“When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them . . .”
— Joshua 7:21
Have you ever looked at a glossy home-decorating magazine and found that the home you felt thankful for an hour ago now seems junky? Or perhaps you saw a television ad for a slick car, and suddenly the car in your driveway now seems like a jalopy.
Advertisements often lead us into covetousness. Of course, we need to provide for our families; and we don’t sin when we seek to care for our needs. But we do sin when we desire the things of this world, desire them so strongly that we dwell on how we can obtain them. Sometimes we want something so dearly that we’re even willing to break one or more of God’s commandments to get it.
Achan, an Israelite at the time of Joshua’s conquest, exemplifies the seductive power of covetousness. Before the Israelites stormed Jericho, Joshua told everyone that everything in that city was devoted to destruction, that the wrath of God would fall upon the city because of the inhabitants’ sins. Later the Israelites attacked the little town of Ai, but the inhabitants of this small town defeated the Israelites, killing many of them. Joshua sought the Lord to find out why Israel had lost, and God told him that there was sin in the camp. Joshua then sought out the sin, and Achan confessed that in Jericho he had coveted some riches, so he took them and buried them under his tent. Achan’s covetousness cost him dearly—it cost him his family and his life.
When we covet, we actually rebel against God’s provision for us. God has given us so much already, and if we ever have a need, He fulfills it. As we trust God, we see His hand at work in our lives, providing so richly for us. The antidote for covetousness is contentment with God’s blessings.
How are you doing in the area of covetousness? If you find that you want something, submit it to God. Trust Him to provide it for you if you need it and be content with all He has given you now.
“Content[ment] makes poor men rich;
discontent[ment] makes rich men poor.”