the many incredibly disappointed singers that finally got an honest answer at the hands of Simon Cowell on American Idol.  Do those white lies add up and one day cause great emotional harm when the person finally hears the truth?  Some of those singers were awful (some of it was staged) but in the end some of them truly felt they were good because many people lied to them.  You have to figure out the best way to handle life’s questions on your own.  I’m just saying that lying is the EASY way out and it’s wrong.  In the end, lying can do nothing but cause problems or pain.

9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor

Bible.com also writes a good explanation on this topic:

http://206.135.15.32/answers/alying.html

What’s in a Commandment? #8 Stealing

I was just a kid…I didn’t know better.  I liked what I saw, I knew it would taste good, so I snatched a mint from the candy bin.  I wanted to be sure it was good before deciding to buy it, right?  Of course, I had no money.  Here’s part of the problem…I knew it would taste good, but somehow I wanted to be sure it tasted good?  Come on!  I stole a piece of candy.

How about that pen from work?  Legal pad of paper?  Box of paperclips or even that handful of rubber bands?  How about that “free” cup of coffee that you deserve because you are the one who changes out the filter?  I like the commercial about filling your gas station cup of soda up, drinking some, then adding more soda to the cup.  Stealing!  We don’t seem to understand the concept.

A thief is someone who takes something that doesn’t belong to him or her. Did you catch that?  It doesn’t say in there that a thief is someone who takes something that another person deems valuable enough to consider it stolen.

Think of it this way.  Would you asked your boss if it was okay to take home from work pens, rubber bands, paper or paperclips for your own personal use?  If you think your boss would say no, then you wouldn’t ask.  However, the good news is that IF you ask and they say yes…it’s no longer stealing!

It’s a good litmus test.  If you won’t ask for it, then you shouldn’t take it until you ask for it!  And…if you ask for it, then you must respect the answer.

8. You shall not steal

Irrespective of its value, you are a thief if you take something that doesn’t belong to you.  Once a thief, always a thief, just like a murderer or an alcoholic will always be a murderer and an alcoholic.

Just another of ten reasons we need a Savior.

What’s in a Commandment? #7 Adultery

It makes sense, a little, that adultery would be listed after murder…but after “honor your parents”? I’m starting to think that God has a different opinion on a lot of things!  I’m joking.  My point is loosely based on the idea that the Ten Commandments are listed in order of importance.

So, moving on…Yep, next we move on to another sexual conquest while we are married and we land in the “we’ve committed adultery” club.  God doesn’t like this, naturally.  Jesus added to it though.  So, if you’re sitting there reading this on your iPad or while sitting in a comfy chair thinking, “I’m clear on this one!”…Hold the phone.

We have:

7. You shall not commit adultery

We all know the gist of this simple commandment, but Jesus clarified this by saying, “You have heard the commandment that says,

‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

If you’re a Ray Comfort fan, you’ve undoubtedly heard this one.  It pins most of us down very well.  Whether you view yourself as straight or gay, male or female, have you ever looked at someone with lust?  Have I lusted?  Yep, I sure have.  If I said otherwise I would be in violation of the 9th commandment (yet again).  Oh, what a slippery slope we like to try and climb!

For those unsure of just what lust is, here’s a quick definition:

Lust [luhst]

–noun

1. intense sexual desire or appetite.

2. uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.

3. a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually fol. by for ): a lust for power.

4. ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish: an enviable lust for life.

5. Obsolete .

a. pleasure or delight.

b. desire; inclination; wish.

–verb (used without object)

6. to have intense sexual desire.

7. to have a yearning or desire; have a strong or excessive craving (often fol. by for  or after ).

And with that, we have the 7th commandment.

What’s in a Commandment? #6 Murder

6. You shall not murder.

Murder, eh?  If you look at the original language using murder is a better word, arguably, than using kill.  You may see kill used in various renditions and translations.  Murder shows “intent to kill”, planning, or a desire to “do the deed”.  Kill can be accidental, which doesn’t fit the spirit of the commandment.

We also have the added declaration that hatred can be equated to murder.  Jesus said,”You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.” (Matt 5:21-22 NLT)

This thinking is also supported by the Old Testament law presented in Deuteronomy 19:4-6 (NASB) where is reads:

4“Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he kills his friend unintentionally, not hating him previously–

5as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the handle and strikes his friend so that he dies–he may flee to one of these cities and live;

6otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously.

Hatred is linked to murder, and lack of hatred is linked to accidental killing or manslaughter.  The cities of refuge were there, more so, to protect the relatives of the one killed from committing murder (#6).  Often, we flip this around and think the cities of refuge were more for protecting the person who accidentally killed someone!  I John 3:15 (NIV) also speaks of hatred, proclaiming,15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

So…

6. You shall not murder.

Don’t be too quick to conclude that you aren’t guilty of this commandment…

I know I’m glad I have a Savior.

What’s in a Commandment? #5 Honor your Parents

Wrapping up the first four commandments, we now head into laws that deal with interpersonal relationships or, more simply, our relationships with others.  Note that 1-4 dealt with our relationship with God directly.

5. Honor your father and your mother

Seems easy enough, right?  Well, let’s just say that as a child this one is probably one of the first non God related commandments that we all broke.  If it wasn’t this one, it was #9, but we’ll get to that later.

This commandment can be tough.  What if your parents were deadbeats?  What if they abused you?  What if you simply don’t like them?  The simple answer is that you are still supposed to honor them.  The complex response includes the need to heal, as well as the need to try and recall anything good from the relationship.  If you are adopted or have grown up with no parental figure, this commandment can be difficult.  Maybe it’s the memory or the “spirit” of your parents you are to honor.

Here’s a good book, especially for those who have had strained parental relationships.

The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents by Dennis Rainey.

Personally, I’ve found it to be a good thing…honoring my parents that is.  I can be very self-centered, and as I’ve aged, as I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve been challenged in how I interact with my parents.  Through my church I completed a wonderful personal tool called a Personal Life & Growth Plan that truly helped me to prioritize my life.  I hope many people have been positively affected by how God used this plan, His plan, in my life.  How can God use you in honoring your parents or the memory of your parents?

What’s in a Commandment? #4 The Sabbath

The fourth commandment is probably my favorite.  It’s been shortened in most listings of the 10 Commandments.  This condensed version, usually reading like “Remember the Sabbath”, is dull and hardly meaningful when compared to the full text.

4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The most common arguments to come from this command are

  1. To work or not on the Sabbath and
  2. Accepting WHICH day is truly the Sabbath…

What’s funny is neither of these things really matter too much in my opinion.  Why?

First, we need to rest.  We all know it.  If we actually worked 6 days and rested, truly rested, on the 7th, we would most likely agree that it’s a good schedule.

Second, the Sabbath is the 7th day.  What’s your schedule?  If the first day of the week is Sunday, then Saturday is your Sabbath.  If the only day you can rest is Wednesday, then your week starts on Thursday.  If you don’t agree, I’m sorry.  Many people work odd hours and have little control over it.  We must rest sometime.  If we don’t then our bodies WILL fail.  God knew that.  It’s also a time to “rest” in God.

Now, on to why I like this commandment.

As one who holds the Bible in high regard, I really notice the confirmation of the creation week.  Did you notice it?  God created everything in 6 days…rested on the 7th.  It’s NOT just in Genesis 1.  Exodus 20 is a direct challenge to those who think there were gaps in the “days” or for those who feel the “days” weren’t days.  Hmmm.  Are we to work thousands of years, then rest?  Try it.

Okay, instead of failing at the “working for a thousand years” thing, try working for 6 days and then resting a full day.  Keep in mind what Jesus taught us later.  Are we to not help those in need on the Sabbath?  Are we to not heal those in need on the Sabbath?  Our attitude plays a larger part in all this than the legalistic arguments that can grow out of this 4th commandment.  If we did a deep study on this command that tells us when not to work, I bet “work” would be defined in a selfish light.  I bet we would find that those that broke this law were doing so for selfish gain. Hard to know for sure, but we do know Jesus clarified all of this.  We must recall that English was not the original language, and sadly, English fails to often fully define a Greek or Hebrew word.  Has anyone studied this deeply?

Some other interesting links to this 6 ON 1 OFF ratio include…  Not only did God model the work week, the Bible also notes that fields should be worked 6 years and rested the 7th year.  There are also civil laws on forgiving debt on the 7th year as well.  Boy, I wonder how our economy would work with that notion.  Lots of 6 year loans?