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Learning from God's Creation

(Proverbs 30:15-33)

Lesson 12 -- fourth quarter 2009
November 22, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

What do I know about satisfaction and contentment?

How do I become a giver rather than a mere consumer?

Am I quick to say, "I haven't done anything wrong"?

Must I always choose that which is easiest or most convenient?

When will I hold my tongue?

Gimme! (Oooops...I Need!)

The society in which we live breathes, drinks and eats greed, covetousness and discontent. Catalogs, billboards, advertisements, commercials, signs, banners, inserts, mailings -- what a clamor to the flesh and its I-need and must-have misconceptions!

Our own lifestyles generally are saturated with this idolatrous mindset. Many of us are losing our zeal and power to this intruder. We have put comfort and convenience above pilgrim living. We attempt to look for the heavenly country while keeping our fingers closely twined around the things of this earthly country.

This is a death grip! By clasping tightly what we have, we can keep it to ourselves. But by the same token, it keeps us to itself! The stuff of this world will stay here to be consumed in the end. If we accumulate it, if we hang on to it, we shall stay with it...and with it be consumed! This is a death grip!

Can it be that in accepting society's materialistic diet we too have been perplexed by Jesus' words: "I have meat to eat that ye know not of" (John 4:32)? If we would know the satisfaction and contentment which He knew, our life and lips must echo the Master's words: "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34). Oh for a heart satisfied more with doing the Lord's work than with pursuing the trivia that are the things of this life!

We have become cozy and comfortable cohabitating with greed. Our definition of covetousness has become narrow but numbing: "Wanting what someone else has." (Perhaps this definition is based on a faulty reading of Exodus 20:17.) This conveniently allows us to want something like our neighbor has or even wanting more than our neighbor has. But the Bible makes no room for this pampering of the flesh! First Timothy 6:10 warns explicitly against coveting money, any money, adding that those who have done so "have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." What do you think coveted means in this verse? My source says, "To stretch one's self out in order to touch or to grasp something, to reach after or desire something." The more I chew this concept, the greater indigestion my flesh suffers!

But the Lord faithfully nourishes my spirit with another use of the same Greek word. "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (Hebrews 11:16). God offers His children something healthy to covet. What will you covet? What will you stretch yourself out in order to touch and then grasp?

The Word draws an stark line against covetousness.

What swivels your head, catches your eye, piques your interest, holds your attention, entertains your mind? "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15).

This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on the passage for the International Bible Study, click here: Pursuing Virtue.

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