Reading: 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.”
Reflection: We live in a world that actively encourages comparison. Every time we log onto Facebook or Instagram, we see snapshots of other people’s reality. We become more and more worried that other people are having more fun, are happier, or are living better lives than us. Academic studies have shown that young people have significant commitment phobia as a result of increasing fear of missing out (FOMO). The law was made to protect the Israelites but they, like the rest of us, easily forgot that God really does know best! They were quick to look around at their neighbors and desire what they did not have – just look where begging God for a King got them (1 Samuel 8)! The Israelites, in nostalgia and frustration of their current situation, even started coveting their time as slaves in Egypt (Numbers 14).
Not much has changed. We, like the Israelites, are much quicker to look around us rather than lift our eyes up to God. Our inward longing should be for God’s love and His perspective. This is the only command that directly addresses the heart; as such, the conclusion to this list of laws is that we must submit our hearts, and not just our actions to God. Right at the end of John’s gospel, there is an interesting scene between Peter and John and Jesus. Jesus and Peter have just reconciled when Peter turns to Jesus and asks him, “what about John”. And Jesus quickly responds, “what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21, 21-22).
May we learn from Jesus’ words today as we are tempted to compare ourselves to those around us, or when we feel jealousy rise inside of us. May we hear Him say to us, “what are those things to you? Turn your eyes and your heart towards me – I am what you need. Focus on my love – fix it on your mind and heart. Only then you will be satisfied.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we have spent the last 10 days meditating on your law, we have been reminded that your ways are what’s best for us. Convict us for where our hearts have wandered from you and help us choose to spend our energy desiring you.