A Simple Story About Two Different Men
The Ugly Word: Covet
Covet: to want to have something very much, especially something that belongs to someone else.
Acting on Coveting Opens the Door to Destruction
In the story of the two men, the rich man has the audacious desire to have and then steals the one prized possession of the poor man. He adds stealing on top of coveting. To not steal is another thing spoken about in the ten commandments.
You might say, “wait a minute – I see the stealing, but not the coveting”.
Let me explain. He coveted it when he looked and desired to have it: something that belonged to someone else. You begin to get the idea of how bad this is when you see someone looking at what is yours, even at your wife or your husband, with the desire to take her or him from you.
The rich man, even though he had his own flocks or herds of livestock, had his desires set on the one lamb of the poor man. He looked and desired before he stole. His discontent drove him to destructive sin.
The Biblical mandate for all is to live the opposite of this. We should celebrate other’s gifts and generously give to others. The poor man lived right and the rich man was evil.
Everybody is tempted to covet and to steal. We all need to not do that. But it is particularly egregious when the rich covet and steal the prizes or the gifts that poor people possess.
David: Man after God’s own heart and egregious sinner.
The person’s story that this parable points to is a particular person, who was one of the most honored and favored persons in the whole Bible: David. We could examine this story, forgetting it’s immediate context, but look at it in the context of the whole of scripture and conclude or teach, and rightly so, that God is against the rich exploiting the poor. All of scripture and God himself, stands against this rich man and the evil thing he did.
But it turns out that this rich man, the bad person in this story, was none other than David, beloved of God, grandfather of Jesus. When I read the wider story here, I wept for Uriah, and I wept for the baby. I felt very sad for Bathsheba and very angry at David.
There is a cognitive dissonance here, a paradox. The, “Man after God’s own heart”, engaged in something diabolical. If you read the rest of the story, you will hear God’s indictment of David, that he despised the Lord (2 Sam. 12:10) and treated God’s word with contempt (12:9). David’s sins were a direct affront to God.
We have to ask, “why?”: The forensics of the crime.
The beginning was covetousness. Why did David act on it? Why would he or why would we do something so selfish and destructive, when he or we know better?
Covet: to want to have something very much, especially something that belongs to someone else.
Sitting in a palace, surrounded by the gifts of God, David was an ingrate: an ungrateful person.
Ungrateful: not showing or expressing any thanks.
David might have experienced envy, which is a sin. Envy rots a person from the inside (Prov. 14:30) and is a loveless heart (1 Cor. 13:4).
Envy: to wish that you had something that another person has: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
David showed no pity for the Uriah, when he stole his wife. He displayed conduct that was unbecoming (of) an officer and a gentleman, and deserved court-marshal.
Pity: sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy.
No pity: indifference, mean, mercilessness, unkind, disdain.
Licentious. 1 : lacking legal or moral restraints; especially : disregarding sexual restraints. 2 : marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness.
Why or how could David have done this? In the episode he was completely without grace: he missed the grace of God. David was not walking with God or living in the empowering presence of God when he did this whole thing. David displayed very bad fruit in his life.
David’s entitlement, his arrogance, and his greed; was rooted in his putting himself above the law (Deut. 29:19). In so doing, he fostered a “bitter root that defiled many” (Heb. 12:15). The indictments bear this out (2 Sam. 12:9-14). David did what he did out of contempt for the Lord and he despised God’s laws.
David was not a pagan or a heretic. He was known as someone with good theology and an example of God’s work. But he allowed himself to become corrupt and put himself above the rules, as if they did not apply to him; but they did apply to him.
This very destructive episode, which would haunt David and ended the lives of two people; all started with coveting, with David desiring something that was not his. One sin leads to another greater sin, and by greater, I mean more destructive. And sin is not a private singular matter, but affects those around the sinner and the sinners family and whole community.
We can imagine that Uriah had fellow soldiers that were also killed, because of David’s malevolent scheme. Later, two of David’s sons would die tragic deaths that did not have to happen, but for David’s own treachery. Does the story of David’s sin break your heart?
The only hope for David and all sinners is the Lord, who forgives and redeems.
See the person.
A great lesson, in the realm of romance, or eroticism, is to see the person. The same principle applies when ministering to a person who is not attractive to you on the outside in any dimension: to see them as a person who Father loves. And this principle also applies in matters of prejudice: to see them as a person, a person whom God loves and we love with the love of God, if we are indeed Christians.
Discontent: the illusion of poverty
It is interesting that low self-esteem manifests itself both in delusions of grandeur and self-hate, both in the same person. What if David was conceived out of wedlock and he and his brothers found out and he began a life of shame based wildness, while congruently having a gift for intimacy with God and an insatiable hunger to worship God and know God? Like all of us, David was a mixture of personal brokenness and the gifts of God.
The Bible says that “the sins of the fathers are visited on the children…” We pass on our sins to our children, unless we appropriate the forgiveness and redemption, healing, and deliverance that God offers. What if David’s dad conceived him with a lady he was not married to at the time, and this became more of an open wound for David? Deep healing is available for deep wounds, if we seek it.
Low self-esteem is usually rooted in childhood hurts. When we are walking-wounded people who are not in God’s program of healing, we do not see ourselves or others through God’s eyes and we might imagine ourselves to be poor, when we are indeed rich.
Today, we have a lot of people walking around, who have been blessed, but have not processed their woundedness, who are living destructive lives. This destruction did not have to happen to David, and it does not have to happen to us. The truth is that we can and will destroy our lives and other people’s lives, if we do not walk with God.
David’s story yells to us, “do not do what I did!”, “spare yourself the heartache and destruction!”, “walk with God and keep your eyes on the Lord always!”
Father gives good gifts to each one of his children.
The one who lived before the Lord, in contentment.
The parable of the two men, the poor man and the rich man, is a lesson about contentment.
Being rich, powerful, and famous does not make you happy or content.
It was the rich man who had a problem and sinned against the poor man.
Money and fame do not bring happiness. Money and fame actually bring stress and trouble, especially when they suddenly come and you are not able to handle it.
Many rich, famous, or powerful people do not feel good about themselves. They feel poor, and not in a blessed way. Contentment is an inside job.
All of us are either content or discontent. Being discontent has nothing to do with your stuff. It is soul problem.
The poor man is our model for content living.
The person to emulate, from the parable, is the poor man. He relished and cherished the gift he had acquired. He was living in contentment.
- Relish: to like or enjoy something greatly.
- Cherish: to love, protect, and care for someone or something that is important to you.
- Contentment: the feeling or state of being happy or satisfied.
The content person enjoys what they have. They savor their life.
Promotion, striking gold, or favor are welcomed by the content person. They do not strive, but they work hard and welcome new gifts, more gifts, if and when they come. They are content whether they are rich or poor, whether they fail or succeed.
Content people are also unselfish team players. Content people do not cheat. Content people are dignified and honorable, giving dignity and honor to others and God; out of their lifestyle of humility, meekness, and love.
Discover, unwrap, and enjoy your gift from God.
-Second Samuel 12:3
Have you discovered the gift of God in your life? We might have a gift, in the singular; or a plurality of gifts. Have you seen your gift? Have you opened it?
We need to discover and unpack our gifts from God. Then, we need to cultivate them, enjoy them, learn about them. We need to thoroughly enjoy our gifts and celebrate them with God.
The gift of God in your life is for God’s glory. Gifts always point back to the giver. Are you glorifying God with the gifts Father has given to you?
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