Exodus 20: The Tenth Command
Well, if you turn in your Bibles, please with me, to Exodus chapter 20.You guys remember we were in Exodus several weeks ago, Thank you to my father for filling in for me while I was gone and one kind of surprise week… We are doing better now. Much better.
Thank you for those of you who asked.
We are in the 10th command of the 10 Commandments. Just a word, maybe of announcement, I guess my intention was to continue on with the 10 commandments, I think God has led me to do some different things.
I should say my plan at this point would be to continue with Exodus later this fall, I think will probably at least for August, and then possibly for September, be doing a different series, kind of a series where we just pick and choose a few different scripture passages to address some things in our life, and then the intention will be to pick Exodus back up and probably finish it this fall and maybe in the coming new year, I know that that wasn’t the plan, and I know some of you don’t like it when plans change but we do the best we can and we try to remain sensitive to God and His leading… Let’s take a moment. We’re gonna read our scripture passage for this morning. And this is from Exodus Chapter 20, Verse 17, the 10th command. And then we will pray,
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor.
Father, help me to preach in a clear way now, in a way that reveals you and your plan for us.
I ask that you would help us to train our desires to lock on to you and be satisfied with what you have given to us, open our eyes to a world of desires in our own life that may be sinful against you. Father, a Pray and ask this in your precious name, Amen.
The question for you, I’d like you to really think about for just a moment, how many of your decisions do you make because you are dissatisfied with what God has given you and you desire something else.
How often do we get that new phone because we are dissatisfied with the old, or get that new outfit, get that new house, get that new job, get that new… Whatever, pick up that new hobby, how often do your eyes linger after something that God has not given you right now, and maybe then you reach out and you take that thing for your own… Now, this can look different.
A thousand different ways, you shop for houses because you’re dissatisfied with the one God has provided for you, you stay and work extra hours because of some weird dissatisfaction with the status of your career, you dive into media because you are dissatisfied with the way your life is going and you want to distract yourself for a time, you buy another toy and rack up more debt because you are a dissatisfied with something in your life.
Sometimes people have kids because they are dissatisfied with their marriage, so the people are anxious and depressed because they don’t feel like their kids and their families measure up to other kids and other families, and the sports they’re in and the school they’re at, the GPA they have.
People close social media apps frustrated because their lives aren’t as good as everyone else projects, their own lives to be… The entire advertising industry in the US is built on this idea of trying to make you dissatisfied with something in your life, so much so that you’re willing to pay whatever price necessary to fill that gaping dissatisfaction. It might be a new house, it might be something else, if you were to guess how much the advertising industry in the US is a year, is what we… What it’s worth each year. What would you guess? 168 billion.
Have you ever heard of the term mind share?
It’s a term to describe how much of your brain an advertiser has, so that when you do grow dissatisfied, you’ll naturally think of their product unintentionally, social media has done the same thing, everybody projects the best moments in their lives while the rest of us scroll and see what other people are doing, and then we think, Man, I’m not as cool as say, I don’t spend as much time on the beach or doing fun things as they do, I must be lacking in some way.
It’s not… And then you have entire television shows that are dedicated to this idea that are built into, and I will say A suburban context, TV shows that are built into a suburban context for you to watch and think about thinking about that bigger house, the advent of the house by or renovation TV. And yes, I’m calling out HGTV right now.
Pinterest does the same thing. I know Pinterest is a great place for good ideas, but how often, if you’re on Pinterest, do you leave satisfied with what you have… It’s not that these things are necessarily bad, and we’re going to see that, that this word, the word for Covet in the Bible is not an inherently sinful word, it’s shocking, but it would be ignorant of us, it would be ignorant of you and me, to fail to recognize that these things, that there are many things in our life that try to create a deep sense of dissatisfaction and a longing for something that is not ours, so that is the core of coveting.
Let’s define it. It says here, it includes several different things here, don’t covet your neighbor’s house, male servant, female servant, oxen or anything that is your neighbors. Okay, what does that entail?
Some of us think right away, Well, that’s just possession. It’s like, I want your phone. I’m jealous of it, I want it.
That’s not all that this text says that You can covet… You can covet possessions, absolutely. But you can also covet relationships, your neighbor’s wife, you see that experiences… Why would you covet your neighbor’s wife?
I think that’s what they’re driving at here, you can come experience, you can covet status, if I had enough slaves, maybe I would be a significant… Had enough donkeys and oxes, I would have a greater status, I would be looked at as successful, you can crave and desire someone else’s status, you can create and desire opportunities that you don’t currently have, it is a dissatisfaction with what you have been given and a desire for what God has not given you, it is a deadly combination, and it is the air that you and I breathe, I… I have to help you understand this.
You and I live in the richest… Every single one of you in here live in the richest, probably 97th percentile of the world, dissatisfaction with your possessions and what God has given you and your experiences, what money can buy you, whatever is the air you breathe.
If you don’t, are your heart against it and you don’t recognize it in your life, you will be enslaved to it.
I wanna give color to this word for covet in the Bible, it is the word… Come on, you.
They come out… Yeah, it’s… It’s that how a…
We don’t have a word like this in our Hebrew language, but alright, in Hebrew, the word has this like You gotta hack up a loogie in order to make the sound… תְשׁוּקָה (Hebrew for desire) is the word, it’s the word that means yes, coveting in this verse, but it’s a word that’s also translated pleasant and desire in other places in Scripture that are clearly not bad, for example, Genesis Chapter 2, the first time this word is used in the Bible, out of the ground, the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the site. And good for food.
The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The word pleasant there is the word covet.
Every tree that is covered, every tree that is desired aspired, you want that thing, not all those trees were bad for them to partake of, some of those trees were good to desire.
So we aren’t called, I want you to hear me say this….. We are not called to live a desire-less life, that would be a colorless life, that would be a tasteless life, desires are part of how God made us to live with in perfection, but God gave us desires to enjoy within certain contexts.
And for us to go beyond those desires is covering the object of your desire, matters, listen here, not just the feeling you ever heard the phrase, I’m gonna chase that feeling… When I was a youth pastor in Michigan, one counselor at a camp that we took our campers to said, I feel so good right now with God, and I’m gonna chase that feeling like…
Yeah, good. You should want to be joyful in God, absolutely, but you’re not chasing the feeling, you’re chasing the God of all comfort, the God of feast, the God of all these joyful things. You’re chasing God. You know, and so many people think of life like that, Well, my desires… If I feel good, if I desire or something. And it’s something that I’m passionate for and I want dearly. It doesn’t matter what the object is. Because it’s in here, it’s part of my self-discovery that I’ve discovered I want that thing, and so I should be able to go get it, I’m gonna chase that feeling, here’s the problem.
The desire might be neutral, but the object that you desire could be good or bad, for example, just… For example, the second time, the word is used in the Bible, Genesis chapter 3:6, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that she was told not to take, it was forbidden to her, and that it was delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired. Covenant, to make one wise she took of its fruit and eight and gave some to her husband with her and he ate. The object can be forbidden, for example, a spouse can feel the same way for their spouse and for someone else, but one desire is good and the other desire is bad, you see that just because you feel a great passion, so another person awakens in you, some desire that you thought you didn’t have.
That doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.
The end of the adulterous woman or man leads to death.
In Song of Songs, in the Song of Solomon, an apple tree among the trees of the field, so is my beloved among young men with great delight. The woman says of her husband to be….. with great delight, I sat in his shadow, fruit was sweet to my taste. She longs for her husband.
It’s lifted up as a good example there, don’t chase the feeling of the object is bad, now you might say at this point, I have many desires and I hope you are… I hope you realize, Man, I really want a lot of stuff. Things experiences, people, whatever I want.
How do I know if I’m breaking this commandment or not? Let me give you a few principles to help you with that, number one, if what you desire is forbidden, it is a violation of the 10 in that come and it…
I maybe should, I need to say that.
But it again, okay. If you desire to divorce your spouse and marry another ’cause you think they’re gonna make you happier, that is a violation of the 10th Commandment before you even get to break in to seventh commandment and the command of God, that divorce while permissible and… Or certain circumstances is not something God loves. It’s hated by God.
If God says, No, no, I forbid you from… I don’t know, that sexual relationship, he says, I forbid you from building up a grand story of who you are, and being proud and boasting and lying about who you might be, you desire for people to respect you.
There are areas though, where God has given us a desire that aren’t, and so not always clear if it’s good or bad, so this is the second principle, how you know if your desire is good or bad, if you would sin to get it or… Understand what my notes say Here, let’s just say if you would send… If you’re willing to sin to get it right now, or if you have sinned to get it… It is a violation of the 10th command.
So if in order to get the desire, maybe that new house, you have decided to abandon your family in the pursuit of a career that would give you enough money to buy that new house, but you’re not loving your family, your spouse, your kids, that would be a violation of the 10th commandment, what are you willing to send to get… That thing is forbidden to you.
Number three, if you take that thing, that desired thing in your mind… It is a violation of the 10th command. Now, I use the word take very intentionally there, often times we talk… We had a whole series about the Echos of Regret, remember last fall?
Some of you will remember, and what we did is we looked at Genesis 3-6, and the unique verbiage that’s used there of the Woman seeing and wanting desiring that it was desirable, so she took it and gave it… All these words there are clearly chosen, and then later authors when they write similar stories, they’re gonna use the same exact words it’s used of A and the way he saw something that he wanted. So he took it, and then he had it. The words for David seeing that Bathsheba was good, so he took her, all these words are built on the same kind of pattern as what it’s called, and biblical authors are trying to help you connect the dots and see that the… That the Genesis account is a common temptation struggle that you and I face every single day, every day there is a forbidden fruit, and every day you have a choice to take it or not, and so my point here is that if you in your mind, take that desire thing, the word is looking at, come out and they’re used together in many different verses that they see it, they desire it and they took it. They’re often used together, the desire and the taking, if you are willing to desire something and then take it in your mind, imagine what it would be like for you to have it… Daydream a little bit about life in that beautiful big house, daydream, a little bit about what life would be like to be married to that person, day dream, a little bit about what life would be like if you had that kind of status… That kind of position, that kind of financial flexibility, that kind of… You name it, you fill it in. If your mind is Daydream dreaming about it, you are enacting the Genesis 3 fall in your mind, it might not be outside, but inside you’ve desired it and you’ve taken it, that’s covering… That’s breaking the 10th Commandment.
Number four, if your desire is from a dissatisfaction with your possessions, your life, your situation, your status, then it is a violation of the 10th command, I can’t put this clearly enough, probably the clearest way to determine whether or not your desire for something is good or bad, is to ask the question whether or not you are dissatisfied, is it just that you’re… I’m just miserable, I’m unhappy, so I want that thing. That is a pretty good indication that you’re breaking the 10th command that you’re covering, and fifth, if you cannot be truly deeply happy that someone else has the thing that you desire, then it is a violation of the 10th command, not the grudge-ly happy.
Truly, deep, deeply happy. They have it. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.
Now, having said all this, I hope you now see that you have many, many desires for many, many things. I want you to listen to what Isaiah says about Jesus.
Isaiah 53, verse 2, at He had no form or majesty that we should look at him. no beauty that we should come out in describing Jesus there, and it’s describing people that are supposed to be His people, and they look around and they see Jesus, but in their eyes, he’s not desirable, he’s not worthy, he’s not something to be competed after and attain…
No, he’s something that he’s despised and rejected. The verses go on to say, But I say 53:5 says, He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds, we are healed.
Okay, so I want you to think about this, you and I, look at Jesus and we don’t desire him.
Am I the only one here? We might have passing moments where we long for him, but we don’t desire him in line with how much he’s truly worth, and instead you and I desire after… Right, less mud pies and toys, instead of desiring the one being in the universe that is truly worth all of your fascination, all of your interest, all of your love, all of your devotion.
He was the one whose pierced for your sins, he’s the one who dies on the cross for your sins to give you life, joy and peace today with God and for all eternity, and you look at him and think you think I would rather get on my phone scroll through social media, turn on the TV. I would rather have this desire that I have, the Asiatic faction I have, I read by chasing after this or that, like a dog chasing his tail.
But I say It says earlier on in the book that there are those… There are those who get it, and I’m asking Will you be one who says, I was memorizing this on vacation, these verses in your in the path of your judgement, so Lord, we wait for you, your name and remembrance are the common of our soul, the desire of our soul, I sold, yearns for you in the night.
My Spirit within me earnestly seek you, for when your judgments are on the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you because He trusts in you.
Trust the Lord for ever. For the Lord is an everlasting rock.
He sounds awfully familiar. To the Lord’s prayer, right?
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Oh, that the inhabitants of this world would learn your judgments, because the Lord’s Prayer is probably loosely based off of portions of ISA and the Psalms.
Jesus should be the desire of our heart, but he’s not, he’s the one who’s infinitely worth, he’s the one who can actually fill our hearts desires and satisfy us with the satisfaction that makes us want more, but not in the way of a junky.
You know what I mean?
Not in the way of a junky, not in the way of an addict who never has enough, in the way of somebody who’s deeply in their soul at rest and at peace, and yet as the deer longs for the water, so my soul longs for you or God.
So then there is something radically wrong with our desires, that we would fail to desire Jesus, well, desiring all these things that we would instead of finding the true satisfaction that we can find in Jesus and desire him, we would chase after all these other things and not desire Jesus like he deserves.
Then what should we do, what we need to retrain our desires, sinful desires cannot co-exist with a desire for God, they cannot… This is what Mark 4:15 says, It’s the Parable of the Sower. It says, the desire for other things, it’s a Greek word, but it’s connected back to this word for Covenant covet in Hebrew.
Okay, the desire for other things came in and choked out the word of one of the plants, indulging, covering and desiring things with long looks with taking them in our mind or outside with buying more and more stuff. Listen to me, will choke your love for God. You have to understand this, your desires are a limited resource, if you spend them all on those things, you will have nothing left for God, so spend them where they matter.
If you are feeling today like you have very little desire for God, you’re feeling today like you are dry spiritually, if you’re feeling today, you don’t desire God like you should… Is this the reason why?
There might be other things too, but it’s this the reason why, because you have been spending your desires on things that don’t matter, and you are deeply dissatisfied in your soul.
You are not turning to God, the fount of living water. Who can quench that thirst?
Your desires are the cause of your sin, I want you to hear me your desires, so they can be good or bad, when they’re bad, are the cause of your sin, you wanna go up, it’s not just about your actions, you can retrain actions all you want, but if you don’t retrain the desires, the desires will find new actions.
James 1 says, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then desire when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin when it is full grown. Brings forth death.
Your desires, that dissatisfaction, the longing for something God has not given you that can lead you to sin, and that sin can lead you to death.
So what can you do? Confess. Confess. Confess. Confess. confess, that seems like a hard word, if you haven’t done it a lot, and even if you have done it a lot, it still seems hard, right.
But how often when you do confess your sin to God, have you been reminded of God’s goodness and His grace to you and is for cleansing. Forgiveness, and you’ve said, Oh, I should have done this sooner.
Look in First, confess that not only are your action sinful, but down in your inward parts, you are sinful, you are brought forth in iniquity is how David says it, your desires are trained to constantly be latching on to any old thing that ain’t God.
The truth is, you have many desires that are greater than your desire for Jesus, you have to recognize them for what they are, they’re sin, confess them to God, and then open your hands and say, God, you will not forgive me just because… I’m gonna try harder.
You will not forgive me just because… Tomorrow, I’ll do better. You will not forgive me because I showed up to church today, nope, you forgive me according to the riches of your love and your grace and your forgiveness, that’s why you will forgive me, and in that treasure… That treasure, that forgiveness. And then you gotta repent.
It’s not enough to confess. You gotta repent. Repent is a big word, it basically means turn around, you’re facing one way toward all these desires, now face away from those desires toward Jesus.
What do you need to cut out of your life to pursue satisfaction in God and what He has given you, how can you pursue contentment? Do you need to delete those apps, you need to ask a trusted friend and get their advice about the specific steps you should take, don’t leave this in an idea realm, if you leave it in an ideal realm, you’re not repenting… You gotta change.
So what repentance is? Transformation takes places. You turn from your sin, you put it to death, you turn to God, you’re alive in Him and the grace that He gives. So if you want growth in this area, you have to turn… Stop watching those shows. Stop Window Shopping for your new tour, your new house, your new car, etcetera, other desires are much more tricky, the desire for somebody else’s marriage, and how good it seems the desire for somebody else’s career, you may not be so easily able to cut that out of friends life, so you desperately need a friend to help you, they can give great advice, a trusted Christian friend, to come around you where you’re hard-hearted and points you to the right way and encourage you every day.
What’s called today?
Repent, and then guess what, you do, it’s not just that, because if we left it there, that the… You would never see growth, you would never see progress, that’s basically humanism, confessing to a higher power and then trying to do better… It’s not all Christianity is.
Christianity is about you discovering your greatest joy, your greatest desire, the satisfaction of your soul, it’s about discovering, it’s about casting and seeing that the Lord, he is good, it’s about delighting yourself in the Lord, it’s about discovering at the pleasures at God’s right hand or forever more.
It’s not enough.
Just do all those other things. You also have to turn and latch on to the one who satisfies your soul, turn away from those sins and turned him, so in that moment when you’re tempted to grow discontent with your career, your living situation with your house, with your spouse, with your job, you need to settle your heart, take a deep breath, recognize that God has not given that thing to you, and recognize what he has given you, and then pray to God and ask Him to help you be okay with that, God and your sovereignty and your goodness, you have given me, this marriage, this house, these kids. This career, whatever it might be.
Thank you. Thank you.
You can pray something like, God, my default sinful reactions right now are to desire that thing… That’s because I was born a sinner. I live in a sinful culture that constantly wants to upset my satisfaction in you, but I want to desire you above all things. I wanna be satisfied with what you have given to me, thank You that You are good, thank you that you sat a spot my soul, thank you that you are forgiven me with wonderful grace, train my desires to lock on to you, train my heart to grow content with what you have given to me, that’s called renewing your mind.
That kind of prayer.
You’re trying to think the right thoughts, you’re putting on biblical truth, you’re tying together scripture verses, you know, in a desperate attempt to believe the right thing in that moment, that is fighting, you’re sitting… People think fighting your sin is here, are there… Most of the battle for your sin happens in those moments when you recognize your sin, but you desperately have no idea what to do, so all you do is say, God help me, God help me to… And then you remind yourself of scriptural truth, and you say, God help me, that’s where you win at winner lose in this area, and then you love… Listen, don’t you love what’s so wrong about breaking the 10 command, Tenth Commandment. Well, part of it is because you’re not loving your neighbor… Right.
I love the Boston Celtics. Many of you know that this year there was an interesting thing that happened and it could have ruined the Celtic team if one of the players wasn’t very mature. There was a guy, his name is Jason Tatum, he made the all-star team. And both Jason Tatum and a guy named Jalen Brown were kind of getting better and better at the same rate, and they were both about the same level, but Jason Tatum made the all-star team and jail and Brown did it.
And Jaylen Brown was disappointed, but here’s what he said, You’ve got to want for your brother, what you want for yourself, and here’s what’s been said about him and others on that team, so few people are genuinely happy when someone else has success, they are one of them and if the self as well, when the Celtics win the championship this year, it’ll be because of un-selfishness like that, ’cause that team sticks together and fights for one another, unless it’s the same way with you and me, so few people are willing to be genuinely happy about their friends marriage, their friend’s kids, accomplishments, their friend’s house, their friend’s career, their friend’s status of life, whatever… Are you going to be one of those who are genuinely happier, you’re gonna be one of those who when the front has a little moment of success right away jump to dissatisfaction in your own life, eventually that’s gonna give birth… Well, first of all, it will prevent love from your neighbor, but second, it’s going to give birth in your life to some bitterness toward them for what they have, and you don’t…
I’ve heard it said like this before, the only time you look in someone else’s bull is to check to see if they have enough… I really like that.
Not comparing, but to make sure that they’re full, that they’ve got love, that they’re supported, that they’re blessed, and if they don’t have enough, how can you meet that need? That’s love.
The kind of person like This has self-forgetfulness, they’ve forgotten what they have, they merely experience your joy in sympathy as you take success and as you are happy with your life or that new possession, they are genuinely happy with you.
Man, if we had a church full of friends like that, we would be so much better off.
Let’s pursue that together. Stop comparing. Stop covering. It’s put away sinful desires is put away discontentment to satisfaction. It’s finer. Satisfaction in God.
And let’s love one another.
Let’s pray, we’re gonna close our service with communion and a song.
Would you just take a moment here right now and quietly examine your heart… What desires do you have as I was talking, what was God bringing to your heart, in your mind that you’re saying… Yeah, that one right there. That one right there. I know what you’re talking about, God, I know you’re working in me right now, God. I confess that to God right now and rely on His grace to forgive you.
Have mercy on me O God, According to your steadfast love. According to your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Washed me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin, For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.
You and You only have I sinned and done what is evil in your site, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgments.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me.
O Lord, you delight and truth in the inward being, you teach me wisdom in the secret heart, so Purge me with hissop and I shall be clean, washed me and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness. Let the bones You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins. blot out my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, Take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation. And uphold me with a willing spirit.