Lesson 12: March 17-23

‘Thou shalt not covet’


MEMORY VERSE: ‘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 anything that is thy neighbour’s.’ Exodus 20:17. 

STUDY HELP: Sons & Daughters of God, page 65.

LESSON AIM: To consider the scope of the Tenth Commandment.




‘The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to God’s law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow creatures.’ Patriarchs & Prophets, page 309.

‘Coveting is not stealing, it is not committing adultery, it is not killing, but it is wanting to do these things. It is a state of mind, rather than an act. This was the revelation that came to Paul as he meditated on the commandment, “Thou shalt not covet.” [Romans 7:7.] He had been so occupied with outward works that it had not occurred to him that the law deals not merely with acts, but with thoughts, intentions, motives. This put an entirely new light on the law. He now knew that the law was spiritual; but with that knowledge came also the conviction to him, “I am carnal, sold under sin.” [Romans 7:14.] His outward conduct had been in conformity with the law but his inward thoughts, his mind, had been corrupt. In anguish he cried out, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? [verse 24.] He now saw himself as a sinner needing help and not as a righteous Pharisee who did all that was written in the law.’ M. L. Andreasen: What Can a Man Believe? page 103.


‘Take heed, and beware of covetousness’


1. What is the tenth of the Ten Commandments? Exodus 20:17.

NOTE: ‘To live for self is to perish. Covetousness, the desire of benefit for self’s sake, cuts the soul off from life. It is the spirit of Satan to get, to draw to self. It is the spirit of Christ to give, to sacrifice self for the good of others. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:11, 12. Wherefore He says, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”’  Christ’s Object Lessons, page 259.


2. What was one of the main qualifications for those fitted to be judges over God’s people? Exodus 18:21.

NOTE: ‘A covetous man is one who trusts in riches and rejoices in the works of his own hands. He is an idolater. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5. But there is a root beyond covetousness which must be destroyed. Paul tells Timothy this: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,” etc. 2 Timothy 3:1, 2. What results from men being lovers of their own selves? Covetousness; and then all else follows. Selfishness, then, is the root of all. Paul calls selfish, covetous people enemies to the cross of Christ, because they want to serve themselves. Therefore it is that when the Saviour points out the way to God, He strikes at the root of the enmity against God, selfishness. “Let him deny himself.” What was it brought sin into the world? Satan became exalted with pride, love of himself. If, then, selfishness is the root, and covetousness is idolatry, we are doing one of two things, either serving ourselves or serving God. Which shall it be?’ A. T. Jones: Review & Herald, July 9, 1889.

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