Reflections: Wednesday the Seventh Week of Easter

May 24, 2023

Today’s Reading: Luther’s Small Catechism Ten Commandments: The Ninth Commandment

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:23-40, Luke 19:29-48

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.  In mercy, God will even guard your heart.  There’s already a commandment about not taking what’s yours.  You shall not steal.  You shall help your neighbor improve and protect his possessions and income.  We covered this.  But your heart can trespass too.  It can go where it ought not go.  Even the pagans recognize the shortsightedness of materialism.  Spending all day on Amazon and ignoring what you’ve been given is foolishness.  That doesn’t make the things we would covet sinful. It means that our hearts will do sinful things with them.  We usually call it greed.  Greed seeks more than God already graciously gives at the expense of others.  And greed creates problems with the extra it acquires.  To quote the hymnist, “More money, more problems.”

So God gives us a commandment to guard our hearts.  Because greed is an ugly beast to slay.  It looks at the world and the possessions within it as a zero-sum game instead of a heap of gifts given by a merciful Father.  And God would rather your heart be fixed on Him who gives what we don’t deserve, then keeps on giving it even though everything in the world is falling apart, all just to make you a little more comfortable than you deserve on the beach with one set of footprints because He had to drag you kicking and screaming the whole way into the resurrection because you think your sandcastle is what really matters even though the tide is going to take it by tomorrow anyway.  

Thou shall not covet.  Because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Set not your heart on greed, which would take from others, but on God who would only give in mercy.  It isn’t just instructions to follow for a happier life.  It’s a joy that the Jesus who died to forgive you all your sins, even forgives your heart.  Your heart is forgiven too.  The greed that you hide and the greed that you don’t is forgiven by Jesus.  He numbers it among the 10 commandments He fulfills and the 10 He daily and richly forgives. So count it as a joy that God cares about your heart so much that He’d guard it, redeem it, and seal it for salvation.In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

“You shall not crave your neighbor’s house Nor covet money, goods, or spouse. Pray God He would your neighbor bless As you yourself wish success.” Have mercy, Lord! (These are the Holy Ten Commands, LSB 581:10)

-Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Jonathan Lackey is an LCMS seminarian.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.