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 Covetousness - 1/4/11

A Warning Against Covetousness

January 04, 2011

Beloved brothers and sisters, this is a word of the Spirit LORD which has overshadowed me for the past several days and has been given to me as a strong burden that I should write. We are indeed living in a very special time and this is indeed a very special generation. In the times that are at hand, these words could easily mean the difference between life and death.

The Spirit led me to Luke chapter 12 where Jesus had just finished one of His verbal confrontations with the scribes and the Pharisees and as a very large crowd of on-lookers gathered around, he began to speak to His disciples. In verses 1-12 He told them about the dangers of hypocrisy and was beginning to tell them about other kingdom matters when in verse 13 Jesus’ teaching is interrupted by an unidentified man from the crowd. This man asks Jesus to speak to his brother to make him share his inheritance. Notice at this point that Jesus did three things – He:

  1. stops in the middle of what He had been teaching,

  2. rebukes the man saying it was not His place to decide how to divide their family’s inheritance, and

  3. takes advantage of this teachable moment to address this warning about covetousness

Before He was interrupted, Jesus had been teaching about some pretty important subjects, including the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say when they were confronted by authorities who didn’t know God. But He stops almost in mid-sentence and warns the disciples about the dangers of coveting and then tells a parable about it in verses 16-21.

In this parable, He outlines how coveting is such a serious sin and can lead to death. In this parable, I noticed how the rich man when thinking to himself repeatedly used the terms “I will” and referred to every single object as “my.” When I saw the I will’s, the Holy Spirit drew a parallel for me to the five “I will” statements that Lucifer stated in Isaiah 14:13-14 when he was kicked out of heaven, going from being one of God’s arch angels to being the prince of darkness and death. The behavior of the man in this parable indicated that he had placed all of his faith in himself and had no trust whatsoever in God to provide for him. He in essence worshiped the works of his own hands or himself directly. This is why coveting is such a deadly sin. Paul describes it as idolatry in Ephesians 5:5 and says those who do it will by no means enter into the kingdom of God. This man’s eyes were focused only on getting a little more so that he could hoard it for himself. He gave no thought to the idea that God had blessed him with so much for the benefit of His kingdom and so that God could be glorified.

Today brothers and sisters, in this season in which we are living it is very important as always that we take heed from this important lesson from this teachable moment. Coveting makes us take our eyes off of God and focus on the things in our hands (or obsess about getting more things into our hands – storing up treasure on earth). Jesus ended this parable by stating that the type of unhappy ending that this man encountered is what will happen to people who store up treasures for themselves here in the world but have no eternal treasure stored up in heaven. He then gave advice to not do as this foolish man did, but instead to seek first God’s kingdom and trust that God will provide all of our needs (indeed it is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom).

Then from verse 35 until the end of the chapter, the LORD goes on to tell other parables about how we should be ready watching for His return for His bride (the church) at any moment. He says in verse 37 that we will be blessed if when He comes He finds us praying (watching). So blessed in fact that He, the LORD Himself, will gird himself, make us to sit down, and He will serve us a meal. Even more blessed will be those that He finds praying for Him if He comes during the late night hours (the 2nd or 3rd watch). He then admonishes that we be therefore ready because He will come at an hour when we least expect it. However, later in verse 54 the LORD admonishes that even though we don’t know the hour, we should not be caught by complete surprise at His coming because just as we can discern the weather, we should also be able to discern the times leading up to His coming. Note that Matthew writes an excellent parallel of this hitting on all of these precise points in Matthew chapter 25.

Now, with all of this coming after that teachable moment about the dangers of coveting, I believe the Spirit is speaking this to me today because coveting is all about where our eyes are. If they are focused on ourselves (or on the material things of this world or even the things with which God blesses us), we won’t be seeking first after the kingdom of God and won’t be able to easily discern the times.

Here is one last word on coveting. The thing that causes us to stumble might not be material things that we covet. In our worldly pursuits, we can also often covet the praises of men. 1 Peter chapter one ends with this statement about the futility of this type of coveting: 24For all flesh is as grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

This is an important message today and by far the most important thing that I have to say. Take heed, trust in the LORD, and pray.

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Rev 22:17

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© 2010 Gerald L. Prater

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