The Berean Expositor
Volume 19 - Page 146 of 154
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Words in Season.
"Thou shalt not desire."
pp. 93, 94
In a previous paper we touched upon the question of "desire", and found among other
things that both the flesh and the spirit have "desires", and that these are opposite the one
to the other. The light in which our "desires" are viewed by the Lord may be seen by
observing the opening and closing words of the ten commandments:--
"Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."
"Thou shalt not desire thy neighbour's house."
The reader may object to the alteration of the word "covet", but he will find that the
A.V. has put the alternative translation of the same Hebrew word in Deut. 5: 21.
If the relation between these two commandments means anything, it reveals
essentially two deities. To follow one's own desires is incipient atheism. The Gentiles,
unilluminated by the law of God, plunged in ignorance and darkness, alienated from the
life of God, and living "in the desires of the flesh, doing the will of the flesh and mind"
(Eph. 2: 3), were "without God" (atheoi, Eph. 2: 12). In other words, we are, all of us,
serving either God or mammon, God or self, God or the flesh; and the vehicle of that
service is "desire".
Desire operated in the garden of Eden.
We think immediately of the statement
concerning Eve:--
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant
(margin, a desire) to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise" (Gen. 3: 6).
Desire is certainly prominent in this temptation, for two different Hebrew words are
used, but it should be remembered that not only did the Serpent use desire as a means to
his ends, but the Lord used it also.
"Every tree that is pleasant to the sight" (Gen. 2: 9).
The word "pleasant" here is the word "desire" in Gen.3: 6.
By our desires we are led, and desire is at the bottom of both sin and service. It was
the realization of this that overwhelmed Paul and as he says, "slew him". As a Pharisee
of the Pharisees he was "blameless" as touching the righteousness of the law, but, "one
day", he says, "the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (Rom. 7: 9). Now the
commandment that "came" was not that which enjoined some extreme obedience; it was
simply, "Thou shalt not desire" (Rom. 7: 7), the complement, as we have seen, of the
command, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me". If this be the law, then salvation