Spiritual Rants: July 21 “Coming Out Of The Covet” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11 Romans 7:1-13 Psalm 17:1-15 Proverbs 19:22-23

Old Testament:  2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11

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2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11   Home Sweet Home

Since I have a special place in my heart for Obsessive-Compulsives, here are the parallels in Kings to our section for today:

1 Kings 7:13-51                                                         2 Chron. 2:13-14; 3:15-5:1

1 Kings 8:1-66; Ps. 136:1; Ps. 132:8-10, 1            2 Chron. 5:2-7:10

Of course, I’ve written on this already here:

Solomon’s Place

A Gigantic Potluck Dinner

 

Notice in chapter 5, verse 10, states, “There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, where theLord made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.”  What’s missing?  The Manna which represented Jesus as the “Bread of Life” (John 6: 35) and Aaron’s rod that had budded, representing the Resurrection.  Only the law remained which was the trademark of the dispensation of the nation of Israel.

Though the ark had been on the move during the Exodus, then captured by the Philistines, and finally moved to Jerusalem, it had found its permanent home in the Temple.

New Testament:  Romans 7: 1 – 13

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Romans 7:1-13   The Widow Maker

Paul has explained in chapter five that there is no sin greater than God’s grace.

In chapter 6, he has stated that we are actually dead to sin so it would be uncharacteristic for a Christian to sin.  He went on to exhort believers to (K) Know that we are dead spiritually, (E) Expect to live for Christ, and (Y) Yield the parts of our body to Christ to do His will.

However, in chapter seven Paul warns believers of a gigantic roadblock to living in the joy of the Spirit.  The problem is that although we are dead to sin there is still a problem, Houston.  The problem is that we are still carrying around our dead nature.  It wants to gather its strength and rear its ugly, dead head to try to take over again.  In fact, it will if we don’t follow the key in chapter 6 and resolve problems with the truths we find in chapter 8 on the Spirit.

Here’s the problem:  Just as a woman is freed from her husband if he dies, so a believer is freed from the law when he or she died with Christ (v. 1-4).

There are certain key terms that refer to man’s nature (when I refer to man, I mean woman, too — give me a break!) in this passage.  They have to do with mind, will, emotions, and body (there will be more terms in tomorrow’s blog).  This is the classic way to break down a person’s nature.  In verse 5, we find a term “sinful passions.”  They work in the “members of our body.”  The “sinful passions” are emotions but bad emotions.  They are the emotions that cause us to covet and break commandments.  They wouldn’t be able to work if it wasn’t for our bodies because they are at work in the “members of our body.”  Of course, we are “dead” to these passions as we saw in Romans 6:6 where we saw that our our bodies were “rendered powerless” (see yesterday’s blog).

So what’s the problem?  The problem is that the Law which shows us that we are sinning actually stirs us up to sin!  Don’t believe me?  What happens when you are on an airliner and the sign comes on after a landing and it says, “Keep seat-belt fastened.”  What happens?  All over the plane you hear, “click, click, click” as people release their seat-belts!   If you have a weakness for ice cream cones, what happens if you see a picture of an ice cream cone?  What if I say, “try not to think of a pink elephant”?

Paul says that the last commandment “Do not covet” is the stickler.  He says he wouldn’t even know he was coveting if there hadn’t been a law against it.  No one would know they were speeding if there weren’t speed limit signs.  But since there is a law, it works spiritual death in him.  It revealed his sin and his sin separated him from God.  It broke his relationship with God and we call that death.

Francis Schaeffer says in his book, True Spirituality,p. 7, “The commandment not to covet is an entirely inward thing.   . . . It is an intriguing factor that this is the last command that God gives us in the Ten Commandments and thus the bug of the whole matter.   . . .  Actually we break this last commandment, not to covet, before we break any of the others.   . . .  any time we break one of the others. we break this last commandment as well.   . . .   This is the hub of the wheel.”

But Paul makes it clear that Law has its purpose, it reveals the separation between us and God.

Paul will complete his explanation of the rift between us and God in tomorrow’s reading.  The chapter 8 will give us the solution to the problem.

 

Psalm 17:1-15   The Big Apple     A Lament By David

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Psalm 17:1-15  The Big Apple

Here’s another lament written by David.  You know, if you were chased as much as he was, you’d write a lot of laments, too.  He was surrounded by people whose only hope was in this world.  I’ve never understood why people don’t realize that they need to be living for eternity (v. 14).  Can’t they see that this world is just temporal?  That’s why Solomon said it was better to go to a funeral instead of a party (cf. Eccles. 7:14, Dead Lion’s Club).

David thinks pretty highly of himself.  He says he doesn’t have “deceitful lips” (v. 1) and asks for God’s judgment” and “equity” (v. 2).  He says that God has “tried” (v. 3a) and “tested” him (v. 3c) but not anything.  Isn’t this strange for a man who slept with one of his most trusted friend’s wives and then had him killed (see Taking A Bathsheba)?  This psalm may have been written before that incident or David may have understood, that the same as today, our righteousness comes not from ourselves but through our faith in Christ (cf. Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6).

David goes on to vindicate himself.  He tried to avoid violent men (v. 4).  He had called on the Lord in the past and he hadn’t tripped up (v. 6, 5).   He asked for the Lord’s hesed, lovingkindness and binding, covenantal love to protect him (v. 7).

You probably thought that New York City was the Big Apple.  Ha.  Turns out, it is David.  He’s the Big Apple (8).  “Apple of my eye” is a phrase that indicates that someone is deeply beloved and favored by someone else.  How could David have been the Big Apple after some of the low things he had done and that Yahweh knew he would do?  Why did the Lord favor David over Saul?  Saul didn’t commit adultery or have his best friend offed.  (He did try to do away with David and his son, Jonathan, on occasion though.  OK, and he consulted with a witch once, also.)  David trusted the Lord and wanted to obey Him, usually.  It was David’s heart that earned him favor with the Lord.  If you have a heart for the Lord, you generally will be OK, too.  God will “hide [you] in the shadow of [His] wings,” too.

David’s enemies were severe.  They wanted to plunder him and had surrounded him (v. 9), they were insensitive and arrogant (v. 10), they had surrounded him (v. 11).  Did I write “surrounded” twice?  So did the Scripture.  They must have really been running rings around him.

His enemy was “like” a lion.  His enemy wasn’t a lion.  His enemy was like a lion.  Note, too, that Peter said that Satan was “like” a lion.  The devil is not a lion.  He is a fake lion.  Jesus is the true lion (cf. Rev. 5:5).  He is the One people should fear.  If we submit to the True Lion (cf. James 4:7), we have nothing to fear from others.  We should “cast our care on Him” (1 Pet. 5:7 HCSB KJV).

David asks God to take on his enemies for him, even piercing them with a sword (v. 13).  Many people are just trying to grab all the gusto they can get today.  They don’t think ahead to what may come in eternity.  The most they think about eternity is to work on leaving inheritances for their children (v. 14e).

In contrast, David was looking forward to seeing Yahweh face to face (v. 15).  His “righteousness” in faith, allowed David to know God in an intimate way (v. 15a).  When he awoke from his death sleep, he expected to see the Lord (v. 15b).

 

Proverbs 19:22-23    Awake Asleep

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Theologians and pastors can lose sight of what it means to be a Christian.  Some ministers can explicate the Trinity or parse the gospel but don’t show love to their wives.  And sometimes they aren’t caring to their flocks.  Jesus said that religious leaders need to tithe down to the penny but forget about faithfulness, mercy, and the love of God (cf. Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42).

Jesus said that giving to the Temple was important but it was even more important to have godly, character traits.  “Kindness” is one of the most important traits singled out by Solomon (v. 22a, “unfailing love” NIV).

Why did Solomon juxtapose kindness with being poor and being a liar?  Why not just be rich and truthful?

Here’s why.  Rich people often sacrifice their integrity to be rich.  Poor men don’t have riches to sacrifice so they might as well just be honest.  Or, maybe poor men think it is more important to be honest than to be rich.

Rich men don’t usually fear the Lord (v. 23a).  They aren’t afraid of Him.  They should be but they aren’t.  They are selfish.  Paul pointed out that coveting was the root of all of the other ten commandments (cf. Rom. 7:7-8).  Coveting is greed.  Coveting is the root of breaking all of the other nine commandments.

Rich people are often opposed to God.  Poor men find out that poverty is their riches.  They find that the fear of the Lord is more valuable than anything else in life.

Furthermore, the poor trust the Lord.  They don’t have to worry about what is in their barns, garages, and attics (cf. 1 Thess. 5:5-6).

God will take care of the poor (v. 23b; Ps. 121:4).  So they can sleep peaceably.  Who is going to rob their junk?

 

Choose Life: Scripture: Romans 7:7  NASB    “Coming Out Of The Covet”

“What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.”    Romans 7:7

 

Paul must’ve been a pretty righteous dude.  I think he made it through almost all ten commandments before he tripped up.  I think he kept all of the first nine, he thought.  But then he came to number ten and went down on his noggin.  He got caught at coveting.  He respected God, he respected his parents but when he got to coveting, he knew he was coveting things. Maybe he coveted power .  Maybe he coveted prestige.  Maybe he wanted a new chariot or just healing of his eyes.  He wanted things that He knew God might not want for him.  He was a coveter.

Actually, anyone breaking any of the first nine commandments is coveting something.  Anyone who doesn’t worship the One True God is setting himself up as a god (cf. the first four are God-centered commandments).  Anyone who doesn’t love his neighbor properly is coveting what he should be allowing his neighbor (cf. the last six commandments).  Anyone who doesn’t respect their parents is coveting the authority that parents deserve for themselves.  Anyone who doesn’t rest on Sunday (instead of Saturday in the OT, cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:20) is robbing God of His glory in providing for His own and cheating himself of his God-given rest. In essence, coveting is self-centeredness instead of God-centeredness.

Paul says that he wouldn’t have realized that he was coveting if the law didn’t tell that he was.  That was when Paul realized he was truly a sinner (cf. 1 Tim. 1:15-16).

Have you realized that you are a sinner yet?  If you have, you’ll realize that your only hope is having Christ’s righteousness credited to your account (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21).  We must “put on” Christ (cf. Rom. 13:14).

Have you come out of the covet?  Have you realized that life is not about all the stuff you can accumulate (cf Luke 12:15)?

 

If you have, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application: 

I doubt many Christians even think about coveting these days.  Most are trying to “grab all the gusto” they can, as the commercial says.  In fact, almost all commercials are trying to appeal to our sin nature and its propensity to covet.

What are you coveting?  Something that begins with an “i” (why do you think they begin their product names with “i” and have e-mails that end in “me.com”)?  Something that’s bigger, better, faster than what you have?  I hate to remind myself but Paul said that he tried to be content with what he had (cf. Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:8).  The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5, NIV).

There’s nothing wrong with having anything if, indeed, it is something that God wants for you.  Then you should want it!  You might try making out a list of what you want and then giving it all over to God and letting Him decide what’s best for you. You could also see if you can find a Scripture to support your need for each item (cf. Phil. 4:19).

 

 

 

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   The Widow Maker

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