The Ten Commandments continue.
“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
“You must not murder.
“You must not commit adultery.
“You must not steal.
“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”
The fifth commandment is the first one with a promise attached. To live in peace for generations in the Promised Land, the Israelites would need to respect authority and build strong families. But what does it mean to “honor” your parents? Partly, it means speaking well of them and politely to them. It also means showing them courtesy and respect. It means following their teaching and example in putting God first. Even those who find it difficult to get along with their parents are still commanded to honor them.
To testify falsely means lying in court. God knew that Israel could not survive unless its society was just. We should be honest in our private dealings as well as in our public statements. In either situation, we “testify falsely” by leaving something out of a story, telling a half-truth, twisting the facts, or inventing a falsehood. God warns us against deception. Even though deception is a way of life for many people, God’s people must not give in to it!
To covet is to desire what others have. It goes beyond simply admiring someone else’s possessions or thinking, “I’d like to have one of those.” Coveting involves envy—resenting that others have something you don’t. God knows, however, that possessions never make anyone happy for long. Since only God can supply all our needs, true contentment is found only in him.
When you begin to covet, look for the desire or need that is leading you to envy. For example, coveting someone’s success may arise from a desire to feel as recognized and appreciated by others. Once you understand the desire, you can seek to fulfill it in God-honoring ways.