The Path to Personal Integrity from First Command to Tenth
If we trust God, then we can be confident that our problems are tests meant for us and that God is providing what we need. We can serve Him and help others without being distracted by perceived inequality. God establishes our place and allows us to develop personal integrity. Ultimately, the prohibition on covetousness means we get to regard ourselves as blessed and destined for glory. We have too much to worry about what others possess.
It may seem strange to follow up a post on the First “Commandment” of the Decalogue with one on the Tenth. But I think it may help demonstrate to you how all Ten are a unified message, not simply a list. Consider what happens if he go straight from One to Ten. I submit that this sounds quite natural and logical:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me… 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.
Exodus 20:2, 2, 17 ESV
Something similar happens if we mash up the Sixth Word with the Tenth:
You shall not murder… 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.
Exodus 20:13, 17 ESV
This works especially well when we remember that the first murder in history was motivated by resentment and envy (Genesis 4:1-8).
The close affinity between the First and Tenth words is bolstered, almost as an aside, by Paul in his letter to the Colossians:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, enthroned at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Regard as dead, therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.