In the book of Romans, Paul says that “without the law; he would not have known what it meant to covet.” (7:7)
Over the years the best definition for covet by far(in my mind) comes from a book by James Macdonald called Lord Change My Attitude Before It Is To Late. James says,”that when you covet something you are saying that God is not enough (p.86,2001).
A couple of weeks ago we had a ice storm that came through and cancelled church. So that day when I was spending time in the Word, God brought me to the part of the book of Joshua dealing with Achin( ch7).
At this point in the book of Joshua: Israel has started to enter the promise land, God had torn down the mighty walls of Jericho and gave the command that everything inside the walls was to be devoted to destruction. Israel was to keep nothing for themselves and only the silver,the gold, the bronze vessels and the iron was to be placed into the treasury of the LORD(vs. 18,19).
More over God was bringing Israel into possess a land flowing with milk and honey( Deut 26:9) Into a land in which they did not labor, to dwell in cities they had not built and to eat food from fields, vineyards and orchards they had not sown( Joshua 24;13).
Israel was on the brink of being completely blessed by God; this man Achin was on the brink of being given all these blessings. Blessings he did not earn.
So what did Achin do? He took some of the things that were to be devoted to destruction as well as some of the things that were to be devoted to the LORD.
I love Achin’s excuse; he said,” Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a gold bar weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them(7:20,21).”
What was Achin’s downfall? It was that all God was bringing him and his family into was not enough. He was going to live in a house he did not build and he was going to reap crops he did not plant. He was on the verge of something so great yet he wanted more, he wanted things he was never meant to have.
I have been here. I have said that God is not enough in my life through my actions and thoughts, and this has brought hard times into my life. It has put a separation between the God I love and myself. It has stifled my relationship with Him and sometimes with my wife and children.
Over the past couple of years God has been working on this in my life, because He offers eternal life through Jesus Christ; an un-merritted blessing. Still there are times when I seek after things that are wood, hay, and stubble. I guess I should put it this way; there are times where I feel this big whole in my life and instead of filling it with God, I fill it with other stuff, non eternal stuff, stuff that will just burn up. Stuff that rusts, that moths eat and thieves break in to steal. And that is coveting.
Father, thank you for showing me these things and I pray that you will continue to smooth these dumps out in my life. You are the Potter and I am the clay, LORD mold me the way you see fit to be used for purposes that will further your kingdom. And I pray this all in the wonderful name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen
James Macdonald quote from LORD, Change My Attitude Before It Is To Late, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois,2001