‘Righteous’ Coveting

What is Coveting?

Covetousness is generally representative of a very grave sin; IF one covets sinfully. The great desire of possessing God’s most wonderful gifts (used for the purpose of pleasing God) is the topic of today’s post. In the Ten Commandments, the 10th forbids Coveting.

Webster’s Dictionary defines Covet: “To wish for with eagerness; to desire possession of;—used in a good sense; To long for inordinately or unlawfully; to hanker after (something forbidden)—sinfully so.”

Sinful Coveting; Mark 7:21-23 ◊ ‘Covet’ {39 instances} mentioned in the Bible. ◊ Mark 7:21 ⇒Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

*Sinful coveting is idolatry: Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: Colossians 3:5

What is coveting earnestly?

1 Corinthians 12: 31  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 14:39  Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

  • ‘Covet earnestly—Greek, “emulously desire.” Not in the spirit of discontented “coveting.”—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary.
  • ‘Covet earnestly; literally, be zealous for, strongly desire.’—Pulpit Commentary.

‘Earnestly’ seeking God.

  • Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
  • Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
  • Luke 10:27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
  • Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
  • Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Elisha wanted DOUBLE the spirit Elijah possessed!

Elijah says to Elisha: “Is there anything you want? Don’t be afraid to ask. You seem to be very timid.” Elisha says: “Yes; there is something I want.” “Well; don’t be afraid to ask. You shall have whatever you want.” A blank check! Well; what did he ask? Did he ask for as much of the Spirit as Elijah had? That would have been a great thing. Talk about kings!

Elijah had power over kings. Kings are in the habit of ordering their subjects around. Here was a subject who was in the habit of ordering kings around. Talk about the power of Caesar, Napoleon, Alexander—the great generals and warriors of this earth. Why, it is nothing to the power of the man who is in communion with God. Elisha isn’t going to ask for a small thing. He says: “I want a double portion of thy spirit.”  ¹

I can see Elijah turn round to him in surprise, and say: “You have asked me a hard thing.” But he says: “If you see me when I am taken from you, you shall have it.” “Then,” says Elisha, “you’ll not get away without my seeing you.” He wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and he was determined to get it. So he took good care to see him in the chariot, and he did see him.

Elisha performed just twice the number of miracles that Elijah did. Jesus Christ has come down from Heaven since then, and is it so wonderful to ask for the influence of the Spirit? We ought to have a hundred times more power than Elijah and Elisha had.”—D.L. Moody; 1837-1899.

Elisha’s last miracle? And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet. 2 Kings 13:21

Evil covetousness originates from the heart—and gains momentum through our thoughts.

  • But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: Matthew 15:18-19
  • Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
  • Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Righteous Coveting vs Evil Coveting:

“The life of the righteous coveting every good and perfect gift, and the life of the evil coveting only those things which gratify their own sensual and selfish desires; the life of the righteous earnestly seeking to know the will of his heavenly Father and to do it, and the life of the evil being impelled by his own will only, without any respect to God, any love for others, or any regard for them, but in proportion as they are subservient to himself.”—Rev. James Keene; 1864.

The “remedy for covetousness is to covet spiritual things more. Covet grace, for it is the best blessing, it is the seed of God. Covet heaven, which is the region of happiness—if we covet heaven more, we shall covet earth less.”—Thomas Watson.