Exodus 20:17 (Commandment Ten) Meditation


Text (Ex 20:17, NIV):

"You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Amplified Rendering:

"Put away any and all envy of everyone you can think of: your spouse, family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker; a religious, political, or business leader; a celebrity of any kind. Yearn not for anything such a one possesses, for such yearnings and cravings would be nothing but stumbling blocks to you and those you love and care about...even if what you envy is another person's relationship with Me.

"Envy breeds unhealthy competition and destroys relationships, for cravings are never satisfied(1). When you want something you don't have, you suffer. Even if you get what you want, still you suffer. Why? Because nothing is ever what you thought it would be(2). Even if having it ends up feeling similar to the way you thought it might, you know it's impermanent(3); and, with the splinter of that knowing, your heart may suffer still an infection of dissatisfaction.

"I have wonderful things for you, but most are just on loan for a while for your benefit and enjoyment as well as the benefit and enjoyment of those around you. Your relationship with me, however, is not on loan; it's an eternal gift , and it will never end. That, My child, is your great hope through My Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Envy breeds an ever-increasing desire to possess what you desire, and possessing anything (even your own life) results paradoxically in ever-increasing slavery. Do you not know that whatever you own owns you? This is why I urge you to yearn for Me and Me only. For the more of Me you have the more of You I have, and that's a wonderful thing. Nothing satisfies like Me. In fact, nothing satisfies but Me and being in Me as My free slave. Owning nothing and yet being owned by Me enables you to enjoy everything in a way those who own things could never enjoy.

"My child, I know you need and want things: food, drink, clothing, shelter, love, family, friends, security, good health, rest, time, and significance. All these things are good, I know you need them, and I want to give them to you. In fact, I promise to supply all your needs(4). As I've said before, though: 'Put Me and My interests first. Do this, and everything else you could ever truly need or want will be granted you.(5)'

"Yearn for what's good, for what's truly good: Me(6). Anything else will, ultimately, let you down and, for a time, serve only to slake artificially your hunger for Me and delay your obtaining what you truly long for: More of Me and more of you found in Me(7).

"O My child, give these things some serious, reflective thought."

Consecrating Prayer:

Holy Father…

Enable me to feel my deep hunger for You, and empower Me to pursue above all else divine union with You and participation in your divine nature(8). There is nothing in all creation that satisfies like You. You alone satisfy, O God, for You are Ultimate Satisfaction. Be glorified, O God, as I find my greatest and deepest longings fulfilled in You(9).

In the Name of Jesus, I ask these things…

Amen.

Notes

  1. See Pr 10:3 and Ec 5:10.

  2. Even knowing God will not be what you thought it would be. Knowing Him will exceed your wildest dreams and imaginations. Also, knowing Him will not result in the suffering of dissatisfaction, because he is the great I AM, and He will be the greatest Love you'll ever know.

  3. See Mt 24:34 and 1Jn 2:17. Please take note that being yoked to Jesus is NOT impermanent. Knowing God and being in divine union with Him is the definition of eternal (and, by that, I mean everlasting, unending, and permanent) life (see Jn 17:3-5).

  4. See Ph 4:19.

  5. See Mt 6:33.

  6. See Mk 10:18 and Lk 18:19.

  7. See Ph 3:9.

  8. See 2Pe 1:4.

  9. This concept is illuminated brilliantly in John Piper's book, Desiring God.

 

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