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The Ten Commandments

The Baker of Capernaum
Now Available
The Baker of Capernaum meets the carpenter of Nazareth.

Morality is like a tree

Values and Society

The morality of individuals and of societies can be portrayed as a tree:

a. the roots of morality are the historic influences from family and ancestors;

b. the trunk consists of basic views and values regarding right and wrong;

c. the branches are the rules and discipline that emerge from views and values;

d. the leaves and fruit are attitudes and behaviors, the end result of morality.

Secular societies presume to live by self-chosen rules which are detached from the historic pathways by which those rules have come. They think they can work with the branches and fruits only, without recognizing the crucial ongoing input of the roots and trunk.

This policy is not only ungrateful and dishonest towards the past and present of a country, it is also completely unpractical and irresponsible towards the future of a country. Branches and fruit will wither and die if they are not continuously fed by the roots and trunk. Likewise, rules and behaviors will collapse if they don’t stay in touch with historic roots and values - such as faith and tradition.

The Ten Commandments (summarized by the Great Commandment of Christ) have been an integral historical part of the core values of most western countries. Much of our legal and social rules flow from the sense of right and wrong promoted by these codes of conduct.

WRONG

 RIGHT

Conscience discerns right from wrong.

 

Banning these God-given pillars of society from public places, puts new generations up for moral disaster. It is like setting a time-bomb in your own house.

It robs young and old of the common-sense insight of what is right and what is wrong. Without that strong moral discernment, internal morality decreases, and external rules have to be multiplied to curb destructive behaviors.

Because of the lack of personal values, every person has to be checked by someone else who also has to be checked, etc. In such circumstances, orderly and free society may be replaced by totalitarian rule, where those in power tyrannize the population. A scattered tyranny may also emerge where warlords or gang-leaders control certain areas which they black-mail and terrorize into submission.

Against this background, let us revisit the Ten Commandments, and ask ourselves: is there anything wrong with them? If those core values have served our ancestors well, why do we think we are better off without them?

If we discard of God’s recipe for a happy and orderly society, how else will we determine what is right, what is just, and what is good for all? Man-made values have no stability - they can easily be swayed by propaganda and by the fashionable ideas of the day.

And when we discover that we cannot keep the Ten Commandments perfectly, they may open up an even better alternative for us - they may lead us to a Savior who has paid for our sins and who enables us through His Spirit to practice the Great Commandment with joy.

~~~~~

 

The following lessons on the 10 Commandments
are from a devotional Bible study on the Old Testament,
'The Yearning of Yahveh'

You may order the book from AuthorHouse.com or at your local bookstore.
Read first 50 pages for free.
Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved.
Click on The Yearning of Yahveh. Then click Save a Copy.

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Preparing for Worship

God invites, sanctifies, and meets them.

Exodus 19

 Three months after they had left Egypt, Israel arrived at Mount Horeb (Sinai). God’s promise to Moses was fulfilled—the liberated nation would worship Him at the same place where God had appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:12). The people had to be properly prepared for worship.

This meeting was God’s plan. In His love, He wanted to come close to them, but not too close lest His holiness devour them in their sinfulness. A respectful distance had to be maintained. Moses mediated between God and people, as Jesus does for us today (Rom. 8:34, 1 Tim. 2:5, 1 John 2:1).

God first sent a message of love to His people. He reminded them of what He had done to the Egyptians and how He had cared for them during the plagues and during their journey to Mount Sinai: “I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.” God was glad to have them there. All nations belong to God, but Israel would be His special instrument to bless the nations (Gen. 12:3) if they would be faithful to Him. Moses brought this message of Yahveh’s yearning to the people, and he took their positive response back to God.

      Sanctifying the nation was the second stage of preparation. During the next two days, they had to be cleansed physically and spiritually. God had provided the water. To observe a respectful distance, the mountain was fenced off. They had to kill any trespassing person or animal from a distance.

On the third day God descended on the mountain in a cloud of smoke accompanied by lightning, thunder, and trumpet sounds. While the mountain quaked and the people trembled, Moses led them to the foot of the mountain. Moses spoke to God, and God answered him in a loud voice that could be heard clearly by the massive crowd. Once again, the people were warned not to set foot on the mountain. Only Moses and Aaron were allowed to ascend.

Then a whole nation heard the most impressive sermon ever delivered to mankind. Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount as the Son of God in His humility. At Mount Sinai, God delivered the Ten Commandments in glory. The rumbling mountain was His pulpit and Israel was His congregation. His voice was so awe-inspiring that the people pleaded with Moses to bring God’s Word to them for they could not bear to listen to God Himself (Ex. 20:19). They were so overwhelmed by God’s holiness that they did not notice His outreaching love.

A prayer: Lord, You’ve carried me too on eagles’ wings.

A thought: Do I prepare seriously for worship?

 

John R. Kohlenberger III (1987): "The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament,"
Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. (Read from left or right).

 

Undivided Loyalty

The first commandment

Ex. 20:1-3, Deut. 5:4-7

 Although we will never fathom the full depth of God’s Word, including the Ten Commandments, we should always try to improve our understanding of revelations from God’s mind and heart. Remember, “God spoke all these words” to His people. He reached out to them and identified Himself as “I AM.”

Before asking anything of them, He first reminded them of what He had already done for them: “I am Yahveh, your God. I brought you out of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.” God’s law was not a way to earn salvation but a way to thank God for salvation already received as a gift. Likewise, He frees sinners from sin, their “place of slavery” (John 8:34), by the atoning death of His Son. Yahveh yearns for the salvation of sinners and for their response of thanksgiving, that is: doing His will because they trust and love Him (John 14:15).

God expects saved sinners to obey His commandments on ground of what He DID, creating and saving them, and on ground of who He IS—Yahveh, the eternal “I am” (Ex. 3:14). The first commandment demands undivided loyalty to Him: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” No other gods in His presence (and He is omni-present). Out of love and respect for Him—no other gods.

Although nine of the commandments are given in negative form, “you shall not,” each implies things we should avoid and things we should do.

The first commandment demands that we avoid all idolatry, magic, occult, superstition, and worshiping of creatures, including living or deceased people. An idol (false god) may be more than a statuette; it can be anything or anybody we trust in place of, or alongside of, the one true God.

The positive side of the first commandment urges us to acknowledge, trust, love, respect, serve, and praise the one true God in accordance with His Word. In humility and patience, we should look to Him alone to provide all our needs. We should worship Him as caring Father, saving Son, and comforting Spirit. Although we will never fully understand His Being and His Persons, we should accept Him as He revealed Himself in Scripture.

Yahveh’s first commandment demands that we accept Him for who He is and shape our lives accordingly. The commandment is loaded with grace and love, but also with awesome holiness and authority. God is not asking us; He’s telling us. He put our awful sin debt on His Son. Therefore, He demands wholehearted dedication by grateful citizens of His kingdom.

A prayer: Father, Savior, Comforter, You deserve my full dedication.

A thought: Who or what have been my idols?

 

 

Word and Image

The second commandment

Ex. 20:4-6, Deut. 5:8-10

 God’s voice made the earth quake and the people tremble. To the first commandment (no other gods) He added the second: no images of God and no images of anything else used as an object of worship or as a channel of worship. God knew humanity’s ability to rationalize, giving itself excuses to bend the rules. If God had stopped at “no other gods,” people would still make images and convince themselves that they worshiped the one true God through those images. God blocked that avenue immediately.

We should not exonerate ourselves too easily regarding this command. Although we may not make physical images of God, we do make images of God in our imagination. A false belief system about God may be such an image. People who think of God as only a God of wrath are guilty of making a false image of God. Likewise, those who think of God as a God of love only who will never condemn sinners to hell are also guilty of making a false image of God. All theories about God and Christ (God incarnate) that are not in line with Scripture violate the second commandment.

God backed up this command with a self-revelation, with a threat, and with a promise. He revealed Himself as a jealous God—He yearns for our undivided love and is not willing to share our devotion with anybody or anything else. He is also patient and merciful, waiting for several generations before He executes justice, giving ample time for repentance. And on those who do serve Him wholeheartedly, He pours out His blessings for many generations. Children learn by example. Just as bad examples can jump over from one generation to the next, so good examples can be handed down from generation to generation.

What is the positive side that we should do? We should worship God in the way He prescribed in His Word. To do that, we have to study His Word and so acquaint ourselves with His will. He wants the gospel to spread by the preaching of His WORD (Rom. 10:14-17). Jesus was the true image of God (John 14:9, Col. 1:15), but it pleased God to leave us only word pictures of Him.

We may use visual means to explain God’s Word. Jesus used object lessons like seed and leaven in His parables. People may not worship images on a screen, but permanent statues or paintings in church may eventually serve that purpose. The first commandment says: Worship God, not gods. The second says: Worship God according to His Word, not through images.

A prayer: Lord, keep my ideas about You in line with Your Word.

A thought: Do I try to bend this rule with a yes-but game?

  

God’s Name

The third commandment

Ex. 20:7, Deut. 5:11

 

After God had spelled out to His people WHO they must worship and HOW, He shifted the focus to His NAME and to His DAY. God wants His name to be honored and respected, not disgraced and degraded. Jesus put God’s name first in His model prayer: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”

The Bible uses various names for God like Yahveh (LORD), Adonai (Lord), Elohim (God), and Abba (Father). Each one of His names describes an aspect of His character. To abuse any one of His names slanders His character.

The phrase “You shall not misuse the name of Yahveh” convinced post-exile Jews not to say this name ever. When they came to this name in Scripture, they said “Adonai” instead. The medieval Masoretes added the vowels of Adonai to Yahveh, and so Yahveh came to be pronounced as Jehovah. However, the prophets did not hesitate to declare, “Thus says Yahveh.” God only forbids the misuse of His name. God wants His people to remember Him by the name Yahveh from one generation to the next (Ex. 3:15).

To honor God’s name, we have to avoid any negative remarks about God, as well as using any of His names for cursing, perjury, and even unnecessary oaths. Oaths should be used sparingly and seriously. When authorities demand it from citizens or when it is needed to confirm truth and trustworthiness, it has to be used in a way that will honor God and serve others. By an oath, I am calling upon God to witness to my truthfulness and to punish me if I swear falsely. Therefore, such an oath has to be taken in the name of the one true God, for no creature is worthy of such honor.

A short but fierce threat is added to this commandment: God will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses or dishonors His name. Immediately we are all guilty, for all of us have sinned and sin dishonors God’s name.

 However, by accepting God’s Son as our Savior and allowing God’s Spirit to change our hearts and lives, we start to glorify God’s name. There is nothing more glorifying to the name of God on earth than the salvation of sinners. Therefore, God went to great lengths to open the way of salvation to them. He urges saved sinners by the Great Commission to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth so that other sinners can be saved too.

God is merciful in His divine discipline—His condemning Law drives us to His saving Son (Gal. 3:24).

A prayer: Father, I want to honor Your name by what I think, say, and do.

A thought: Do I insult the Father by rebelliousness?

  

God’s Day

The fourth commandment

Ex. 20:8-11, Deut. 5:12-15

Israel had to serve God daily, but they had to use every seventh day to make loving contact with God and with other believers. Yahveh yearns for inter-action with His children. On that day, they and their children, servants, strangers, and animals had to stop ordinary work. After creation, God had rested on the seventh day and blessed and sanctified it.

God tells His people to work for six days and fulfill all their duties so that they can give their undivided attention to God and to His kingdom on the seventh day. It brings them in touch with God, others, self, and creation.

The day of rest is not meant for laziness. We have to stop our work in order to attend to our Father and His interests. We have to assemble to worship Him together. That includes expressing praises and thanksgiving, listening to His Word, partaking of the sacraments, and bringing prayers and offerings for the expansion of His kingdom and for helping the poor. The Sabbath pointed to the eternal Sabbath after death when believers will forever cease sinning and will glorify God forever for the salvation He provided in His Son (Heb. 4:9-11).

When God’s Son walked on earth as a human being, He clashed with the religious leaders repeatedly concerning their views on the Sabbath. The leaders were fixated on what they should NOT do on the Sabbath to maintain purity. Jesus focused on what they should DO to show love for God and for others. Therefore, healing on the Sabbath was completely wrong for the leaders, while it was completely correct for Jesus. He pointed out to them that they looked after their animals on the Sabbath and that priests served in the temple on the Sabbath. The rules for needs, emergencies, charities, and worship override the rules of the Sabbath. Jesus concluded: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark. 2:27). God knows man’s needs.

On the one hand, we must guard against disrespect for the day of rest ordered by God. On the other hand, we must guard against legalism about it, thereby obeying the letter of the law but forgetting the spirit of it.

Jesus summarized the first four commandments by saying, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). That is the true spirit of the fourth commandment, as well. God wants quality time with His children, who should have the same yearning toward their heavenly Father.

A prayer: Father, show me how to use my day of rest.

A thought: Do I ignore the God-given rhythm for mankind?

 

Respecting Authority

The fifth commandment

Ex. 20:12, Deut. 5:16

This commandment forms a bridge between the first and the second table of the Law. God appointed authorities to look after our relationships with God and with fellow human beings (Rom. 13:1-7).

Parents are the first authority children know. However, long before discipline starts, children enjoy the loving care of their parents (or parent-figures). This care should remain the main role of parents during their children’s development, the umbrella under which their authority receives its rightful place. God’s discipline is wrapped in love. Other authorities, from local to international, should follow this example and exercise their discipline under the umbrella of care.

Children honor their parents when they express love, trust, and respect for them. They can do this by spending quality time with them, affirming their feelings with words, deeds, attitudes, gifts, caring, and sharing. They honor their parents by maintaining lifestyles that do not shame them and by helping them when needed. Show love to God in the same way.

The fifth commandment also addresses a negative attitude that started with Adam and Eve and that is experienced by all human beings. It is the propensity to rebel against authority and to “throw off the chains” (Ps. 2:1-3). People rebel in many ways, but when driven to extremes, rebellion usually leads to dreadful injury to people and to unnecessary damage to property.

God is certainly not against our right to express our complaints, but He warns us to be cautious lest we hurt others and ourselves by undermining community authorities. “Honor your father and mother” is a figure of speech that includes all legitimate authorities in spite of their imperfection. No parent or other authority is perfect, but we have to honor them.

God used the “stick and carrot” approach. He issued the death penalty for those who curse their parents (Ex. 21:17), but He added a promise of a long life to those who honor their parents. It also applies to our relationship with the heavenly Father. Those who reject Him and the salvation He offers will suffer hell; those who honor Him by accepting His salvation will enjoy eternal life.

Although not stated explicitly here, it is implied and emphasized in other parts of Scripture that parents/authorities should act in a way that will make it possible for their children/citizens to honor them (Eph. 6:1-9). Authority figures who abuse those in their care forfeit their privilege to be honored.

A prayer: Lord, help parents and authorities to be honorable.

A thought: How do I behave toward my parents and my authorities?

 

Respect for Life

The sixth commandment

Ex. 20:13, Deut. 5:17

This commandment opens up many questions. For some, it is okay to kill humans in war and for certain crimes, to kill animals for food, or to combat pests that threaten our livelihood. For others, all life is sacred and should be protected, even when huge damage is done by rodents and insects. Some are pro-life in certain areas and pro-death in other areas.

Does the sixth commandment prohibit all killing or just some killing? Does it prohibit destructive attitudes as well? It demands life and death decisions from us on abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research, justice, war, attitudes, and eating habits. The commandment itself does not provide all the answers. We have to look at the rest of Scripture for direction.

God allowed man to eat certain animals (Gen. 9:3, Lev. 11). He ordered that certain animals be sacrificed to signify forgiveness of sin. He abhorred murder and human sacrifices so much that He prescribed the death penalty for such crimes. He wiped out several communities because of their sins. God is the source of life—He gives life to all and He takes it back from all.

Jesus gave new meaning to the sixth commandment when He warned against angry heart attitudes (Matt. 5:21-26). Anger in the heart may first spill over as abusive verbal or non-verbal messages before it is expressed in aggressive deeds. These may become fatal if allowed to escalate.

“Wars” between groups and individuals are fed by hatred and fueled by revenge upon revenge. Eventually, it is impossible to determine who is most guilty and who should make the first move to end the cycle of violence. In spite of international conventions on war, the ethics of war is subjectively interpreted by every warring group. And what is okay for strong countries is not always okay for weak countries, like having nuclear weapons.

“You shall not kill” commands us to avoid any thought, word, or deed that can harm others or ourselves and to activate those thoughts, words, and deeds that will protect others and ourselves and promote the safety and well-being of all. Blessed are the peacemakers—they will inherit the earth.

The golden rule, “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12 NIV), and the Great Commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” are included in the sixth commandment. It covers body, soul, and spirit of self and others—even those that we do not like (Luke 10:25-37, Matt. 5:44-45).

A prayer: Lord, help me obey this command in letter and in spirit.

A thought: Are my pro-life and pro-death viewpoints in line with Scripture?

 

Sexual Morality

The seventh commandment

Ex. 20:14, Deut. 5:18

After the need for air, water, and food, sex probably has the strongest influence on human behavior. Although it is not a physical necessity, its link with social and emotional needs makes it quite difficult to ignore. The Creator built it into our systems. He made Adam and Eve in such a way that they needed closeness with each other. Yahveh also yearns for the exchange of love with His people.

This mutual fulfillment is not achieved all at once, and it does not stay that way by itself, either—as many honeymoon couples have discovered with a shock. The relationship can only become and remain fulfilling with continuous fine-tuning of the give-and-take process through many subtle verbal and non-verbal interactions. Because of this sensitive process, you can’t have a fulfilling relationship with everyone. You have to search for a mate who is willing to persevere with you on a long-term journey.

Because God made us this way, He knows what is good for us and what will destroy us. He commanded that we neither harm the relationships of others nor harm ourselves with wrong relationships. We must avoid adultery and immorality and strive for good marriages. Whether married or single, we must maintain our bodies as temples of God (1 Cor. 6:18-20).

God did not give His Law to spoil our fun, but to secure our joy. He knew that the pleasure of immorality would destroy the joy of a good relationship with Him and with a spouse, and maybe even the joy of a healthy body. By putting up a fence, He protects us against falling into an immoral abyss.

Jesus told us to eradicate the sinful inclination at its roots: the sinful desire in the heart. Those who lust after a person (regardless of that person’s sex or age) have already started with immorality (Matt. 5:27-32). When Jesus advised that we should pluck out the evil eye and chop off the sinful hand, He did not mean amputation—that would harm the temple of God. He showed us that what is brought in by the senses (eye) is processed in the heart (by mind, feelings, and will) and is then put into action (hand). We have to focus our senses on the right things, purify our thinking-feeling-willing processes, and steer our actions in the right direction.

Jesus knew how our physiology and psychology influence our spirituality. He did not separate these three aspects of our being as we often do.

A prayer: Lord, purify my senses, heart, and actions.

A thought: Do I like to play near the edge of the abyss?

 

Honesty and Kindness

The eighth commandment

Ex. 20:15, Deut. 5:19

The spirit of each commandment represents much more than the letter of the Law. Father and mother stands for all legitimate authority, kill symbolizes all animosity, and adultery typifies all sexual immorality. In the same vein, steal epitomizes all material harm done to others by deed or neglect.

As we study the laws God gave to His people through Moses, we will find that the Ten Commandments were explained later in more detail. We can only read into each commandment what Scripture allows us to read into it. “You shall not steal” includes taking from others in a dishonest way (such as stealing, overcharging, fraud, or illegally withholding just goods, wages, debts, rent, taxes, or offerings). We violate this command when we allow others to suffer loss by not looking out for their interest (for instance, when I see someone in need or being robbed or attacked and do nothing about it). Through the prophet Malachi (3:8-10), God said we can rob Him by withholding our tithes and offerings. We may also overstep this commandment when we harm our families by overspending or being stingy.

The positive side of the eighth commandment calls on us to do all we can to protect the property of others and ourselves by courteously cooperating, being kindly alert, supporting law and order to keep our roads and neighborhoods safe, and supplying the needs of the less fortunate.

Jesus issued stern warnings to those who hold back on charity when they see someone in need, and He promised great rewards to those who open up their hearts to the needy. “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom ... for I was hungry and you gave Me food ...” (Matt. 25). His parable of the Good Samaritan remains a timeless example of what we should do and avoid doing regarding human need and suffering. The priest and Levite in this parable refused to help the wounded man, while the Samaritan gave himself, his time, and his means to render help (Luke 10).

Sometimes we try to maintain an artificial border between Sunday and the rest of the week, between the spiritual and the material. The eighth commandment tells us clearly that God is King over everything and everybody and that He lays down the rules for money and possessions, too. What others and we have was granted to us by the Owner of the universe, and as stewards and custodians, we have to use it to His glory and for the common good.

A prayer: Lord, I want to serve You and others with what I am and have.

A thought: Where do I “steal” from the Lord or from others?

 

Truth and Love

The ninth commandment

Ex. 20:16, Deut. 5:20

 All people love and hate the truth. They love to hear the truth about others—especially the juicy stuff—and  many love to pass it on, too. However, they hate unfavorable truth about themselves, especially when it is dispersed by gossip. In order to promote their own positions, people from all walks of life are inclined to highlight their own merits and the faults of their competitors, while they minimize their own faults and the merits of their competitors.

The finger pointing that started in Paradise (Gen. 3:12-13) flourished with many other defense mechanisms as man waded deeper into the marsh of sin. The ninth commandment is an antidote for all the deception that blinds man to the truth about self, others, God, and creation. The Trinity is strongly associated with truth (John 14:6, 17; 17:17) and Satan with lies (John 8:44).

Prohibiting false witness or testimony against one’s neighbor reaches much farther than the court of law. It includes any dispersing of information and the daily interactions with fellow human beings. There, too, we must stand for truth and against deceit in all its subtle forms like gossip, framing, twisting someone’s words, withholding or over-emphasizing information to create false perceptions or suspicions, phrasing statements to create vague innuendos without clear charges, condemning anyone without a fair hearing based on reliable information, and harming someone’s reputation with lies or with twisted information. Jesus said our yes must be yes, and our no, no.

Speaking the truth in all circumstances can also hurt other people, and then one has disobeyed the essence of the second table of the Law, namely to love one’s neighbor. For example: When one gives correct information to the enemy in time of war, resulting in the killing of one’s own people, then one has overstepped the law of love. When Samson told the truth to the enemy about his strength, he lost his eyes and later his life (Judg. 16).

Truth without love can be very cruel. If telling nasty truth about others does not serve justice, but only hurts those who made mistakes, then I may serve the Great Commandment of love better by shutting up. The apostle Paul warns Christians against the cycle of vindictiveness (Gal. 5:14-15), and he urges them to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Our debates about doctrine must never become loveless battles. The law of truth must stay part of the law of love, which characterizes the second table of the Ten Commandments.

A prayer: Lord, help me to stay truthful and loving.

A thought: How do I reconcile truth and love?

 

Contentment

The tenth commandment

Ex. 20:17, Deut. 5:21

The first nine commandments implied that sin starts in the heart; therefore, the tenth is not a summary of the first nine. It is a separate commandment in its own right. It points to a state of mind that is discontented with what one has, an attitude that wants what others have.

This attitude may spawn actions of greed that rob others of what is dear to them. The ninth commandment seems to be an extension of the eighth, which also deals with property. But covetousness is not focused on property only. It goes beyond house, wife, servants, and animals and includes envy regarding position, honor, talents, achievements, and relationships. It is not just a desire to have a wife similar to my neighbor’s, but to acquire my neighbor’s wife so that he will not have her anymore.

If coveting is to be avoided, then we should go for the opposite: an attitude of contentment that is grateful for what we are and have and an attitude of generosity that grants to others what they are and have. Then we can be proud about our successes and enjoy the talents and achievements of others without pushing them out of their privileges. This attitude will bring new dimensions into competition between persons, companies, and countries. They will seek ways to promote their own interests without walking over others.

In His Word, God shows us the evil of covetousness and its dreadful consequences. King David’s adultery with Bathsheba robbed Uriah of his wife and his life, and it brought misery to David’s family (2 Sam. 11-13). King Ahab’s coveting of his neighbor’s vineyard robbed Naboth of his vineyard and his life, and the king lost his throne and his life (1 Kings 21-22). Achan’s love for gold and silver brought defeat to Israel and death to him and to his family (Josh. 7). God warned Israel many times by the prophets not to be enticed by the immoral sexual desires associated with idolatry. However, they would not listen, and eventually He sent them into exile.

Jesus warned that adultery starts with lusting after someone (Matt. 5:28) and that the worshiping of mammon (money) starts with worry about material things (Matt. 6:24-34). He showed us the futility of winning the whole world but losing one’s soul (Mark 8:36). He underlined this truth with the parables of the “Rich Fool” (Luke 12), the “Prodigal Son” (Luke 15), and the “Rich Man and Lazarus” (Luke 16). God wants us to be grateful, not greedy.

A prayer: Father, fill me with gratitude for Your many gifts.

A thought: Do I enjoy what I have, or do I fret over what I don’t have?

 

~~~~~