Next month (April 16th) we celebrate Easter Sunday, or as some prefer “Resurrection Day”. 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 on that the “tenth” commandment, the last commandment of the ten, is probably one of the greatest 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.
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 skill sets a person brings to the job; their willingness to hustle; education; raw ability and a host of other factors that are hard to quantified. 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 really concerned about the income differential, they would take less money for their films so those of us who are not rich can afford to go see their films (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 in 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 difference 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. Just as, the first word translated “desire” is the same word used of Eve as she desired the fruit of the forbidden tree. 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 disregard 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 covetous 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 any other commandment, 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 ourselves. In both cases, that means that we refrain from coveting.
Case in point: the upheaval in our streets over the election; the push to normalize transgenderism; the gang violence that pervades our inner cities; as well as the continued efforts to silence the Church’s push back on all kinds of deviant behavior—everyone 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 human beings, 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!