The Temple Where the LORD Dwells
When King Solomon completed the Temple in Jerusalem, furnishing it with all of its specified utensils and basins, made by skilled craftsmen for the house of the LORD, he assembled the elders of Israel and the leaders of Israel with the Levites to bring up the ark of the covenant. King Solomon and all of the people of Israel assembled before the ark “were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.” 2 Chronicles 5.6
We are told that the priests placed the ark of the LORD, holding the two tablets that Moses, into the inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, setting it in its place. The consecrated priests of the LORD, the Levitical singers, with other priests blowing their trumpets united in the praise and worship to the LORD, with cymbals and other instruments, as the singers say, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.” 2 Chronicles 5.13-14
It is told that Solomon’s Temple was one of the great wonders of the world. Yet, despite its architectural splendor, it was the works of man’s hands until the glory of the LORD filled it. Solomon knew it, Israel knew it, and we know it today. Unless the LORD chose to enter the Temple, it was nothing more than a shell of what it was intended to be, empty of the glory of the LORD.
King Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple was in the presence of the whole assembly. “He said, O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.” “Therefore, O LORD, the God of Israel, let Your word be confirmed which You have spoken to Your servant David.… But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house … I have built. Listen to the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel when they pray toward this place; hear from Your dwelling place, from heaven hear and forgive.” 2 Chronicles 6.14-21
King Solomon humbly asks the Sovereign LORD for grace and mercy through many life situations; from crime and attack, from drought and famine, from foreigner and war, but also for the sins Israel commits, saying “When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to a land far off or near, … if they take thought … and repent … saying, ‘We have sinned, we have committed iniquity and have acted wickedly; if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul … then hear from heaven, from Your dwelling place … and forgive Your people who have sinned against You.” 2 Chronicles 6.37-40
The Temple was where the LORD’s name dwelt; the holy place where God’s people assembled together to praise and worship Him; the sacred place where God hears, answers, and forgives the sins of His praying people.
When Jesus cleansed the Temple of those selling oxen, sheep, doves, and He drove out the moneychangers, overturning their tables, He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” When the Jews ask Him for a sign to validate the authority to do these things, Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews say, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” “But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” John 2.14-21
Herod’s Temple had become an unholy place where the name of God was being defamed by those turning it into a place of business, instead of a house of prayer and worship to God. The Jews thought Jesus was referring to this temple that took forty-six years to build, the works of men’s hands. But Jesus knew their evil thoughts, they wanted to destroy the temple of His body in which He, as the Son of God, lived, for He states, “in three days I will raise it up.” As John 1.14 states, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Where Jesus dwelt, in His human temple, was sinless, spotless, holy, and the Jews wanted to destroy Him.
We as members of His Body, the Church, as we live in our bodies, are indwelt with the Spirit of the living God. We are called to be holy as God is holy. In fact, the Apostle Paul teaches us that we are the temple of God. In 1 Corinthians 3.16-17, we read, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
The temple of our bodies must never be defiled by worldly idolatry or immorality, for such corrupt associations desecrate the place where God has chosen to dwell. We must be reminded that friendship with the world and/or loving of the world puts us at enmity with God and the Father’s love is not in those who do so. As Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 6.19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
This is why we are exhorted in 2 Corinthians 6.14-18, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. ”AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me.” says the Lord Almighty.”
Your and my temples are places the LORD dwells; holy places where we praise and worship Him; sacred place where God hears, answers, and forgives us of our sins as His humble, penitent, praying people; with Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into the dwelling of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2.20-22.
To the glory of God
Steven L. Myers
October Pulpit Schedule
3rd – A Cause for Lament – 2 Kings 24:1-4, John 11:25-35, Revelation 3:1-6
Disaster has struck among God’s people. Filled with the sights and smells of death, the air is so thick it is hard to breath. The temple is gone, and people wonder if there is even a God to worship. How can life go on? How can this be possible for God’s chosen people? Does God even care that His people are suffering? Lamentations is a book of profound sorrow. Not only are its verses filled with heartache and pain, it is written in the midst of the loss of Jerusalem into the hands of pagan peoples. Among other things, it represents a loss of the established witness of God’s rule and reign on earth.
10th – The Fall of a City and the Loss of Hope – Lamentation 1, 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, Psalm 137
From A to Z, God’s wrath has been poured out upon Jerusalem and the nation is lost. The Lamenter gives voice to the suffering of the sinful people as they seek out the righteous God. While Christians today do not experience the loss of a national identity in the same way as the Israelites, our lives are often full of loss from death, sin, and unmet expectations. Lamentations serves as a powerful help by bringing our redemption to bear in the course of suffering.
17th – God’s Zeal, God’s Glory, A Prophet’s Forthtelling – Lamentation 2, Genesis 9:11-17, 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:5
The Lamenter is not done. Lamentations contain another circuit of destruction and woe. God’s people are still left with death and darkness because of their sin. If left to their own devices, there is no hope and no way forward. While Christians have the assurance from God’s Spirit of the efficacy of Christ’s atoning work, perfect peace in this life is not fully realized. Lamentations helps us see the way in which the costly mercy of God is freely given to His people at the cost of His Son.
24th – Tossed, Turned, and Spun About – Lamentation 3:1-38, Deuteronomy 28:58-68, Galatians 5:22-25
God is sovereign. Hallelujah! That blessed fact does not make the reality of suffering and failure easy. In fact, in the midst of troubles, life often seems to be flipped upside down. It may even feel as though there is no way forward. Apart from the Lord, there is not. Thanks be to God that He has poured out His wrath upon His Son and poured out His Spirit upon us.
31st – The Justice of God in the Distress of Man – Lamentation 3:39-66, Isaiah 61:1-3, Hebrews 12:1-6
What good does it do me to know that God’s compassion never fails, if He does not hear my prayers? At this point, the Lamenter has affirmed God’s great love and mercy but still languishes amidst suffering. Like the Lamenter, we need to look to the Lord who gives all good things. Though we may not understand all of His purposes at this time, we continue to look to Him and trust that He will work all things together for good in our lives.
World Communion Sunday
Churches around the world have observed the first Sunday of October as World Communion Sunday, a day when all Christian churches serve the Lord’s Supper. Leidy’s Church joins with other churches on October 3rd to remember the Lord Jesus in the Lord’s Supper.
From the Pastor to Youth & Children
In the course of several months, I have been attempting to isolate some of the different elements of worship and describe their importance. This month, I am struck by Psalm 15. Its opening verse in particular draws attention to a critical issue. It says O LORD, WHO MAY ABIDE IN YOUR TENT? WHO MAY DWELL ON YOUR HOLY HILL? In short, Psalm 15 asks who is to come and worship the Lord. Who is to dwell with the Lord? Who is to have their citizenship in heaven? As we think about our worship service, the way it is structured, and the importance it has for our lives, we would do well to consider the remaining verses of Psalm 15.
Verse 2 begins to answer verse 1 saying, HE WHO WALKS WITH INTEGRITY, AND WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND SPEAKS TRUTH IN HIS HEART. Immediately, this sends a shiver down my spine. I try to keep my word and deal honestly with every person I meet. I seek to show love for others and obedience to God. Yet, I do not do so perfectly. In fact, I spend days in my own power adding to my own unrighteousness. This is leaving my heart out of the discussion. Jeremiah tells me that my heart is deceitful above all else, and I tend to agree with him. Does this mean that I cannot dwell on the Lord’s holy hill? Does it mean that I should not worship the Lord or that my prayers will not be heard?
If Psalm 15 were the only word on the matter, we would have to conclude that no one apart from Christ is able to abide in the Lord’s tent. Our sins prevent each one of us from coming to the Lord. Thankfully, the Lord in His gracious lovingkindness does not leave us to wallow in the misery of sin. Instead, He placed our sins on His own beloved Son, the Lord Jesus. Being made righteous by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, I AM able to dwell with the Lord. I am able to come and worship Him in spirit and in truth.
We may well wonder how this might change our worship service or fit into our corporate worship of God. If Christ is the only way by which we can worship the Lord, then those who do not know Christ will find their worship hindered (indeed impossible). This does not mean that non-Christians are to be excluded from the worship service. Instead, remembering that the word of God is to be proclaimed publicly and recognizing that God’s Word will not return to Him without accomplishing His desired results, we should welcome saints and sinners alike into the worship service. In this way, we pray that God’s Spirit would move within all people guiding and directing them to the Christ.
As we reflect upon our place within the body of Christ, may we always remember that we are here by a gracious act of resurrection. We were dead in our sins and trespasses, but God has made us alive in Christ. He saves us not on the basis of the deeds we have done but according to His great love with which He loved us. Amen.
To the Praise of His Glory,
Usher Captains: Tim Leidy, Peter Martindell
Ushers: Brian Shoemaker, Jake Niederhaus, Frank Allebach, Randy Godshall, Bob Ott, Calvin Radcliff, Ken Godshall, Mark Kostishion, Joe Sciacca, Josh Heebner, Jeremy Smith, Nick Sciacca, Jim Foote, Gary Brown.
The week of October 10th is when our Gym will be transformed with all the donated items we have received, and our community is invited to shop for their family wardrobes, linens, jewelry, books, toys, household items, and much more!
The Big R actually takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, the 13th and 14th, but much work is done before then as well. Here’s when workers are needed:
- On Monday and Tuesday from 9am to 8pm items are unpacked and arranged.
- On Wednesday (9am to 8pm) we need friendly workers to bag items, serve as cashiers, and straighten items as many shoppers come to make their purchases.
- On Thursday (9am to 6pm) we need the same sorts of workers as Wednesday, plus more! It’s the sales day featuring bags of goods for only $2, quite an attractive deal.
- On Thursday at 6pm we need willing hands and strong backs to transform our facilities back for ministry before Sunday.
Mary Beth Musselman has a schedule she needs to fill, so be sure to speak with her if you can be plugged in at any time to help.
The funds raised at the Big R are disbursed where needed at Leidy’s Church and in our community by Ladies of Leidy’s. It’s a big undertaking, and with your help we can make it another great event.
In 1903 the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. Since 1929 millions (perhaps billions) of lives have been saved by antibiotics. From 1969 onward we have lived in a world that has put a man on the moon. The Bible says that nothing which man purposes to do will be impossible for him. This has led us to believe that we have everything in life figured out. Come and join us as we follow the Harrison family and learn about the One who has all things “Controlled”. Showings will take place October 22-24 and October 29-31. Please visit leidyschurch.org/gospeldrama to sign up.
If you would like to participate in the drama, we still need folks to help us build sets, act, and serve in a variety of other ways. Please contact the church office or Pastor Michael for ways you can help. Please join us in praying that the Lord would bless this outreach effort and that His Spirit would be moving in the hearts of those who will come.
Stop, don’t hesitate, and listen
Youth is back with a brand-new edition
Life shared to God with devotion
Faith lived out with others not commotion
Will it ever stop? Yo, don’t think so
6 to 8 Sunday’s. Let’s Go
WorthWhile Wear Telethon
Friday, the 22nd of October, is the date set for the 10th annual fund-raising Telethon by WorthWhile Wear. There are tickets available for those who would like to attend in person, or it’s possible to participate via livestream, or even host a little house party and have others join you for the livestream. Go to www.WorthwhileWear.org to get tickets or complete information
The goal is to raise $200,000 this year to help towards expanding Worth It, renovating a new home for The Well, and renovating a new Worthwhile Thrift store in Collegeville where we’ll be able to employ more survivors. to support survivors of human trafficking. There will be a live house band, guest interviews, information from human trafficking experts and activists, survivor stories, and on-line auction among other features of the evening.
Music and other pre-event activities begin at 6:30, with the Telethon kicking off at 7pm.
Report from India
In the early summer Leidy’s Church issued a call for donations to help with Covid relief in India. Over $2,250 was given. Recently we received a letter from Byron Hack, President of GTi Hope regarding our cash gift. You’ll be interested to hear what he wrote:
Dear Leidy’s Church Family,
Thank you very much for your gift. It has provided sixty-four impoverished families in India with COVID Relief Kits of food and basic supplies. Your gifts showed the love of Jesus in a practical way to families from villages where our Bible-content literacy programs have been conducted. The local ministry partner distributed the kits to people based on greatest need, regardless of their faith or whether or not they had participated in the literacy program. The kits were distributed in July and August after COVID lockdowns were lifted in India.
[Here’s the story of one of the families that received a COVID kit. There are many similar accounts.]
Vollepu Lalitha is 40 years old and lives in the Vaddar colony in Telengana. She lost her job due to the pandemic and suffered severely during the Corona virus lockdown period. She never imagined that she would be among those chosen to receive help. She asked our local ministry partner who had provided the supplies. She was startled to find that they were donors who did not even know her situation personally.
Not only did the COVID relief kit provide enough food for a month, but she was amazed at the quality of the provisions. She reported that she “never buys, or even tasted, such materials as she always uses the least materials.” The supplies she was given included “fine rice,” and “protein,” and “quality food!”
She told the organizers of the distribution that she knew this was the love of Christ.
She has hope for the future and has drawn closer to Jesus because she had been “lifted up by the donors’ service to the poor.”
[Bryon ended his letter this way:]
. . . We pray your gifts are a blessing to you just as they were such a blessing to those families. You are bringing hope to the hopeless!
Bryon Hack, President, GTi Hope
Operation Christmas Child
Samaritan’s Purse has a well-deserved reputation for doing the work of a good Samaritan in places of dire need all around the world. One part of that earned street cred comes from the Operation Christmas Child project. You can be part of that project this year.
The Mission Committee has assembled shoe boxes which are available in the narthex and other public areas of the church. The boxes are empty. The task of those who pick up a box (or two!) is to fill it. But don’t fill it with just anything. Inside each box is information explaining how to fill it, including what to include and what not to include. Read it!!! Again this year there is a tag you can put on “your box” which if you scan it into your phone, you can track your box’s destination!
Boxes are to be labelled for “boy” or “girl.” Also, each box is to be labelled for 2-4 years old or 5-9 years old or 10-14 years old. If you don’t read the instructions [and follow them!], you won’t be able to label your box properly.
Over the years we’ve received feedback from missionaries we support or who’ve stayed in the Mission House about the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. In each instance, the report is glowing with praise and appreciation. The kids are ecstatic, and the families are blessed. That’s true whether you’re talking about Ontario or Romania or Ukraine or Venezuela or Uzbekistan or Kenya or wherever. It’s an effective means of sharing goods and the Good News at the same time. Both are much needed.
All boxes are due back to the church by November 7th. Thanks for participating in the 2021 Operation Christmas Childproject.
Gospel Gleanings News
Global Disciples is excited about two separate worship seminars they will conduct over the next month. This is a first for Global Disciples. It represents a new dimension in their work to raise up indigenous church planters. Tim Bentch is the fellow who is leading this new initiative.
The first training takes place September 27th through October 1st, while the second – at a different location – takes place October 4th through the October 8th. The two different sites were chosen to make the event more accessible for participants from particular areas of nearby countries.
Leaders are sent by partnering clusters of churches to be trained to be trainers of others. The goal is to see emerging churches in the region empowered in worship. Since the vast majority of new believers are from Muslim or pagan backgrounds, the new churches have been struggling with worship. There will be 46 worship leaders taking part in the two separate trainings. They come from countries such as Cameroon [surprise!], Central African Republic, northern Nigeria, and Chad.
As we collect our daily Gospel Gleanings dollar and continue to pray daily, we can thank God that this is one of the outcomes of our prayers and our giving.
Gettysburg Tours: Get Signed Up
The Lord willing, there will be two different Gettysburg tours offered this year. The dates for the tours are not set but will be determined/negotiated by the availability of those who register to participate. Cost per seat is $100. The tours leave the church parking lot at 5:30am – yes, sleeping is permitted on the drive out! – and are expected to return to the parking lot around 8:30 or 9pm. Drinks (but no coffee, after all . . .!), snacks, and lunch are provided in addition to the fascinatingly accurate and scintillating descriptions of the events at Gettysburg. Call the church office to register for one of the following tours, if either should be of interest to you:
- General Survey Tour that covers all three days of the battle and all areas of the battlefield. The 25 square miles of preserved ground is unparalleled in accessibility and allows for vivid picturing of the events that took place. Commentary will include biographical vignettes, explanation of troop movements, discussion of strategy, explanation of weapons, and much more. This is the standard tour for getting familiar with Gettysburg.
- Union 5th Corps at Gettysburg will follow this celebrated and distinguished set of troopers from Maryland to Gettysburg. It’s an exciting journey that goes from Union Mills, MD, through Hanover and Bonneauville, PA, before culminating in famous engagements such as The Wheatfield, Little Round Top, the Valley of Death, and Seminary Ridge among others. This tour has not been offered before, so it may seem a bit more unfinished.
Proceeds from the tours will go toward our Gospel Gleanings program.
BIG THANK YOU
The Church & Community Committee would like to thank all those who helped with the boxes for the Afghan refugees. We thank God for your generous and timely help in this effort. Though it is still too soon for us to know exactly how many boxes and other donations were given, it is not too soon to say already the response has been quite voluminous! We pray the Lord Jesus will use those boxes in the lives of the refugees for good and in the lives of the givers for good as well. It is a blessed thing to be able to help those in need. It is a blessed thing to be willing to help those in need. It is a blessed thing to receive help when one is in need.
Within the Fellowship
Our sincere Christian sympathy to Joyce Godshall and family at the death of her father, to Bob Bugge and family at the death of his wife Ruth, and to Jean Frederick and family at the death of her husband, Larry. May God be with these families at this difficult time.
On Wednesday, September 8th, the Consistory of Immanuel Leidy’s Church met, and minutes were taken from the meeting, from which relevant notes are listed below.
Jim Kinney provided devotions sighting various passages in John 1, 8 & 9 in discussing Jesus being the Light of the World. He opened by relating this to the power outage he experienced the previous week due to the flooding. The world is full of sin and darkness and as evidenced in scripture, we need the light that Christ bears. We should also be bearers of that light. Mathew 5:14-15 makes clear that Christ calls us to bear His light to all men, glorifying God. Jim ended with Psalm 73, reminding us to let the Christ be a lamp for our feet and a light for our path
Minutes from last Consistory Meeting and the financial report from August were reviewed and approved.
Items of business discussed were an update on the wicking and steeple projects, the HUB window replacement project, and the HUB lease contract renewal and rent.
Penn builders have made promises to remediate the wicking issue from the exterior but have not delivered on the promises. There was discussion about pursuing other means of correction to complete these projects. A motion was made and approved to seek quotes from other companies.
Usher captain coordinator position was discussed by Consistory, and it was decided that it would not be reinstated due to the competency of current system of usher captains and usher teams.
The HUB Assessment Committee informed Consistory that a new lease agreement is due, and it was decided to set the rent at $3750 a month for a 6-month lease agreement.
The repair of the cracks in the church parking lot is to be assessed by Bux-Mont Paving Company LLC. If necessary, the work will be done in the fall.
Pulpit Committee gave a unanimous recommendation to Spiritual Council and Consistory that the current candidate be considered as candidate for senior pastor. Spiritual Council and Consistory unanimously recommended that he be recommended to the congregation and that he be scheduled to preach a sample sermon on September 26th, after which the congregation will vote as to whether or not he be offered the position. Compensation for the senior pastor position was also discussed, with the potential of moving expenses, which was approved.
Children’s Church updated report was made. The curriculum for the Lion’s class will be modified to train and assist the children in topics centering on the worship service, which will include the doxology, the Lord’s prayer, the benediction, the Apostle’s Creed, and the 10 Commandments.
Reports from the pastoral staff were submitted and highlighted on the subjects of IBLAST, IT issues, ‘Controlled” gospel outreach, and Shepherding ministry.
Other reports about Sunday in the Shade service, shepherding revision distribution, and the October 3rd Communion schedule were presented.
Jim Kinney prayed for enumerated concerns after which the meeting was adjourned with a unison of praying the Lord’s Prayer at 11:25 PM.
Christmas Craft & Gift Sale
Commitment Forms are now available for this year’s Annual Christmas Craft & Gift Sale and tables are going quickly. If you are a crafter or home sales vendor, please get your form in to the church office as soon as possible. We need to know what products our congregation has represented before we solicit others to join us. Don’t forget this is also an excellent opportunity for individuals or small groups to publicize or raise money for a mission that is near & dear to you!
New City Catechism
Question 12: What does God require in the ninth and tenth commandments?
Ninth, that we do not lie or deceive, but speak the truth in love. Tenth, that we are content, not envying anyone or resenting what God has given them or us.
James 2:8: If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.
Commentary – John Bradford
Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbour. Now dost thou, most gracious Lord, instruct me in this commandment, how I should use my tongue towards my neighbour, and behave myself concerning his name, forbidding me to bear false witness; in the which thou forbiddest me all kinds of slandering, lying, hypocrisy, and untruth. And why? Because, as “members of one body,” thou wouldest we should “speak truth one to another,” and be careful every one to cover others’ infirmity, and with our tongue defend the names of others, even as we would that others should defend ours: so that in this commandment, as thou forbiddest me all kind of evil, perilous, calumnious and untrue speaking, so dost thou command to me all kind of godly, honest, and true report and talk. . . . O how great a good thing is this unto me! If we consider the hurt that cometh by untruth, and by words wherethrough many are deceived, easily may we see a wonderful benefit and care of thee for us in this commandment.
Thou Shalt Not Covet. . . . Here, O most gracious Lord God, thou givest me the last commandment of thy law who having taught me what outward actions I shall avoid, that I do not thereby offend or undo my neighbour, as murder, adultery, theft, and false witness, now thou teachest me a rule for my heart, to order that well, from the abundance whereof all our works and words proceed, that I shall not covet any thing that is my neighbour’s. I know hereby that, if he have a fairer house than I, I may not wish for it; if he have a more beautiful wife than I, I may not desire her. . . . I may not desire to take from him his ox, nor his ass, no, not his dog, no, not the meanest thing he hath in his possession. So that, in the other commandments as thou hast forbidden all injuries and evil practice against my neighbour, so now thou chargest me to beware of thinking any evil thought against him. . . . The apostle said well, when he taught us, saying, “Cast all your care upon God, for he careth for you.” It is true, I find it true: thus thou “carest for us,” and wouldest have us to “care one for another.”
The tongue is a restless evil. It sets the whole person on fire, James 3 tells us. And so the ninth commandment is aimed part at bridling the tongue. It’s aimed at bridling the tongue with truth, teaching us to put off falsehood, to put off lying. In our culture, to accuse someone of telling a lie is a serious insult, so many people hesitate to even use the term. I think that this hesitancy reveals fallen man’s heart to shy away from this commandment—as well as his need of this commandment.
What does it mean that we think the command “thou shalt not lie” or the word lie is impolite? It probably indicates that in some ways we’re already shading the truth. We’re already pulling back from a full expression of what’s good, what’s right, and what’s true. And the ninth commandment convicts us of that. It points out our fallenness when it comes to our use of the tongue and the destruction that the tongue represents.
And, likewise, the tenth commandment: “Thou shalt not covet.” If you can imagine the heart having hands, coveting is like the heart grasping for things, desiring things, laying hold of things that don’t properly belong to it. What’s remarkable and beautiful about this commandment—about all of Scripture, in fact—is that even though the commandment addresses something inward (that inward grasping of the heart), it also points out the social implications of that interior grasping. So we have “thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbor’s.” Not our neighbor’s spouse, not our neighbor’s cattle, not anything that belongs to our neighbor.
The tenth commandment sets for us a kind of boundary that protects against the way covetousness tends to cross lines. We are tempted to cross the line of desires, longing for things that aren’t properly in our possession. We cross the line of property, grasping for things that belong to another person (your neighbor’s cattle, your neighbor’s spouse). So our coveting actually, socially, does injury to our neighbor. And there’s another line that we cross. When we covet, what we’re actually saying is that God has not apportioned his creation roperly because he hasn’t given us everything we desire. And so the heart, in its fallen, sinful way, grasps for things that don’t belong to it and seeks for things that actually belong on the other side of ownership—to the neithbor or to God.
These commandments speak to us, and they call us forth to truthtelling. And not just to truth-telling, but to the truth spoken in love. They call forth a bridling, a restraining, and a channeling of desire to things that are good and right. They call us to things that God has legitimately given to us for our enjoyment, and to be content in how God has distributed his blessing, how he rules his creation. They call us not to go outside of that contentment by taking things, for if we do, we destroy society, culture, and our neighbors. This is true even if the taking of what doesn’t belong to us is only a taking in heart.