309) Can’t Get No Satisfaction? (part three)

     Our dissatisfaction plays such a huge part in our sinfulness that when God gave the ten commandments, he made two of the ten about this very thing.   The prohibition against stealing gets only one commandment, and the commandment against taking the life of another gets only one commandment, and marriage is protected against unfaithfulness with just one commandment.  But God’s commands about our satisfaction or lack of it receive two commandments.  The opposite of being satisfied is coveting; and both the ninth and the tenth commandments forbid coveting.  

     The ninth commandment is “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house,” and the tenth commandment is “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his servants, nor his cattle, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.”  Not anything, God says.  Coveting can be described as having your eye on someone else’s possessions and not your own.  This does not mean that God forbids an honest desire and effort to improve your position with hard work.  In fact God oftentimes commands that very thing, especially in the book of Proverbs.  But coveting is desire with an evil twist.  It is desire without gratitude to God for what one already has.  It is desire that is never content and never satisfied.  It is desire that resents anyone who has something that you want and do not have.  And, it might turn into a desire that will try anything to get what it wants.  

     In fact, the commandment against coveting is broken before any of the others.  Before one steals, they covet the possessions of another; before one commits adultery, they covet the spouse of another; before one tells a lie, they covet the easy way out more than the truth; and so on.  Think of any sin, of any trouble that we cause ourselves or others, and usually, at the very beginning of the act or the decisions that lead to the sin, you will find some kind of coveting;– and then, even before that, you will see some kind of dissatisfaction.  Much of the trouble in the world and in our own hearts comes from the fact that we are not satisfied.

     There is an old hymn that has in it this line:  “I know of a sleep in Jesus name, a REST from all toil and sorrow.”  We often speak of death as a rest, and of the dead, as those who are at rest.  And one of the things from which we will get a rest, is from our ‘restlessness.’   In death, we are at peace and at rest, and when the sleep of death is over, we will rise to a new life– a new life with our Lord, and there, says Jesus we will finally be satisfied.  “Blessed are you who hunger now,“ Jesus said, “for you will be satisfied.”


Exodus 20:17  —  You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.  You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Romans 13:9-10  —  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no harm to a neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.


You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.