Liberals and the Tenth Commandment

By Eric M. Wallace

This year we celebrate Easter Sunday, or as some prefer “Resurrection Day" on April 4th, the day after the Jewish Passover. Besides the obvious celebration of the resurrection of Christ, we also look forward to the classic Cecile B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments, starring Yul Brynner and Charlton Heston. I am reminded each time the Ten Commandments are broadcast that the “tenth” commandment, the last commandment, is probably one of the most significant and foundational commandments. But, generally speaking, gets the least amount of attention. Ironically, it’s the commandment I believe explains the ideology of the Left—both liberals and progressives.

The tenth commandment is the prohibition against "coveting." It is first mentioned in Exodus 20:17. God writes on the tablets He gives to Moses that “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” (ESV). In other words, you do not have the right to any of your neighbor’s stuff so don’t lust after it. To “covet” is to have a strong desire for something or someone, which rightfully belongs to someone else. You can’t have it because it’s not yours to have. It is already taken or forbidden. The house belongs to someone else. The beautiful woman is married. They are off limits. What belongs to your neighbor is your neighbor’s. What God has forbidden is prohibited--person, place or thing.

Somehow liberals don’t seem to get this, and believe that what belongs to you, also belongs to those who “need it most.” And so, under the guise of income equality liberals protest that the current economic system is unfair. However, once you get past the emotional rhetoric, you find that there is no such thing as income equality. Income has always been different because it's based on the skillsets a person brings to the job; their willingness to hustle; education; raw ability and a host of other factors that are hard to quantify. Take sports, for example, Michael Jordan was making 30 million dollars when that kind of money was unheard of. He was paid a lot more than the rest of his teammates and everyone else in professional basketball. In an industry where most players make millions we still see income inequality as the norm, not the exception. The screaming liberals in Hollywood should understand this the most since certain stars can command millions more than others and even a percentage of the box office revenues. If they were concerned about the income differential, they would take less money for their films so those of us who are not wealthy can afford to see their movies (or propaganda).

Similarly, if it’s not income inequality, then it’s social justice, marriage equality or some other ideology that tries to negate any appearance of difference in abilities or gender. You see, they erroneously mistake equality before the law and God with sameness. Our equality is not based on the notion that we are the same. God intentionally created us different. We have different IQs, different genetics, and physiques. Some excel in math, some in art, and some in physics. We are born in different parts of the World, which makes becoming a soccer star more probable if you’re born in South America, Europe or Africa than in North America. If you are born in a cold climate where ice hockey is a valued sport, you’re more likely to become better at hockey than baseball.

Liberals can’t stand the idea that people are different. So, they covet what they can’t have. They want to take the money from the rich, in some cases, to distribute it to the poor. So, no one has more than they “should.” They want to blur the gender lines so men can become women and women can be men. They want to act as if there is no difference between the sexes, and that one can easily change his or her God-given identity without consequences. They covet what is forbidden, what they can’t have.

You see, coveting is so detrimental that I believe it can be argued that coveting is what causes the breaking of the rest of the commandments. People kill because they covet someone else’s stuff. People commit adultery because they covet their neighbor’s spouse. You can go down the line to each commandment and find that the breaking of that commandment can be traced to coveting what doesn’t belong to you or is forbidden.

In all actuality, the first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned against God because they coveted wisdom apart from God. They chose what was forbidden after “desiring” that the fruit would make them wise. The prohibition to not covet is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:21, “‘And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’”  The first word translated "covet" is the same Hebrew word used in Exodus. However, in Genesis 3:6 the word generally translated "desire" used of Eve, as she desired the fruit of the forbidden tree, is the same word translated “covet” in Exodus and Deuteronomy. I believe that a parallel is being drawn between the disobedience of Adam and Eve and the future disobedience of the nation of Israel. Both resulted in ejection from the Garden and the Land of Promise, respectively.

In the same way, Adam and Eve disregarded God’s command; liberal progressives wrongly ignore God's wisdom in making us different. And, the boundaries He has set making a distinction between good and evil, male and female, and equality vs. inequality have been blurred by man’s rebellion not to follow God’s commandment “do not covet.”

Consequently, liberal progressives want to portray their selfish behaviors as humanitarian and righteous. It is neither. Jesus said in Luke 10:27:… “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Paul quotes Jesus in Romans 13:9: “You have been commanded, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet," and all the other commandments, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." One’s love of God is demonstrated by keeping His commands, and loving our neighbor means treating them as we'd want to be treated. In both cases, that means that we refrain from coveting.

Case in point: the upheaval in our streets by Black Lives Matter, the push to normalize transgenderism, the gang violence that permeates our inner cities, as well as the continued efforts to silence the Church’s push back on all kinds of deviant behavior— every one of them has at its root coveting. James 4:1-3 tells us why this is happening, “[w]hat causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (ESV). While James is talking specifically about coveting within the Church, the application can be made to everyone, in general, in every walk of life.

God help us to love our neighbor and not covet his stuff! And let that be reflected in our public policy and daily living. Amen!

[This article is an update version of an op-ed published in 2018. Dr. Eric M. Wallace holds a PhD in Biblical studies with an emphasis is New Testament. He and his Wife Jennifer have confounded Freedom's Journal Institute for the Study of Faith and Public Policy.]


2 Comments


Mike Mathis - February 12th, 2021 at 10:34am

Exactly true. What the article fails to adequately mention is the hypocrisy of liberals. Every last one of them is great at spouting off such pious sounding pablum as "It's for the public good!" And in all honesty what they really want is to not only be their own God, they want to play God over everyone else as well.

Charles Walkup Jr - February 12th, 2021 at 11:49am

Yes, it all comes down to the desires of our heart. That's what God sees that man cannot always see. E.g. David, a man after God's own heart. Yet, David committed adultery with Bathsheba. Saul, Israel's 1st king, disobeyed God's command to utterly destroy the Amalekites and, when Samuel confronted him, made excuses. So God replaced his Spirit with a tormenting spirit and had David anointed the next King. In contrast, when Nathan confronted David with his sin, David's immediate response was to confess it and ask God to (Psalm 51) "Have mercy on me, O God, ... Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me."

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.5) Jesus addressed the inner desires that result in breaking the 10 commandments. Anger/murder: If you're so much as angry with a brother or sister, you're guilty of murder; words kill. Lust/adultery: Don't think you've preserved your virtue just by staying out of bed. Those lustful leers you think nobody notices, they also corrupt." He went on to say that you have to immediately head off powerful, sinful emotions. When Cain was angry with God and brother Abel, God warned him about his anger: "Sin is crouching at your door. It wants to have you. You must master it." Gods expectation is that we control dangerous/powerful./sinful emotions, rather than letting them control/enslave us.

Unfortunately, too many of God's precious sheep have wandered off, and seem to covet/lust/desire whatever makes them "feel" good, whether it is actually good or not.

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