August 23, 2015 Do Not Covet What Others Have, Pt. 2

Do Not Covet What Others Have

“Some years ago, Dr. Irene Hickman, an associate professor of psychology at California State University, prepared a report based upon hundreds of case studies reported in various medical journals. Dr. Hickman declared that nine out of ten illnesses in this country are money related. She stated that ‘economic insecurity and preoccupation with making more and more money is a national illness within itself.’ Professor Hickman asserted that the average income in America is adequate to house, clothe, and feed our families, but our citizenry is obsessed with wanting more and more luxuries” (Jackson).

“Someone asked the multi-billionaire John D. Rockefeller the question of ‘How much money is enough?’  His answer was, ‘One more dollar than I have.’  He therefore, would never have enough, no matter how many billions he had” (Mountain Wings).

“Covetous politicians’ desire for power not only subverts the system of government-by-compromise established by our founders, but also empowers special interests to enjoy what Sen. Mike Lee recently described as ‘cronyist privilege at the top, where political and economic insiders twist the immense power of the federal government to profit at the expense of everyone else’” (Crawford).

“Covetous corporations caused the Great Recession and continue to hold sway over America’s economy…When such corporations place short-term profits above all else they decimate jobs and wages for American workers. This drives both high unemployment and the growing wealth gap between the rich and middle-class” (ibid).

“The ratio of CEO pay to workers’ pay was 295.9-to-1 last year, according to a new analysis from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).  That ratio is down from a peak of 383.4-to-1 in 2000 but is far higher than the historical norm. The ratio was just 20-to-1 in 1965 and 29.9-to-1 in 1978” (Covert).  But, CEOs in these years came from within their companies and operated during less global and less restrictive times.  “Indeed, in 2013, three in four incoming chief executives had worked for multiple organizations…Gone are the days of the reliable five-year strategic plan;…[now, strategy] is a process marked by continual evaluation and reevaluation” (Favaro)  Demand for agile and seasoned leadership has driven up the cost of qualified CEOs and has cascaded higher pay into other companies as C-suite executives become leaders in smaller firms.

“CEOs have enough on their plate these days in a slow-growth, regulation-heavy economy that’s being roiled by technological change and global competition. But expect the SEC’s pay-ratio rule to add something more…Under the rule, companies must to disclose median worker pay… and compare it with CEO compensation…Irv Becker told CEO Briefing: ‘But it will be a disclosure item and something that the press and the broader population will pick up on.  It will be meant to embarrass and get headlines.’” (Buss).

A.  An Inside Job.

  1. John MacArthur says that covetousness comes from within the heart/mind, Matthew 15.19.  Paul mentions covetousness specifically as sin in Romans 7.7 and 13.9.
  2. New English Bible Note re ‘covetousness’: “focuses not on an external act [like the first nine] but on an internal mental activity behind the act, the motivation for it…where the object desired is off limits…This command is aimed at curtailing the greedy desire for something belonging to a neighbor, a desire that leads to the taking of it or the attempt to take it. It was used in the story of the Garden of Eden for the tree that was desired.”
  3. 3.    Easton Bible Dictionary re ‘covetousness’:  “It assumes sometimes the more aggravated form of avarice, which is the mark of cold- hearted worldliness”:  don’t strive for worldly lifestyle: Colossians 3.5; Ephesians 5.5 (covetousness is idolatry); Hebrews 13.5 (be content and depend upon God, not strive for money); 1 Timothy 6.9-10 (love of money is a root of evil, to take away faith in God); Matthew 6.20 (lay up treasures in Heaven).
  4. Luke 12.15, Jesus: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

B.  Why is the ‘rich young ruler’ where he is today?

  1. His encounter with Jesus is found in Matthew 19.16-24 and Luke 18.18-25.  [Side bar: how is Mark 10.17-23 different and why?  What is the connection of ‘defraud’ to Jesus’ instructions to sell and give to poor?]
  2. Which of the six of the Ten Commandments did Jesus leave out?  Why?  Could his wealth have been the result of Proverbs 13.22 (Proverbs 28.8 and Job 27.16-17) and Ecclesiastes 2.26?  Or, did Jesus know he was guilty of covetousness and was giving him a means for redemption? Did Jesus want the RYR to realize his sin and make confession?
  3. So, what was his end?  Will you see him in Heaven?  Why or why not?  He was looking for worldly exchange, an earning rather than a relationship which faith for eternal life is (MacArthur’s note).  Solomon wrote: Proverbs 18.11 leading to Proverbs 14.12.
  4. What do you conclude from Proverbs 23.4-5 and 30.7-9?  How much is ‘just enough’?

C.  Scope and sequence

  1. What is the scope of Exodus 20.17?  Is anything excepted and okay to covet?
  2. Why the sequence that is stated?  Did God start with the most obvious first?  Was He anticipating what Moses warned about in Deuteronomy 8.11-20?  Why does He end with the next most obvious, the ‘donkey’?
  3. Why did God include ‘ox’?  What does Micah 2.2 say about the ‘ox’?  What about taking marketshare?  Do we strive to just satisfy customers’ needs, or to purposely displace other providers?  Is this manipulation, similar to promoting wants in addition to needs?  Let God connect buyer to seller, in proportions to bless all providers.  What about advancement in responsibilities?  Does God lead toward His plan for us (John 3.27), or do we seek to displace others to get the job, their job?
  4. How can this be true of pastors and churches?
  5. How does envy relate to covetousness?  Jealousy?  The presence of these means what, according to James 3.16?

D.  So, how do we keep from coveting?

  1. 1.    Watch your company, as Paul warned in 1 Corinthians 5.11-13, Ephesians 5.3-7, and 1 Timothy 6.9-10.
  2. 2.    And, remember 1 John 2.15-17.  Contrast John’s warning with Proverbs 10.22.
  3. 3.    Let Proverbs 30.7-9 guide you, remembering Philippians 4.18-19 and Hebrews 13.5.
  4. 4.    Follow 1 Timothy 6.4.  God will give us the ‘things’ we need for the context of those we are to win to Jesus (2 Corinthians 5.20).  What attracts them?
  5. 5.    After all, Matthew 6.24.  Choose rightly!  Consider Jeremiah 17.9-10.
  6. 6.    Read and reread Jesus’ story in Luke 12.15-21.

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter.  2015.  www.sozoclass.com.

Buss, D.  2014, August 16.  Chief Executive:CEO pay-ratio rule likely to produce little information but         lots of          heat.  Retrieved from www.chiefexecutive.net.

Covert, B.  2014, June 12.  ThinkProgress:CEOs earn nearly 300 times what their workers make.      Retrieved from www.thinkprogress.org.

Crawford, B.  2014, February 17.  Mississippi Business Journal:Covetous politicians, corporations,    consumers befoul America.  Retrieved from www.msbusiness.com.

Favaro, K., Karlsson, P, & Neilson, G.  2014, Summer .  Strategy+Business:The lives and times of the CEO.       Issue 75.  Retrieved from www.strategy-business.com.

Jackson, W.  Christian Courier:The curse of covetousness.  Retrieved from www.christiancourier.com.

[End Note: you might be interested to read the brief story of John D. Rockefeller’s change of      mind regarding money at this website.]

Mountain Wings.  #3248.  Daily Inspiration.  Wings over the Mountains of Life.  Retrieved from www.mountainwings.com.

August 16, 2015 Do Not Covet What Others Have

Do Not Covet What Others Have

“Some years ago, Dr. Irene Hickman, an associate professor of psychology at California State University, prepared a report based upon hundreds of case studies reported in various medical journals. Dr. Hickman declared that nine out of ten illnesses in this country are money related. She stated that ‘economic insecurity and preoccupation with making more and more money is a national illness within itself.’ Professor Hickman asserted that the average income in America is adequate to house, clothe, and feed our families, but our citizenry is obsessed with wanting more and more luxuries” (Jackson).

“Someone asked the multi-billionaire John D. Rockefeller the question of ‘How much money is enough?’  His answer was, ‘One more dollar than I have.’  He therefore, would never have enough, no matter how many billions he had” (Mountain Wings).

A. An Inside Job.

  1. John MacArthur says that covetousness comes from within the heart/mind, Matthew 15.19.  Paul mentions covetousness specifically as sin in Romans 7.7 and 13.9.
  2. New English Bible Note re ‘covetousness’: “focuses not on an external act [like the first nine] but on an internal mental activity behind the act, the motivation for it…where the object desired is off limits…This command is aimed at curtailing the greedy desire for something belonging to a neighbor, a desire that leads to the taking of it or the attempt to take it. It was used in the story of the Garden of Eden for the tree that was desired.”
  3. 3.    Easton Bible Dictionary re ‘covetousness’:  “It assumes sometimes the more aggravated form of avarice, which is the mark of cold-hearted worldliness”:  don’t strive for worldly lifestyle: Colossians 3.5; Ephesians 5.5 (covetousness is idolatry); Hebrews 13.5 (be content and depend upon God, not strive for money); 1 Timothy 6.9-10 (love of money is a root of evil, to take away faith in God); Matthew 6.20 (lay up treasures in Heaven).
  4. Luke 12.15, Jesus: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

B.  Why is the ‘rich young ruler’ where he is today?

  1. His encounter with Jesus is found in Matthew 19.16-24 and Luke 18.18-25.  [Side bar: how is Mark 10.17-23 different and why?  What is the connection of ‘defraud’ to Jesus’ instructions to sell and give to poor?]
  2. Which of the six of the Ten Commandments did Jesus leave out?  Why?  Could his wealth have been the result of Proverbs 13.22 (Proverbs 28.8 and Job 27.16-17) and Ecclesiastes 2.26?  Or, did Jesus know he was guilty of covetousness and was giving him a means for redemption? Did Jesus want the RYR to realize his sin and make confession?
  3. So, what was his end?  Will you see him in Heaven?  Why or why not?  He was looking for worldly exchange, an earning rather than a relationship which faith for eternal life is (MacArthur’s note).
  4. What do you conclude from Proverbs 23.4-5 and 30.7-9?  How much is ‘just enough’?

C.  Scope and sequence

  1. What is the scope of Exodus 20.17?  Is anything excepted and okay to covet?
  2. Why the sequence that is stated?  Did God start with the most obvious first?  Was He anticipating what Moses warned about in Deuteronomy 8.11-20?  Why does He end with the next most obvious, the ‘donkey’?
  3. Why did God include ‘ox’?  What does Micah 2.2 say about the ‘ox’?  What about taking marketshare?  Do we strive to just satisfy customers’ needs, or to purposely displace other providers?  Is this manipulation, similar to promoting wants in addition to needs?  Let God connect buyer to seller, in proportions to bless all providers.  What about advancement in responsibilities?  Does God lead toward His plan for us (John 3.27), or do we seek to displace others to get the job, their job?
  4. How can this be true of pastors and churches?
  5. How does envy relate to covetousness?  Jealousy?  The presence of these means what, according to James 3.16?

D. So, how do we keep from coveting?

  1. 1.    Watch your company, as Paul warned in 1 Corinthians 5.11-13, Ephesians 5.3-7, and 1 Timothy 6.9-10.
  2. 2.    And, remember 1 John 2.15-17.  Contrast John’s warning with Proverbs 10.22.
  3. 3.    Let Proverbs 30.7-9 guide you, remembering Philippians 4.18-19 and Hebrews 13.5.
  4. 4.    Follow 1 Timothy 6.4.????  God will give us the ‘things’ we need for the context of those we are to win to Jesus.  What attracts them?
  5. 5.    After all, Matthew 6.24.  Choose rightly!  Consider Jeremiah 17.9-10.
  6. 6.    Read and reread Jesus’ story in Luke 12.15-21.

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter.  2015.  www.sozoclass.com.

Jackson, W.  Christian Courier: The curse of covetousness. Retrieved from www.christiancourier.com.

[End Note: you might be interested to read the brief story of John D. Rockefeller’s change of mind regarding money at this website.]

Mountain Wings. #3248. Daily Inspiration. Wings over the Mountains of Life. Retrieved from www.mountainwings.com.

August 9, 2015 So What’s Wrong With Lying?

So What’s Wrong With Lying?

“‘Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.’  More than 200 years later, Walter Scott’s words are truer than ever” (1).   “On the one hand, many saints and philosophers agreed that there was no ethical basis for lying under any circumstance. On the other hand, they might not have had to truthfully answer certain difficult questions such as, ‘Darling, does this dress make me look fat?'”  “It is tempting to stretch or embellish the truth when trying to impress someone, but being caught in a lie is much worse than being perceived as a little older or less accomplished.”   “For those aged 18-34…, 30 percent of them still lie to mom the most” (ibid).

“The Boston Globe reported last month that Pulitzer Prize-winning Mount Holyoke College professor Joseph Ellis had lied to his students about being a Vietnam combat veteran” (2).  “In general people who make those types of statements are probably more to be the object of pity than the object of scorn or anger,” says Charles Ford, a psychology professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, who has written about lying.  Generally, people who exaggerate their accomplishments or experiences are really trying to bolster their own self-esteem, more than take advantage of others, he suggests.”  Bella DePaulo, a social psychologist who studies deception at the University of Virginia, says some lying is necessary in everyday life.  ‘It would be a disaster if everybody were totally honest,’ she says….’Behind almost every lie there is a wish that the lie was true'” (ibid).

“Tradition has it that George Washington added [so help me God] during the nation’s first swearing-in ceremony, and every president since has followed suit.  Interestingly, there is no solid historical evidence that Washington did this. The story could be a legend; it did not surface until the 1850s, long after Washington’s death. Nevertheless, the phrase was at some point grafted onto the Oath of Office and has trickled down to other oaths as well” (3).

A.  Bible characters lied; so, why can’t I?

  1. Hebrew midwives: Exodus 1.15-19: Verse 17 says they feared God and, verse 19, lied to Pharaoh.  Verse 20 says God dealt well with them.  Point: deceive men to accomplish God’s instructions?
  2. David: 1 Samuel 20.6: David used lie to discern King Saul’s true intentions.  Is fabrication permitted by God to achieve a higher purpose?
  3. Abraham: Genesis 12.12-13; 20.2 (Sarai was his half-sister; Genesis 20.12): Abram lied to Pharaoh about Sarai not being his wife to keep from being killed, he reasoned.  He did the same to Abimelech. He told King Abimelech that Sarai was the daughter of his father but not his mother; therefore, his half-sister. Are partial truths okay to tell?
  4. Isaac: Genesis 26.7: Isaac told King Abimelech that Rebekah was his sister to keep from being killed, he thought.  Good teaching, father Abraham!  Like David, is it okay to lie to save your life?
  5. Jacob: Genesis 27.24: Jacob lied to his blind father to get the blessing intended for Esau.  Is it okay to lie to those who displease God?  Does Psalm 139.21-22 and Proverbs 8.13 identify them?  What about 1 Corinthians 6.9-10?  (Scripture says God hated Esau; Malachi 1.3.  Why?  Father of Edomites; Genesis 36.1.  Edomites did not let Israelites go through their land on their way to The Promised Land, but captured and enslaved the stragglers; Obadiah 1.1-21 and Numbers 20.20-21.   In Genesis 27.41, Esau said he would kill Jacob after Isaac’s death because of the stolen blessing.  Esau had already ‘despised his birthright’ by exchanging it for a bowl of soup; Genesis 25.29-34.  He was not wholeheartedly devoted to God.  He had a rebellious nature!)
  6. Thus, who is permitted to lie and under what circumstances?  What did Jesus say in Sermon on Mount? In Matthew 5.33-37, Jesus said not the “swear falsely” and that anything more than “Yes” or “No” “comes from evil.”
  7. Rahab explained her lie about the Hebrew spies in Joshua 2.9-11.  So, perhaps David Jones paraphrases  a correct definition of lying from J. I. Packer: “a lie is a word or act that intentionally deceives a neighbor in order to hurt him…The sin of false witness is that of distorting the facts in such a way to harm one’s neighbor” (4).  So, were those who heard David, Abraham, and Isaac lie ‘harmed’?
  8. Were David, Abraham, and Isaac depending upon their own ingenuity/themselves, rather than upon God?  How does lying illustrate Jeremiah 13.10 and Isaiah 5.20?
  9. 9.   Remember that Abraham and Isaac lived before the Decalogue was given to Moses by God.  So, what had God said earlier about lying?  From Adam’s shame-filled response to God in Genesis 3.10, God knew that he had eaten the forbidden fruit and knew evil and good.  Adam and Eve had believed the ‘father of lies’ and begun to practice his tongue.  God’s punishments of painful child-bearing and difficult farming expressed His displeasure.

10.Proverb 30.7-9: keep me away from lying!  Why? Proverbs 6.12-19 says that God hates lying.  Jeremiah 5.1 says that lying was one reason He let Assyria conquer Judah and Israel.  His bargain reminds one of Abraham’s negotiation about Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18.22-33.

B.  We are not to lie because lying demonstrates satan’s character in us.

  1. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for this: John 8.44.
  2. Paul’s told Timothy that the Law was given to warn violators of their wickedness and plea for their righteous behaviors: 1 Timothy 1.9-11.
  3. Consider Apostle John’s stern warning against lying: Revelation 21.27; 22.15.
  4. Lying is egregious because it shows satan’s character in man, whom God made in His image!  How does Matthew 15.18-20a illustrate Matthew 6.23?  How is lying darkness?
  5. Easton’s Bible Dictionary definition of lying: ‘an intentional violation of the truth.’  How does this compare with the definition in A.7?

C.  We are not to lie because we are to serve practical justice.

  1. Exodus 20.16 leads to Exodus 23.1.  Consider the stern protocol in Deuteronomy 19.16-21.  Would that deter lying today in the family, business, and society in general?  Consider Solomon’s wisdom about lying, in Proverbs 19.9 and 24.28.
  2. The New English Bible’s footnote to Exodus 20.16 explains: “’a lying witness’ means ‘you shall not answer as a lying witness’”; thus, prohibiting perjury; generally, prohibited lying about people: Leviticus 5.1 illustrates this principle (5).
  3. John MacArthur’s note to Exodus 20.16: “Justice is not served by any untruthful testimony. Practically all societies have recognized this principle and adjure all witnesses in courts to tell the truth and nothing but the truth” (ibid).
  4. ESV Strong’s explanation of “’false’: ‘an untruth; by implication, a sham’; most often written as lie; deception (what deceives or disappoints or betrays one), fraud, in vain” (ibid).
  5. Lying violates trust which is the foundation of all relationships.  Proverbs 25.19.

D.  So, what’s wrong with lying?

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2015.  www.sozoclass.com

1.  CBS Interactive, Inc.  February 2014.  60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll: Lying.  Retrieved from www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-vanity-fair-poll-lying/

  1. Oliver Libaw.  July 2, 2015.  How widespread is lying in America?  Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/print?id=92966
  2. Rob Boston.  January 2013.  Church & State: So help me, gods: Presidents and other public officials can take their oaths on a Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, or even a lawbook.  Retrieved from http://www.au.org/church- state/january-2013-church-state/featured/so-help-me-gods
  3. David Jones.  2013.  An introduction to Biblical ethics.  Digital edition.  Location 2226.  Retrieved from www.amazon.com.
  4. Bibles in electronic versions from Olive Tree Study Bibles app retrieved from www.apple.com.