Lord's Day 36

Week 35 :: Week 36 :: Week 37


The 10th Commandment addresses the issue of coveting and envy. At the very core of covetousness is a heightened sense of self-importance; when we have placed ourselves at the center of the universe, and every desire is stained by self-promotion. What does envy say? I need more. God hasn’t provided enough, I must have what others have, or I will never be satisfied. I want more for my life than what God has planned. 

We are called to be content in life with what we have received from God’s hand. We must trust in God to provide for all we need to be sustained and to carry out the calling God has given us. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil 4:11-13). 

It is not easy to learn to be content. The Israelites struggled with discontentment during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. In all that time, they had food every day and their clothing and shoes did not wear out, but they always wanted more. They had to learn that God would provide their daily bread, and to ask for more would only bring them trouble. 

I am reminded of a song by Amy Grant which says, “All I ever have to be is what you made me, any more or less would be a step out of your plan.” When God says “Thou shall not covet,” what we need to hear is God saying, “trust me, I have a wonderful plan for you, and I will provide for your every need.” 


Gracious God, forgive our covetous hearts, for we have not been content with your blessings and providential care. Help us learn to trust in you, and to be content in every station of our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Question 79

Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

Scripture Proofs

Ex. 20:17.

“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.”

Question 80

Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.

Scripture Proofs

Heb. 13:5;

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

1 Tim. 6:6;

But godliness with contentment is great gain,

Job 31:29;

“If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him

Rom. 12:15;

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

1 Tim. 1:5;

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

1 Cor. 13:4-7.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Question 81

Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.

Scripture Proofs

1 Kings 21:4;

And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.

Esther 5:13;

Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

1 Cor. 10:10;

nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

Gal. 5:26;

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

James 3:14;

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

James 3:16;

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Rom. 7:7-8;

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.

Rom. 13:9;

For the commandments, “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.”

Deut. 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.’