The tenth command is against covetousness. (Exodus 20:17) Covetousness is a desire that does not belong to us. That could lead to illegal possession of anything. Achan coveted a Babylonian cloak from Shinar, 200 shekels (2280 grams) of silver, and 50 shekels (570 grams) of gold, and took it for himself, which belonged to God. (Joshua 7:21) The city of Jericho was devoted to destruction, retrieving any spoil from that city would invite curses. Not only Achan was cursed, but he also brought a curse and defeat upon the whole Jewish nation. Paul writes that Covetousness is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
Self-deception: Wealth and riches could become very core and reason for living. Instead of a right relationship with God, such people think life consists of an abundance of riches. (Luke 12:15) Achan foolishly thought wealth is a blessing, enhancing the quality of his life, bringing prosperity and popularity. Sadly, he received a death sentence and brought a curse upon the whole nation.
Self-appeasement: Those who pursue wealth with obsession will wrong others, exploit the vulnerable and weak, and oppress the poor. This quest for wealth becomes unquenchable. They say to themselves: “Little more is good.” Achan wanted to please himself or satisfy himself with the Babylonian cloak, silver, and gold. Alas, the very same pursuit and desire became his death sentence.
Self-destruction: Choosing wealth or mammon is rejecting Christ. Achan had a great model before him in Moses. Though the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, the rightful heir of Egypt and inheritor of power and riches, Moses refused the fleeting riches. He chose to suffer with the people of God, then choose temporal benefits. (Hebrews 11:24-26) Covetousness is a spiritual suicide, as rejecting Christ is rejecting Eternal Life with Holy God.
Self-worship: Covetousness leads to self-adoration, self-acclaim, and even self-worship. Lucifer coveted the worship that belongs to God. He wanted to be worshiped like God and hence dreamed to exalt his throne above that of God. (Isaiah 14:12) Today’s generation worships their bodies. The Bible teaches that our body is the Temple of God, but sinners make it an object of worship.
Have I overcome the temptation of covetousness?