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At Home Today: "Desires of Our Hearts"

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor’s wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urge them to stay and do their duty.

Today's Thought

As you read through the Gospels, you’ll notice something interesting about how Jesus speaks of the second section of the Ten Commandments. The first section - the first three Commandments - deal specifically how God wants us to act towards Him - having only one God, keep His name holy, worshiping Him and respecting His Word. The next seven commandments deal with how we are interact with everyone else. These are commandments of outward actions - how we as Christians live.

So when Jesus speaks of adultery as He does in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Chapter 5, He says that if one lusts in their hearts for someone else while married, they have already broken the commandment. The married person didn’t have to act on their internal feelings for someone else, Jesus explains; it is that they had those lustful feelings toward someone else that made them fail the commandment.

When it comes to the seven commandments dealing with life with others, even the very thinking of acting in ways that God forbids causes one to break the commandments in their hearts.

So it is with stealing. So it is with defaming someone in word or action. And so it is with coveting something that someone else has and desiring it for yourself. King David was called on the carpet by the prophet Nathan for his lustful heart - coveting Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and further acting on his desire to have her by sending her husband off to die in battle.

Martin Luther explains in a lot of his writings on the ninth and tenth Commandments the financial aspect to coveting, including fighting in court over inheritances or taking the possessions of someone else, acts that were occurring during his time.

All of us, at some point in our lives, covet. The desires of our hearts sometimes overwhelm us as we do not care what we have to do in order to acquire something or someone. Our challenge as Christians is to be content in our vocations and where we are in life. Not all of us can be millionaires or own a Tesla. Instead, we should be happy with what we have, even if it is deemed by society to be little. Our joy in life comes from our hope in Jesus Christ, our Lord. And the desires of our hearts are what we receive from God.

Today's Prayers

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Prayers for the Whole People of God

  • For those within our community who are stepping up to volunteer and help people and families get through this very hard time.

  • Continue to remember our medical first responders, police officers, and fire fighters who are dealing with his pandemic with courage and strength.

  • All those who have been infected with this virus, especially our neighbors here in Bergen County that our Lord would provide for comfort and healing, remembering Jerry this day

  • For all families dealing with loved ones who are battling this virus, that they be spiritually strengthened.

  • For all doctors, nurses, and health care givers, that they be protected from infection while they provide their best care for the sick.

  • For all scientists and researchers, that they work prudently to find a vaccine and treatments.

  • For all of our government, including our President, Donald Trump; our Governor, Phil Murphy; our County Executive, James Tedesco; for all our local officials in New Milford (Mayor Michael Petrino) and Garfield (Mayor Richard Rigoglioso).

  • For ourselves, that we be given patience and hope during this time.

  • For those facing difficult times as they lose jobs, lose businesses, and lose hope, that we, as a people, come together to help those negatively impacted by the ravages of the virus.

Pray daily for those on our church's prayer list.

Bethel Music - "I Will Rise"
Francesca Battistelli - "This Could Change Everything"

Photo Credit

Photo by Guillermo Latorre on Unsplash