The Ten Commandments

10 - You Shall Not Covet

an article based on a sermon

by Jon Bowles

given 1 September 2007

(PLAY FROM START)

In this series on the Ten Commandments, we have gone through each of the commandments step-by-step, trying to get to the spirit of the law, the very intent, the principle, the mind of God in giving the commandments.

God's Tenth Commandment, "You shall not covet" is spiritual in nature. Paul explains this in Romans 7:

"What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (8) But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence [literally "to burn with passion"]. For without the law sin was dead. (9) For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died."[once I really started to understand the spiritual intent.] (Romans 7:7-9)

Paul highlights the tenth commandment, "You shall not covet," because it gives a spiritual aspect, or dimension, within the Ten Commandments.

"And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. (11) For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. (12) Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. (13) Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. [In other words, we can really understand what we were like deep down.] (14) For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin." (Romans 7:10-14)

A human, carnal, fleshly mind is not going to grasp the spiritual intent of the law.

Covetousness has to do with the mind. It is not something that we physically do. It is something that we do, and no one knows that we are doing it.

There is a spirit, an intent, a principle behind the Tenth Commandment (which is spiritual in nature) that gives us more of God's mind, God's character, which is what we are trying to get to in this series on the Ten Commandments. The points that we will cover are:

Mental Idolatry

In looking at mental idolatry, we will look at the tenth commandant itself, the final commandment that was thundered from Mount Sinai by the One who became Jesus Christ.

"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." (Exodus 20:17)

The Tenth Commandment is talking about coveting physical things that our neighbour has. In today's society this commandment is very difficult for us, because everything revolves around getting people to covet, to want more and more things. Television advertisements are there to get you to want things. Actors are of a certain type to be desirable in a lustful way. In the supermarket, sweets are put at children's eye level at the checkout to get them to put pressure on the parents to buy them. The whole society is geared towards consumerism. But we are told not to covet "anything that is our neighbour's."

"Covet" can be used in a positive way. We can desire things that are perfectly all right. At the Feast of Tabernacles, we are told: "You shall bestow your money on whatever your soul lusts (covets) after," (Deuteronomy 14:26). We save second tithe throughout the year in order to be able to do this.

In Genesis 2 where this word "covet" is first found, it is used in a positive way. "And out of the ground made the Eternal God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:9)

The word "pleasant" is "covetous." It is something that you look at and desire. God has designed the trees, their fruit, the way they are constructed in such a way that we want to work with them. Look at the various hardwoods that we use in furniture, in doors and beams. They are beautiful – woods to be desired. God made every tree in the garden desirable.

A negative use of the word "covet" is found in Genesis 3: "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired [coveted] to make one wise..." (Genesis 3:6) That desire is a form of mental idolatry. We find ourselves in a society that is desirous of things they should not have. What should be in our heart is the law of God, the Torah; but oftentimes we find something else – a desire for things that we should not have.

What was the problem during the age of Noah? "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5)

The word "imagination" is not the same Hebrew word as "to covet." The English word "imagination" means an "image," like the image of an idol in our minds. The imagination of man's heart was evil continually. This ties into the subject of covetousness, what mankind was wanting. The direction they were going was totally evil.

Paul describes covetousness as mental idolatry. Notice the context here in Colossians 3: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1)

Anyone who is converted should be "risen with Christ." We come up out of the baptismal water a new person, with a new life, begotten of God, waiting to be born eventually into the Kingdom of God.

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth [our perspective has to markedly change]. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (4) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:2-4)

We are to have the same frame of mind as our elder Brother. When Christ appears, so will all of the children of God who have that same mindset.

"Mortify [put to death] therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [Greek: epithumia – from which we get the word "thermos" or "thermometer" – means, "to be hot," "to burn with passion"] and covetousness, which is idolatry:" (Colossians 3:5-5)

Paul ties covetousness to idolatry. We can see this covetousness, this mental form of idolatry, throughout society today. We in God's Church should have the Torah, the law of God, within our hearts in a spiritual sense. Yet, what we have oftentimes is something else – something that we are wanting, trying to get for ourselves, setting our desire on. This is why covetousness is determined as idolatry. We are setting up an image in our hearts ("the imagination of our hearts") of what we want, which is against what God is wanting. Mental idolatry is an aspect of the Tenth Commandment that we need to take note of.

Torah in our hearts

In the future, Israel will have a New Covenant relationship with God – not as we in God's Church will have as the Bride of Christ, but they will be children of God. Their relationship with God in the future will still be a family relationship, where God's law is written on the heart.

The word "law" or the Hebrew word "Torah" comes from a root word that means "to shoot" or "to point." It is what you are aiming for. The Torah is the way-pointer, the pointer to the way of life; and it must be placed in a certain location - in the heart of every single one of God's children.

"Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord Eternal; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel." (Ezekiel 11:17) In the future, physical Israel will be gathered and brought back to the land of Israel and will be put under the king-priests.

"And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence." (Ezekiel 11:18) People read over this and think that it means that Israel is going to just take away the idols, and certainly they will. The idols will be taken away physically and will be destroyed; but the idols that are set up in the heart , the covetousness, also need to be taken away.

"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh [speaking allegorically]: (20) That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God." (Ezekiel 11:19-20 )

This is the relationship that we have with God today. It is a relationship that we will take forward and teach in the future. The Torah will be written in the heart of physical Israel when they are returned to the land of Israel. They will be under the New Covenant, as children of God, part of the very family of God, where the laws of God, the Torah, the way-pointer is in the heart.

If the way-pointer is in the heart, covetousness has to go. The "detestable things" mentioned in verse 18 include covetousness. Coveting "anthing that is thy neighbour's" has to be removed if God's law is going to be there.

"Behold, the days come, saith the Eternal, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Eternal:" (Jeremiah 31:31-32)

Israel broke the Old Covenant relationship, which was a husband-wife relationship. The New Covenant relationship will be a husband-wife relationship as well. It is an espousal relationship today within the Church.

"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Eternal, I will put my law [Torah] in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Jeremiah 31:33)

As mentioned earlier, the Hebrew word "Torah" does not mean law as such. it is what you are aiming for. It includes the various laws and statutes that you find in scripture, but the "Torah" is the way-pointer to the way of life . In the New Covenant, the Eternal will put the Torah in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. When we are looking at covetousness, we are looking at something else in the heart. The Torah is not there, and that is the problem.

"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Eternal..."(Jeremiah 31:34)

Why will they know the Eternal? Because the way-pointers will be in the heart, pointing the way to the very character of God. The person is, therefore, following that pointing and not following the covetous way that we have in society today – covetousness for the latest television, computer, car, etc. That covetousness will not be in the heart. Instead, what will be there are the way-pointers that God has placed there, giving direction through the Spirit of God.

"... for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Eternal for I will forgive their iniquity... [they will recognize their iniquity and, therefore, have it covered by the blood of Christ] ... and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31:34)

The way-pointers will be in the very heart – not the lust after the neighbor's wife, house, computer, mobile phone, or whatever else we set our heart on that is wrong. It is not wrong to want a computer or a mobile phone or a wife or a house, but it is wrong when we set our minds on these things in a way that is against the way of God. That is the problem.

The way-pointers, the Torah must be in the heart. This is what the apostle Paul came to realize. He was initially under the physical interpretation of the law; and, therefore, his understanding was initially totally physical, totally carnal. He was keeping God's law, ticking all the boxes, so to speak, but he found his heart was still covetous, and that was the problem.

"If therefore perfection [the kind of perfection that God wants] were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?" (Hebrews 7:11)

Why do we need another High Priest if all can be done through the purely physical reading of the law?

"And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedec there ariseth another priest, (16) Who is made, not after the law of a carnal [physical] commandment, but after the power of an endless [eternal] life [Jesus Christ is the Eternal of old, who has inherent life within Him]. (17) For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec. (18) For there is verily a disannulling [setting aside] of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof." (Hebrews 7:15-18)

"The commandment" after the order of Aaron, from which the High Priest and the priesthood comes (verse 11), was not producing the perfection that was required.

"For the law made nothing perfect [this is the problem], but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."(Hebrews 7:19) If we draw near to God, there is our perfection. God is perfect. He has supreme, perfect, holy, righteous character. We are to draw near to this Being and become like Him, become His children. He imparts His spirit, which changes the very heart. Into the heart go the way-pointers; and with those way-pointers, covetousness can be pushed out.

"But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." (Hebrews 8:6)

"Was established" is the same Greek word we read in Hebrews 7:11 translated "received the law." Correctly translated, verse 6 should read: "But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which received the law upon better promises." It is the same law as in the Old Covenant, but it is received upon better promises, the promises of an "endless life."

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. (8) For finding fault with them [with the people, because their heart had not turned], he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: (9) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. (10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws [the Torah] into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:" (Hebrews 8:7-10)

The New Covenant is a relationship with the Father and also with Jesus Christ. It is a "better covenant" that "receives the law," the Torah. How? It receives the law into the heart of man, enabling him to be given eternal life!

"And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." (Hebrews 8:11)

In looking at the subject of covetousness, it is vital that the Torah, the way-pointer, be in our hearts. It is a better "receiving of the law," the place where the way-pointer needs to be. Having it - the law - merely written in a book is not going to be effective.

Contentment

Today's advertising profession, in their ads and commercials, are trying to make us dissatisfied with whatever we have or do not have. This is the essence of advertising in today's society. They are trying to make us want something that we do not have. Children are particularly affected. "If I only had this skateboard, then I would be completely, totally happy forever, and would never want anything ever again!" Then, if they get the skateboard, "If I only had this BMX bike..." It never ends. In today's society we are living continually in a state of suspended frustration.

How do we gain contentment, the opposite of covetousness?

"Let your conversation [conduct] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."(Hebrews 13:5) We are to be content with the things that we have, because God says He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is the source of everything that exists. The way-pointers and His Spirit have to be in our hearts, pointing the way to His character, not the next-door neighbour's house or wife or car or anything that is our neighbour's.

"So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."(Hebrews 13:6) This is our contentment, our peace of mind. God is our helper.

"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation [conduct]. (8) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (9) Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines [teachings]. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats [spiritual meat as well], which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." (Hebrews 13:7-9)

It is interesting that straight after this section in scripture about not being covetous and being content with what we have physically, Paul follows it with a spiritual application of covetousness as well, that some are not content with what they have spiritually, but are constantly trying to get another idea, another concept away from what we have been taught.

We see this in the Church. People have gotten "bug eyed" about certain topics. They get certain ideas in their mind which are out of line with the foundation that we were given. Eventually it will take them out of the Church. It will take them away from the way-pointers that need to be in the heart, the way-pointers to God's character, His mindset, to what He wants to do within us.

"Be careful [filled with care, over-anxious, become unglued, come apart at the seams] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."(Philippians 4:6) This is how to counteract the covetous atmosphere that we have within our society. We need to let God know what we need in prayer.

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

What are the way-pointers that Paul mentions? "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on [get your mind on] these things." (Philippians 4:8)

The law of God, when we understand its spiritual intent, actually produces these things we are to keep our minds on. It allows us to have them. It gives us pointers to achieving things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of a good report. Remember the word "Torah" does not mean just the Ten Commandments. It includes all of the first five books of the Bible and, by extension, the entire Bible. It means the mind of God, the way of God. It is not just the Ten Commandments that are to be in our heart. It is expanded beyond that! It is the Torah, the way, the very lifestyle , the life of God.

"Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. [Paul was under incredible pressure, yet he had peace through the difficulties that he faced.] (10) But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. (11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned [and we also need to learn], in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [It took Paul a while to learn this contentment. It is not something you learn overnight.] (12) I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound ["I know how to have many things and to have very little"]: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:9-13)

Learning to be content is done through Christ who actually does the strengthening. Through the indwelling of the very Spirit of God, and having the Torah, the way, the lifestyle of God within the heart, all the anxiety, the fretting is pushed out. A large degree of that fretting has to do with covetousness, wanting things that are not necessary or needed, and also things that God has said we should not be having, that are against His law.

Paul learned to be content. Contentment is a learning process. We are learning to apply this in a world that is very different from the world of Paul. We are applying it in a world that is never satisfied, never content, that has to have more and more in order to keep the economy going, that has mechanical manufacturing lines that they did not have in days gone by – all designed to make people discontent.

In I Timothy there is a particular word that Paul continually refers to that can be linked up to contentment; "For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." (I Timothy 2:2)

The word translated "godliness" does not mean to be "godly" ourselves. It literally means "good worship" – that we are worshipping God in a right way, a godly way, that we are approaching everything in a righteous, godly way.

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness... [Paul then defines this godliness, this right worship]: God [the One who became Jesus Christ] was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit [He went through His physical life to the end], seen of angels [He was resurrected and went back into the God family again], preached unto the Gentiles [through His disciples], believed on in the world [the world then believed the preaching that was given by the disciples], received up into glory." (I Timothy 3:16) In other words, the very born sons of God are received up into glory.

This is the "mystery of godliness," the entire process, doing things, living our lives in the right way – right worship.

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times [the time we find ourselves in] some shall depart from the faith [will not be in tune with the "mystery of godliness"], giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" (I Timothy 4:1)

"But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness [this good worship]. (8) For bodily exercise profiteth little [for a little while]: but godliness [this good worship] is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." (I Timothy 4:7-8)

"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness [according to this right form of worship]; (4) He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, (5) Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness [right worship]: from such withdraw thyself." (I Timothy 6:3)

"Gain," what we want to get, is the antithesis of godliness, of right worship. It is covetousness. Within the Church, some seem to give the impression that God wants all these wonderful, physical things for us. No. God wants holy, righteous, perfect character. He will give us all the physical blessings imaginable if such blessings accomplish this central goal of godliness, of right worship, of walking in the right way, with the way-pointers in the heart – and not covetousness.

"But godliness [good worship] with contentment is great gain [what we should be aiming for]. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." (I Timothy 6:6-7) We are going to leave behind – our wife, our house, everything we set our heart on physically. We can carry nothing out.

"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."(I Timothy 6:8) In other words, with a home to live in, clothes on the back, and food in the stomach, learn to be content.

"But they that will be [set their minds on being] rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is [a] root of all [kinds of] evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (I Timothy 6:9-10)

This is why faith is the final point I want to bring out. "Love of money" is erring from the faith. God owns everything. He owns all that we set our heart on. Why should we, therefore, covet anything? Why should we supplant what needs to be in the heart with physical things that should not be in the heart?

"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." (I Timothy 6:11)

It is vital that we learn godliness because we are going to be teaching it in the future. "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment." (Isaiah 32:1)

They have the law, the Torah of God, written in the heart; and they will then be teaching Israel and Judah the same thing in that New Covenant relationship where the law, the way-pointers, are in the heart. This then will get rid of all the frustration that we see in society today.

"And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." (Isaiah 32:17)

The Millennium will not just be an abundance of physical things. While there will be an abundance of physical things, what must be understood is that covetousness does not produce happiness. It produces frustration, because we will never, ever have everything that we want. But godliness with contentment is great gain.

The question is, what is in our hearts now? Do we allow the covetousness that is in our society today to be in our hearts to the point that it kicks out the way-pointers so that the mind and character of God is not there? It is not wrong to work toward goals, toward things that we need; but what is wrong is an attitude of mind of "If I only had this, then I would be happy." Every single one of us will have this attitude of mind if we allow ourselves to go the way of the world.

This attitude of covetousness must be changed. Are we ready to teach that "the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever"? The Millennium is not just about teaching people to work hard, to have the sower overtake the reaper (Amos 9:13). It is not just about right agricultural or architectural practices, but about training people to have the law of God in their hearts and to get rid of the covetousness that we find so prevalent today.

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, [why?] for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6)

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will have contentment. This is where contentment can be found. This is what we should have. It is what we will need to be teaching in the future. Even in a world that is going to be so filled with abundance that it will be absolutely mind-numbing, teaching godliness with contentment will be of paramount importance so that the people taught will not be striving against each other all the time, but will have contentment with what they have, working to give, using the words of their mouth to give, the way God defines that we should be.

Abundant life

I would encourage everyone to read Mr. Armstrong's article,"This is the Life – Real Abundant Living!" reprinted in the 1986 May issue of the "Good News" and found on our website, www.getbackontrack.org.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." (John 10:1) The world today has been robbed. Society steals happiness from people through the advertising profession, through trying to sell goods, striving to get you to desire something to such a degree that it makes you unhappy. This is not true, abundant living.

"But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep." (John 10:2) The door is Christ. It is parallel with the door in the original Passover (Exodus 12), where the doorposts were covered with blood. We go into the household of God through this door, through the sacrifice of Christ.

"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture [he will find the kind of food that he needs]. (10) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:9-10)

There is going to be an abundance of life – real, true life. It will be spirit life, yes, spirit life that does not have the continual frustration of covetousness. As spirit beings we are not going to be coveting someone's galaxy next door! Those that have that kind of mindset will not be there. That is why it is so important that we learn the right mindset today, to get our minds off covetousness and on the way-pointer, the way of life which is filled with the fruits of the very spirit of God – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."(John 14:6) Christ gives abundant life. He is the living Word. He was the Logos who gave the words of the Torah. When that Torah, the Way, goes into the heart, it kicks out the frustration of covetousness, because it is a different way.

" For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [fleshly], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) [What are the strongholds?] (5) Casting down imaginations [the images – "covetousness, which is idolatry"], and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge [the Torah, the way, the mindset, the character, the approach] of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (6) And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (II Corinthians 10:3-6)

In other words, we make sure to do whatever is necessary, when God reveals it, to align ourselves with His Way, to cast down the "imaginations," the images of the mind, the covetousness of what is our neighbour's. We are not going to be able to do this ourselves. We must have God's Spirit, His mind. We must go to God who will grant that. It is "... the love of God shed abroad in our hearts..." (Romans 5:5) that enables it to be possible. This then produces an abundant life that does not have the frustration of covetousness. Something else is there, in the heart – contentment.

"The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single [single minded], thy whole body shall be full of light. (23) But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (24) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:22-24)

We should not get our hearts set on physical things. We are going to have to teach this in the future in a world of total abundance.

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (26) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" (Matthew 6:25-26)

Does this mean to say that we do not reap and sow and gather into barns? Of course we do. But we are not to set our hearts on that. We understand that God is perfectly capable of looking after us, if we get our minds set on the right way.

"Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? (28) And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: (29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." (Matthew 6:27-29)

How is Christ described in Revelation 1? How is He arrayed? His countenance is as the sun, His eyes like a flame of fire. He is arrayed in glowing white garments, with a golden girdle. Why do we concern ourselves with raiment, with having the latest fashion of the day? There is no comparison.

"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness [being ready to enter into the Kingdom]; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:30-33)

It says in Hebrews 11 "They that say such things declare plainly that they seek a kingdom." (Hebrews 11:4) They do not look upon the things of this world as being their world. This is part of the process of actually "seeking first the kingdom of God."

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:34)

We need to get our priorities sorted. If we do, then the abundant life will follow. God will then give us the heart's desire. He will allow us to have the things that we, perhaps, set our minds on in times gone by, once we get our minds off them. But our focus has to be on the things of God, on righteousness. The way-pointer, the Torah has to be in the heart.

Faith

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. [Do we really believe this?] (9) Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? (10) Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? [If we ask for things that are right and good, is this not all right?] (11) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:7-11)

If we make sure to ask, and ask in faith, contentment will follow, because God will certainly provide. We need to trust Him completely that if we continue in His way, He will never desert us.

"A Psalm of David. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. (2) For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. (3) Trust in the Eternal, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. (4) Delight thyself also in the Eternal; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (5) Commit thy way unto the Eternal; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." (Psalm 37:1-5)

These are promises! If we trust in God, commit our way to Him, He will "bring it to pass." Remember what is important to God – holy, righteous character, so that we can then have a face that shines like the sun. We can then have the kind of power that says, "Let it be," and it is.

"And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. (7) Rest [relax, do not be uptight about things] in the Eternal, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (8) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. (9) For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Eternal, they shall [in time] inherit the earth. (10) For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. (11) But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (12) The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. (13) The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming." (Psalm 37:6-13)

God can see the end from the beginning. Living in a world that is chock-full of covetousness, we must have faith in this Being. We must have the long-term view that He has. What must be in our hearts is the Torah of God, the way-pointer, producing the character of God.

"The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. (15) Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken." (Psalm 37:14-15)

There will come a time when the wicked will either repent or "will not be," and chances are those who are prominent now won't be in the future. Why, therefore, be covetous, of like mind with the wicked?

In Deuteronomy 30 God refers to His law being in the heart. "For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. (12) It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? (13) Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? (14) But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart [where it needs to be], that thou mayest do it." (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)

The One who became Jesus Christ instructed Moses to give these words to the people. The law was to be "in thy heart." It is then quoted in Romans 9:

"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? (21) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" (Romans 9:20-21)

"What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. (31) But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. (32) Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; " (Romans 9:30-32)

If we are not careful we can look at the commandments in the same way, making a tick list of points and checking them off. This is not the right approach. The Torah, the way of God, is to be in the heart. We trust God, therefore, through His Holy Spirit, to convert us, to change us, to make us perfect.

"For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end [the focal point] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (5) For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. (6) But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)" (Romans 10:3-6)

God's law is a living law, a living word, so that we are the children of God and Christ is our elder Brother, the first born of many brethren.

"Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) (8) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;" (Romans 10:7-8)

It is faith in God to make us perfect, faith in the Potter having power over the "same lump," faith to let God work with us, to allow that righteousness of faith to be there. The Torah, the way-pointer in our heart gets rid of the frustration of covetousness. We are then made ready to teach the same way in the world tomorrow, and so produce a world of peace, quietness and assurance forever. (Isaiah 32:17)

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness [faith produces righteousness]; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation [unto rescue from this world]. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:9-11)

Covetousness allows something else to replace the Torah, the way of God. And that way of God is the living word, the living Christ that is in our hearts. It must never be replaced by anything that is against God's law, that we covet.


*Transcribed in article form by KA. *Edited by JB. 1"LORD" replaced with "Eternal" our edit throughout 2 Emphasis ours throughout.