The 10th Commandment: “You Shall Not Covet”

The 10th Commandment: “You Shall Not Covet”

Preacher Huijun - 2 July 2023

The 10th Commandment: "You Shall Not Covet"

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<Ex 20>
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


What “covet” means.

  • Dictionary: to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others.
  • Hebrew word for “covet”: to desire, take pleasure in.
  • Not all desires are wrong.
  • But it is wrong to desire something which God has not given us and which we cannot rightly possess.


Beware of hidden sins of the heart.

  • God demands both outward and inward obedience.
  • True obedience is not just about actions, but also about having the right heart.
  • <Ro 7> 7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 
  • 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.


Covetousness is a very dangerous sin.

  • Easily hidden and ignored.
  • Root cause to many other sins.
    • <Jas 4:2> You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
  • Can even be deemed as something good and normal in society.
  • Covetousness will never bring satisfaction.
    • <Ecc 5:10> Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.
  • Covetousness is idolatry.
    • Col 3:5 (ESV) Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.


Fight covetousness with contentment.

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?

The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbour, and all that is his.

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?

The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbour, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.

  • Many griefs come from covetousness.
  • Contentment comes from faith in God.
  • <Lk 12:48b> …From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
  • Jeremiah Burroughs: “A Christian comes to contentment, not so much by way of addition, as by way of subtraction.”
  • <1 Ti 6:6> “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
  • Do not believe the lie of “if only I have _____, then I will be satisfied and happy”.


Flee from wrong desires and pursue the right ones.

  • <1 Co 12:31> Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
  • Seek the good of our neighbors.
  • Covet what is good and what God delights to give us, such as the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
  • “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” <Php 4:13>
Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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