A Calvin Theological Seminary Publication by Students & Alumni
Do Not Covet

Do Not Covet

We want what we don’t have

Since the dawn of time humanity has desired things that others have, or things that they are not allowed to have. All that it takes is to read the first three chapters of Genesis to recognize this fatal flaw. Although it’s difficult to imagine Eve feeling tempted to eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, it would be fair to say that it didn’t take much arm twisting by the serpent to get her and Adam to cave.

Throughout the Old Testament, you find characters like Cain who desired the affirmation of God for his dirt worship (offering God the thing which he had cursed), Saul longed for the blessing that David had (and attempted to kill him on this account), Solomon desired that which God had instructed the people of Israel to never desire: to marry foreign women. 

We have a coveting problem

When we talk about “coveting”, I usually think about the commandment to “not covet thy neighbour’s wife or livestock” (Exodus 20:17). As a kid I remember being taught the meaning of coveting as materially inclined; meaning that I wasn’t allowed to be jealous of the house, family, toys, or cars that other people had in life.

But that is not the depth of the commandment

I have had many discussions with believers about calling, God’s provision, and the plan He has for his kids. Personally I have experienced the providence of God in a tangible way. First was being called to ministry in a city that I would later move to, yet would step out in faith trusting that God would give me work to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head. On both faith exercises God provided a job and a place for me to call home without needing to do much leg work.

All of these things are only done by God’s benevolence

It is almost inevitable that some individuals will complain that “these other kids get everything handed to them on a silver platter” or “Why doesn’t God provide for me like that?”

Because your life will never be the same as others

And the difficulty for some is to long for what others have at the expense of praying for what God has for us It’s one thing to desire the convenience of a kitchen-aid pasta roller attachment for ones stand mixer (one thing I would like to have, yet can’t afford) or to desire a family. It’s another thing to desire to have the exact same things that God has ordained for others around you. The heart of the issue is dissatisfaction in the unique calling God has for each of us.

When we covet the blessing of others, we curse the call God has for us

What does this mean for us? It means that instead of looking at the blessing of others as a template and a prayer wishlist to ask God for, we must take a step back and think about what God has called each of us to do, and pray that God would foist us into the plan and purpose he has for each of us.

Long for the plot God plants you in

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