is ingrained in our culture.

Exodus 20:17 (ESV)

“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's.”

This commandment goes a step beyond all the others and governs feelings, not just actions. This cuts to the heart of sin. Obey this commandment and most of the others fall into place. It’s curious that this one comes last; it seems so central to sanctification.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. – Matthew 15:19 (ESV)

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. – Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:27-28 (ESV)

Early in the 21st century, there was a movement in America that was openly based on covetousness – Occupy Wall Street. They resented what they called the [richest] one-percent. They didn’t care how you got rich – you could be a baseball star, a great surgeon, or Oprah Winfrey. If you were rich, you were hated.

So, of course, Occupy Wall Street had a huge crime problem.   (scroll down to Security)

If these folks knew diddly about the Bible, they would have seen that coming.

Coveting is universal in America. We are competitive in an unhealthy way. We call it “keeping up with the Joneses” but that sugar-coats what it really is. It’s violating the tenth commandment.

We’re all guilty of this. America is saturated with covetousness. In my neighborhood, even the Christmas lights are a competition.

Ask God to help rid us of covetousness. Also, we need to be more open about this and more willing to challenge our brothers and sisters; this is easier to see in others than in ourselves.

And it’s easy to miss how important this is. We forget that this is one of the big ten.

In practice, no other commandment is as underappreciated.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.