Covetousness Against God

In looking at our current age’s shattering of the 10 Commandments there is an overarching commandment that needs to be considered. It is a commandment that pulls everything into perspective and reveals one’s true allegiance. It is interwoven throughout scripture and never given an actual name. I will refer to it as:

Thou shalt not covet against God

This command is made clear by the interaction of Jesus with the rich young ruler. We tend to think the issue is the young man’s riches. Far from it. It deals with covetousness against God on all levels including all of the 10 Commandments. Here are the texts from Matthew and Luke:

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Matthew 19:16-22

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Luke 18:18-25

Coveting against God is fairly simple to grasp. What is difficult is embracing it.

We came into this world with nothing.
We will leave this world with nothing.
Nothing in our possession is ours.
We are stewards and never owners.
All belongs to God.

For who maketh thee to differ from another?
and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?
now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory,
as if thou hadst not received it?
I Corinthians 4:7

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Even other gods are not ours. The imagination that brought them into being is not ours. The craftsmanship that shaped them is not ours. Anything to do with other gods is not ours. To think so is covetousness against God.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Idol worshippers owe to God their minds, their skills, the material of the earth used to make idols, and the technology itself to shape the images. To make an idol and then to bow down and serve it is covetousness against God.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. We do not own the very words that come out of our mouths. God gave us speech. God gave us language. God gave us the ability to think and communicate. To think one has the right to speak that which is forbidden is to steal from God what is not ours. Then, to do the abhorrent, to actually blaspheme the one who gave you speech is covetousness against God.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. The days, the hours, the minutes, the seconds do not belong to us. All are God’s. He can direct them any way He choses. Every week He has given us six days to do our work, not seven. God gives us the reason why, but He didn’t have to. To take that seventh day and use it as you choose to use it is covetousness against God.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The Lord gave each of us a father and a mother. They might have wonderfully loved and cared for you or have abandoned you or even worse, horribly abused you. However, God created you through that union and then directed what is to be your proper conduct within that creative sphere. If you choose your own way of dealing with your parents you are taking a path that is not yours to own. You will have chosen a path that is covetousness against God.
  6. Thou shalt not kill. Life is given by God and should be taken by God. He made us and in His plan decrees our demise. It is His to give and His to take. That includes our own lives. We have no right to take our own life. To take a life that does not in any way belong to us is covetousness against God.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. God’s decree of marriage is very simple: the two shall become one. If you don’t know what that means then I will get graphically to the point. When a man puts his penis in a woman’s vagina, they have become one and therefore are married in the sight of God. It requires no magic marriage certificate or magic marriage ceremony. It is physical and decreed by God as that which makes the two one. To break that marriage relationship is equally as simple. It remains in force until death parts the relationship. God gave us sex and all the parts involved. We have no right to sex other than how God decrees. When anyone decides to operate sexually in his or her own way and according to their own rules they are guilty of covetousness against God.
  8. Thou shalt not steal. You own nothing. All is God’s. What is in your possession is what you are to be a steward over. To take what God did not give into your care is covetousness against God.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Lying and deceiving for what purpose? For vengeance? God says vengeance is His and not ours. To gain power over someone? All power is God’s. To deceive others in order to violate other commandments like adultery or stealing? Bearing false witness is covetousness against God.
  10. 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. The thoughts or desires to have that which God hasn’t put into your care is not yours. Desiring sex through pornography or some other illicit imagination or desire is not yours. The good things God put’s in your care are for you to enjoy. The light burdens he gives are for you to carry. They are all God’s and to covet that which God has not placed in your charge is covetousness against God.


The rich young ruler thought he was following all of God’s commandments. He figured that that after paying his tithes and offerings that his riches were his own. When Jesus shockingly told him that his riches weren’t his but God’s the rich young man revealed:

  1. He had placed the god of riches before God.
  2. He worshiped the image of riches or physical things.
  3. He took God’s name in vain by respecting and following the god of riches over the God of the Universe.
  4. He left sorrowfully because he didn’t want to give up his stolen goods. Goods that Jesus gave to the poor and the rich man no longer had stewardship over.
  5. He coveted the riches of the poor after Jesus ordered the rich man to give his riches to the poor.


You entered the world with nothing.
You will leave this world with nothing.
Where you end up in eternity is highly dependent upon
what you think you possess in this earthly existence.

Are you covetous against God?
If you are, then like the rich man,
you will most likely walk sorrowfully away from God.
Jesus says you cannot serve both God and mammon.
You cannot enter the Kingdom of God with covetousness against God.

For none of us liveth to himself,
and no man dieth to himself.
For whether we live,
we live unto the Lord;
and whether we die,
we die unto the Lord:
whether we live therefore,
or die,
we are the Lord’s.
Romans 14:7-8

Ralph Wendt