The sin of coveting was first committed in the Garden God had planted in Eden where Eve believed the lie of that old serpent, the Devil, when she ate of the tree God had instructed her and Adam not to partake. Satan had convinced Eve that God’s Word concerning not eating the fruit of the tree lest she die was not to be believed, nor trusted. Eve desired to taste the fruit, saw that it did not look harmful, and reached for the first bite, what the Apostle John referred to in 1 John 2:16, “the lust of the flesh… the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father.” What God commanded, Eve rejected.
To covet something is to want it so much that one will do anything to get it regardless of the consequences, as in the case of Eve. In taking a bite of forbidden fruit and encouraging her husband to do the same brought disastrous life-changing results that harmed both their own personal relationships with God, their relationship with one another, the glorious plan God had prior to their sin for their lives , and the plan of God for the entire planet and those who would inhabit it in the future (Genesis 2-3).
In Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 who came to Him desiring to know what he must do to obtain eternal life, the young man professed to have kept the six Commandments Jesus named. But Jesus knowing his heart was full of covetousness honed in on the last of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s,” (Exodus 20:17). When Jesus told him to sell all he had and give to the poor, the depth of his sinfulness was revealed to the man. Like Eve, the rich young man rejected God’s command.
The sin of coveting is referred to as idolatry in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Colosse where he implored the believers in Christ to put off and put to death those things that should not be found among them, “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry,” (Colossians 3:5). In the Book of Hebrews God’s people are told to not be covetous, but “be content with such things as ye have,” (Hebrews 13:5). The things of this world rust, corrupt, and decay, and eventually will be burned up at the end of this age, but those things that are laid up in Heaven will retain their value for eternity.