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Exodus 20:17 1
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

clip_image086Background

Exodus is the name given to the second book of the Pentateuch (q.v.). It means “departure” or “outgoing.” This name was adopted in the Latin translation, and thence passed into other languages. The Hebrews called it by the first words, according to their custom, Ve-eleh shemoth (i.e., “and these are the names”). It contains:

  1. An account of the increase and growth of the Israelites in Egypt (ch. 1)
  2. Preparations for their departure out of Egypt (2-12:36).
  3. Their journeying from Egypt to Sinai (12:37-19:2).
  4. The giving of the law and the establishment of the institutions by which the organization of the people was completed, the theocracy, “a kingdom of priest and an holy nation” (19:3-ch. 40).

The time comprised in this book, from the death of Joseph to the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, is about one hundred and forty-five years, on the supposition that the four hundred and thirty years (12:40) are to be computed from the time of the promises made to Abraham (Gal. 3:17).

The authorship of this book, as well as of that of the other books of the Pentateuch, is to be ascribed to Moses. The unanimous voice of tradition and all internal evidences abundantly support this opinion.

Biblical Truths

Here, “house” is the equivalent of household. God lists the remaining items so we clearly understand what He means by “house.” In Deuteronomy 5:21, “wife”—or “spouse,” since a woman can covet too—is moved to first position as the very crown of one’s possessions, and “field” is included as the Israelites were soon to settle in the Promised Land.

One Bible commentator said all public crime would cease if this one law was kept. Another said every sin against one’s neighbor springs from the breaking of this commandment, whether of word or deed. Between the two wordings in Exodus and Deuteronomy, a sevenfold guarding of another’s interests shows the underlying concept of outgoing concern. In this command we step from the outer world of word and deed into the secret place where all good and evil begins, the heart (Matthew 15:18-19). This inner man determines a person’s destiny.

Even when coveting falls short of directly breaking another commandment, it can damage both persons and principles. When a person covets what is another’s, even though he may not actually lift a hand to take it, he robs virtue of its real meaning and makes obedience a hollow, mechanical activity. Any wife who has caught her husband gazing lustfully on another woman knows what this means. It kills trust in the relationship. At such a point, lust is already destroying.

Covetousness is an insatiable desire for worldly gain and lies at the heart of where most sin originates. Of all the commandments, the tenth especially emphasizes man’s relationship to man, which is readily seen in the repeated phrase “your neighbor’s.” It protects the interests of others in seven major areas listed individually within the commandment.

Items for Discussion

  • It is not wrong to want something. When does a legitimate want become a coveted sin?
  • What is the real danger is covetousness?
  • How should we value our accomplishments, both physical possessions as well as the more esoteric such as education, good looks, a trim body, so that we do not become possessed by them?
  • Can someone cause another to covet?
  • What are the typical results of covetousness?
  • What is the opposite of covetousness? (See Proverbs 21:26; 22:9)
  • What should we pursue instead? (See Matthew 6:19-21; I Timothy 6:10-11)

 

Acts 2:1-13
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Background

Roman law required written documents, containing all the pertinent background regarding a case, to precede an appellant’s appearance before Caesar. There are some scholars who suspect that the two volumes penned by Luke were to comply with those requirements in preparation for Paul’s trial in Rome. The traditional title of this book is, in some respects, a misnomer: it primarily deals with the “acts” of Peter (Chapters 1-12) and Paul (Chapters 13-28). It really should be called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus had indicated that the next phase of God’s program would be “The Comforter’s”:

Among the pivotal passages are several that have significance far beyond the immediate narrative. Perhaps foremost of these is Chapter 2, in which we see the fulfillment of the prophetic significance of the Hag Shavout, “The Feast of Weeks” (or “Pentecost”), in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, generally regarded as the birth of the Church. Another chapter with special revelations is Chapter 7, where young Stephen gives a review of the Old Testament to the most august body of the Jews, the Sanhedrin. One other is the famous “Council of Jerusalem” in Acts 15, at which James adjudicates the debate over what a Gentile must do to be saved. It is also significant in underscoring that God is not finished with Israel.

Biblical Truths

At the Pentecost of Sinai, in the Old Testament, and the Pentecost of Jerusalem, in the New, where the two grand manifestations of God, the legal and the evangelical; the one from the mountain, and the other from heaven; the terrible, and the merciful one. They were all with one accord in one place – So here was a conjunction of company, minds, and place; the whole hundred and twenty being present and it filled all the house – That is, all that part of the temple where they were sitting.

And there appeared distinct tongues, as of fire – That is, small flames of fire. This is all which the phrase, tongues of fire, means in the language of the seventy. Yet it might intimate God’s touching their tongues as it were (together with their hearts) with Divine fire: his giving them such words as were active and penetrating, even as flaming fire. They began to speak with other tongues – The miracle was not in the ears of the hearers, (as some have unaccountably supposed,) but in the mouth of the speakers. And this family praising God together, with the tongues of the entire world, was an earnest that the whole world should in due time praise God in their various tongues. As the Spirit gave them utterance – Moses, the type of the law, was of a slow tongue; but the Gospel speaks with a fiery and flaming one. Present were:

  1. Judea – The dialect of which greatly differed from that of Galilee. Asia – The country strictly so called.
  2. Roman sojourners – Born at Rome, but now living at Jerusalem. These seem to have come to Jerusalem after those who are above mentioned. All of them were partly Jews by birth, and partly proselytes.
  3. Cretans – One island seems to be mentioned for all. The wonderful works of God – Probably those which related to the miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, together with the effusion of his Spirit, as a fulfillment of his promises, and the glorious dispensations of Gospel grace.

They were all amazed but others mocking – The world begins with mocking, thence proceeds to caviling, Ac 4:7; to threats, 4:17; to imprisoning, Ac 5:18; blows, 5:40; to slaughter, Ac 7:58. These mockers appear to have been some of the natives of Judea, and inhabitants of Jerusalem, (who understood only the dialect of the country,) by the apostle’s immediately directing his discourse to them in the next verse. They are full of sweet wine – So the Greek word properly signifies. There was no new wine so early in the year as Pentecost. Thus natural men are quick to ascribe supernatural things to mere natural causes; and many times as offensively and unskillfully as in this case.

Items for Discussion

  • Do you personally believe in the miracle of tongues?
  • What is the Scriptural evidence that we are to look for should we encounter this miracle?
  • If you believe that the Holy Spirit can inspire someone, what would the skills be that someone would need to be a great evangelist?
  • Have you ever found yourself operating at a higher level of skill that you contributed to God’s or the Holy Spirit’s help?
  • Why is mockery so effective in stopping someone’s attempt to do something?
  • When does humor become a form of mockery?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can this Church help advance the skills of others so that they can become proficient at spreading the Good News??

 

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version translations
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