The Wars We Fight
This booklet is written with the idea of providing a means to get started in this study. It is by no means an effort to answer every question or give you all the proof you need. To truly understand, you need to do some research on your own. Most of the Scriptures quoted are from The Interlinear Bible, by Jay P. Green, Sr., as general editor and translator.
In today's world we see so much unhappiness, fighting, heartache, broken homes and lives and wars. Why? Of course, there is no one answer for every situation, but it came to mind one day that the most frequent cause had to do with jealousy. After a little exploration, there are several words that can be part of this cause: covetousness, envy, jealousy, lust, vain and vanity. Maybe you don't agree that this is at the bottom of just about all our problems? Then let's look closer.
Webster's Columbia Concise Dictionary, page 172, defines covet "to desire or wish for with eagerness; to desire earnestly to obtain or possess; to desire inordinately; to desire with a greedy or envious longing; to long for; to hanker after."
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, volume 2, page 733, says -
"Covetousness is a very grave sin; indeed, so heinous is it that the Scripture classes it among the very gravest and grossest crimes (Eph 5:3). In Col. 3:5 it is 'idolatry', while in I Cor 6:10 it is set forth as excluding a man from heaven. Its heinousness, doubtless, is accounted for by its being in a very real sense the root of so many other forms of sin, e.g. departure from the faith (I Tim 6:9-10); lying (2 Ki 5:22-25); theft (Josh 7:21); domestic trouble (Prov 15:27); murder (Ezk 22:12); indeed, it leads to 'many foolish and hurtful lusts' (I Tim 6:9). Covetousness has always been a very serious menace to mankind, whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament period. It was one of the first sins that broke out after Israel had entered into the promised land (Achan, Josh 7); and also in the early Christian church immediately after its founding (A & S, Acts 5); hence so many warnings against it. A careful reading of the Old Testament will reveal the fact that a very great part of the Jewish law - such as its enactments and regulations regarding duties toward the poor, toward servants, concerning gleaning, usury, pledges, gold and silver taken during war - was introduced and intended to counteract the spirit of covetousness."
From the Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, Sr, editor, page 260 -
"Covetousness - an intense desire to possess something (or someone) that belongs to another person. The Ten Commandments prohibits this attitude (Ex 20:17; Deut 5:21). Covetousness springs from a greedy self-centeredness and an arrogant disregard of God's law. The Bible repeatedly warns against this sin (Josh 7:21; Romans 7:7; 2 Peter 2:10)."
The Ten Commandments by Dr Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel says -
From page 297
"This is a most interesting commandment. Unlike murdering, stealing, or perjuring, which are concrete acts or behaviors, this commandment concerns the arena of the mind: thoughts, desires, and feelings."
From page 300
"Why at the end of a list of 'dos and don'ts' would there be a prohibition against what goes on in our minds? Isn't it more relevant what we actually do to one another? The answer is that the actual 'doing' of a forbidden, immoral, unjust, or unkind act doesn't begin with the act. It begins in the mind and heart with a sequence of feelings, thoughts, and planning that can and often do lead to the breaking of the first nine commandments. In this commandment, God is reminding us that our evil actions don't emanate from our hands alone but from unpleasantness or petty ugliness from our hearts."
From page 301
"This commandment involves wanting something at someone else's expense - not simply just wanting something. We feel that the goal of this commandment is to stop us from thinking excessively about things that do not belong to us, as well as from loving earthly things in lieu of godliness. When we become obsessed with possessing things, and specifically, others' things, it influences our ability to create a balanced life of meaning and may lead to evil in order to obtain our desire.
From page 302
"Too much thinking about things generally involves obsessing and misery. When thought exceeds the bounds of what is necessary or good, when your actions are determined only by what you ultimately acquire and possess, then you know you're over the edge."
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male slave, or his slave-girl, or his ox, or his ass, or anything which belongs to your neighbor."
"For from within, out of the heart of men, pass out the evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
thefts, greedy desires, iniquities, deceits, lustful desires, a wicked eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness."
In other versions of the Scriptures, the words "greedy desires" are translated as covetousness.
In Luke 12:15, Yahshua is talking -
"And He said to them, Beware, and keep back from covetousness; for one's life is not in the abundance of things which are to him."
What about the end result?
"For be knowing this, that every fornicator, or unclean one, or covetous one, who is an idolater, has no inheritance in the kingdom of Messiah and of Elohim."
Note that in this last verse, it connects covetousness with idolatry. Idolatry is something that comes between you and your Savior; something that is so important that you will go to any lengths to get it.
In Webster's Columbia Concise Dictionary, page 252, envy is defined as "pain, uneasiness, mortification, or discontent excited by the sight of another's superiority or success; a feeling that makes a person begrudge another his good fortune; malice."
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, volume 2, page 955, says " 'Envy,' from Latin in, 'against,' and video, 'to look,' 'to look with ill-will,' etc, toward another, is an evil strongly condemned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is to be distinguished from jealousy. 'We are jealous of our own; we are envious of another man's possessions. Jealousy fears to lose what it has; envy is pained at seeing another have' (Crabb's Eng. Synonyms)."
From the Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, page 342 -
"Envy - a feeling of resentment and jealousy toward another person because of his possessions or good qualities. James linked envy with self-seeking (James 3:14, 16; selfish ambition, RSV). Christians are warned to guard against the sin of envy (Rom 13:13; 1 Peter 2:1)."
"A healthy heart is the life of the flesh; but envy is the rottenness of the bones."
I Corinthians 13:4
"Love has patience, is kind; love is not envious; love is not vain, is not puffed up."
"Let us not become glory-seeking ones, provoking one another, envying one another."
Jealous is defined in Webster's Columbia Concise Dictionary, page 396, as "uneasy through fear of, or on account of, preference given to another; suspicious in love; apprehensive of rivalry; zealous." Jealousy is defined as "the quality of being jealous; uneasiness from fear of being, or on account of being, supplanted by a rival earnest solicitude."
In The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, volume 3, page 1572, we find -
"Doubtless, the root idea of both the Greek and Hebrew translated 'jealousy' is 'warmth,' 'heat.' Both are used in a good and a bad sense - to represent right and wrong passion.
"When jealousy is attributed to God, the word is used in a good sense. The language is, of course, anthropomorphic; and it is based upon the feeling in a husband of exclusive right in his wife. God is conceived as having wedded Israel to Himself, and as claiming, therefore, exclusive devotion. Disloyalty on the part of Israel is represented as adultery, and as provoking God to jealousy.
"When jealousy is attributed to man, the sense is sometimes good, and sometimes bad. In the good sense, it refers to an ardent concern for God's honor.
"The 'law of jealousy' is given in Numbers 5:11-31. It provided that, when a man suspected his wife of conjugal infidelity, an offering should be brought to the priest, and the question of her guilt or innocence should be subjected to a test there carefully prescribed. The test was intended to be an appeal to God to decide the question at issue."
"Fury is fierce, and anger overflows; but who can stand before jealousy?"
"For where jealousy and contention are, there is confusion and every foul deed."
Jealousy Of Yahweh
There is one sense of being jealous that is not wrong at times. It is when the word is defined as zealous. If we were zealous for Yahweh in our efforts to obey Him, we would come much closer to pleasing Him and living in the way we should.
He tells us that He is a jealous El. He had created us and all things in the world. He insists that we are to serve Him and Him only.
"You shall not bow to them (referring to other gods), and you shall not serve them; for I am Yahweh your Elohim, a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of fathers on children, on the third and fourth generation, to those that hate Me."
"For you shall not bow to another god; for Yahweh's name is Jealous; He is a jealous El."
"For Yahweh your Elohim is a consuming fire; He is a jealous El."
"You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are around you.
For Yahweh your Elohim is a jealous El in your midst, lest the anger of Yahweh your Elohim burn against you, and He destroy you from off the face of the earth."
"El is jealous, and Yahweh is avenging; Yahweh is avenging, and is a possessor of wrath. Yahweh takes vengeance against His foes, and He keeps wrath against His enemies."
Webster's Columbia Concise Dictionary, page 433, defines lust as "longing desire; eagerness to possess or enjoy; depraved affection or desire; more especially, sexual appetite; unlawful desire of sexual pleasure; concupiscence."
From The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, volume 3, page 1941, we read -
"It probably means at first a strong desire, a craving, abnormal appetite, not only for physical but for spiritual satisfaction. It has come, however, to be confined in its use almost entirely to the bad sense."
In the Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, page 660, we find that lust is
"a desire for what is forbidden; an obsessive sexual craving. Although there are legitimate desires for which God makes provisions (Deut 12:15, 20-21), lust refers to the desire for things that are contrary to the will of God. The 'lust after evil things' (I Cor 10:6) of the Israelites in the wilderness serves as an example of the lusts that should be avoided by Christians.
"Christians are able to resist through the power of the Holy Spirit. The flesh, with its passions and lusts, is to be crucified (Gal 5:24; Titus 2:12)."
"You have heard that it was said to the ancients; Do not commit adultery.
But I say to you, Everyone looking at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
"Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body, to obey it in its lusts."
Galatians 5:16, 24
"But I say, Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
But the ones belonging to Messiah crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts."
"For the grace of Elohim which brings salvation appeared to all men.
instructing us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly and righteously and godly in the present age."
"Let no one being tempted say, I am tempted from Elohim. For Elohim is not tempted by evils, and He tempts no one.
But each one is tempted by his lusts, having been drawn out and having been seduced by them.
Then being conceived lust brings forth sin. And sin being fully formed brings forth death."
Vain / Vanity
From Webster's Columbia Concise Dictionary, page 799 - "Vain - having no real value or importance; unsubstantial; empty; idle; worthless; unsatisfying; producing no good result; fruitless; ineffectual; light-minded; foolish; silly; proud of petty things or of trifling attainments; having a foolish craving for the admiration or applause of others; puffed up; inflated; conceited."
On the next page of that dictionary, vanity is defined as "the quality or state of being vain; worthlessness; falsity; unrealness; want of substance to satisfy desire; the desire of indiscriminate admiration; empty pride, inspired by an overweening conceit of one's personal attainments or decorations; ambitious display; anything empty, visionary, or unsubstantial."
In The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, volume 4, page 3044, under the heading vain, it says,
" 'Vainglory' is the translation of kenodoxia, 'empty glory' or 'pride,' nearly akin to vanity in the modern sense.
" 'Pride is applicable to every object, good or bad, high or low, small or great, vanity is applicable only to small objects, pride is therefore good or bad; vanity is always bad; it is always emptiness or nothingness' (Crabb, English Synonymes)."
From the Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, page 1086 -
"Vanity - emptiness, worthlessness, or futility. The word occurs about 37 times in the Old Testament (NKJV), most frequently in Ecclesiastes. The word vanity as used in the Bible does not mean conceit or a 'superiority complex,' like a modern meaning of the term. When applied to persons, it means emptiness or futility of natural human life (Job 7:3; Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:1, 4:4; 1:10).
"When applied to things, vanity is especially used to describe idols, because there is no spiritual reality to them (Isa 41:29). Believers are urged to stay away from vain things and to live their lives in the reality of their relationship to Christ. Anything short of God Himself which a person trusts to meet his deepest needs is vain (Eph 4:17-24)."
"You shall not take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not leave unpunished the one who takes His name in vain."
"Let not he being deceived trust in vanity; for his reward shall be vanity."
"Surely, Elohim will not hear vanity, nor will the Almighty look upon it."
"Give us help against our foe, for vain is the deliverance of man."
"Yahweh knows the hearts of men, that they are vain."
Psalms 144:4, 11
"Man is like to vanity; his days are like a shadow that passes.
Rescue me from the foreigner's sons, those whose mouths have spoken vanity; and their right hand is a right hand of lies."
"Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears Yahweh, she shall be praised."
Ecclesiastes 2:11, 22-26
"Then I faced on all my works that my hands had done, and on the labor that I had labored to do. And, lo, all is vanity and striving after wind, and there is no profit under the sun.
For what is there for man in all his labor, and in striving of his heart, which he has labored under the sun?
For all his days are pains, and his task is grief; his heart does not even take rest in the night. Even this also is vanity.
Is it not good that he should eat and drink and make his soul see good in his labor? This I also saw, that it was from the hand of Elohim.
For who can eat, or who can enjoy, apart from me?
For Elohim gives wisdom, and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight. But to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and collecting, to give to him who is good before Elohim. This also is vanity and striving after wind."
"No one calls for righteousness; and not one judges with truth. Trusting emptiness, and speaking vanity, they conceive mischief, and give birth to evil."
"So says Yahweh of hosts, do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they make you vain; they speak a vision of their own heart, not out of the mouth of Yahweh."
"But when you pray, do not babble vain words, as the nations, for they think that they shall be heard in their much speaking."
"But in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the ordinances of men."
"Because knowing Elohim, they did not glorify Him as Elohim, nor were thankful; but became vain in their reasonings, and their undiscerning heart was darkened."
"If anyone thinks to be religious among you, yet not bridling his tongue, but deceiving the heart, this one's religion is vain."
Okay. Still think I'm reaching for these points? Do you think the answers to our troubles has to be deeper or more complicated than these characteristics? Are Yahweh's followers "above" all this? Well, let's look at some Scriptural examples - and remember that some of these people are listed in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. On these, I will only give a few pertinent verses. If you wish more information, you can go to the Scriptures and read all the story for yourself.
Who was the first one guilty of these attitudes? It isn't recorded in Genesis in detail, but it was Lucifer - Satan the devil.
"O shining star, son of the morning (the KJV says 'Lucifer'), how you have fallen from the heavens! You weakening the nations, you are cut down to the ground.
For you have said in your heart, I will go up to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of El, and I will sit in the mount of meeting, in the sides of the north.
I will rise over the heights of the clouds; I will be compared to the Most High."
Ezekiel 28:14-15, 17
"You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I had put you in the holy height of Elohim, where you were. You walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, until iniquity was found in you.
Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. I have cast you to the ground. I will put you before kings, that they may see you."
"And He said to them, I saw Satan falling out of heaven as lightning!"
At one time, he had quite a high position - as an archangel alongside Gabriel and Michael. But that wasn't enough for him. He was not satisfied. He wanted - coveted - Yahweh's place. But he lost the battle and was cast down.
Then Yahweh created mankind. And it did not take long for them to succumb either.
Adam And Eve
"And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die.
For Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil.
And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and the tree desirable to make one wise. And she took of its fruit and ate. And she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate."
Why? They had everything they needed - it was all supplied by Yahweh. He had given them a place to live, food to eat, and a relationship with Him. But Eve coveted the fruit and the idea of being like Elohim, so she stole what was not hers to take. The result? They were thrown out of the garden, had to fend for themselves, and eventually did die.
Cain And Abel
The first children born on earth fared no better than their parents. Cain was a farmer and Abel a shepherd. They each made an offering to Yahweh, but Yahweh was not pleased with Cain's. We aren't exactly told why in scripture. Did envy play a part in Cain's reaction?
Genesis 4:5, 8
"And He did not look to Cain and to his offering. And Cain glowed greatly with anger and his face fell.
And Cain talked with his brother Abel, and as they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him."
Abraham, Sarah And Hagar
Abram and Sarai were advanced in years and had no children. Yahweh promised Abram a son and generations to follow. But Sarai was past childbearing age. She offered Hagar as a surrogate mother. Could it work? No, the attitudes of jealousy and resentment crept in.
"And he went in to Hagar and she conceived; and she saw that she had conceived, and her mistress was despised in her eyes.
And Sarai said to Abram, My injury be upon you; I gave my slave-girl into your bosom, and she saw that she had conceived, and I was despised in her eyes. Let Yahweh judge between me and you.
But Abram said to Sarai, See, your slave-girl is in your hand. Do to her what is good in your eyes. And Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from before her."
"And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, he whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking.
And she said to Abraham, Drive away this slave girl and her son, for the son of this slave girl shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac."
Isaac And Ishmael
Of course, the resentment carried into the next generation. Though Ishmael was born first, Yahweh did not intend that the birthright go to him. The conflict is still visible in the Mid-East today. The Jews claim that the temple mount is where Abraham was told to offer Isaac and they insist it is holy ground to them. But Islam teaches that the sacrifice was to have been Ishmael, not Isaac, and that they have a right to the land. Jealousy or covetousness and feuds can continue for generations.
"And as to Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
And I will establish My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year."
Jacob And Esau
Another generation. These two men were twins, but very different. Throughout their childhood there were probably a lot of envy and jealousy due to the actions of the parents. Isaac showed partiality to Esau and Jacob was the favorite of Rebekah. In this story, these attitudes led to theft, chicanery and hatred to plan murder.
"And Yahweh said to her, two nations are in your womb; yea, two peoples shall break from your body. And one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger."
"And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him. And Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
The jealousies of Esau (Edom) and Jacob (Israel) continued.
"And Edom said to him, You shall not pass through me, lest I come out with the sword against you.
And the sons of Israel said to him, We shall go in the highway; and if we drink of your waters, our cattle or us, then I shall give their price. Only let me pass through on my feet; there shall be no harm.
And he said, You shall not pass through. And Edom came out against him with many people, and with a strong hand.
And Edom refused to allow Israel to pass over through his border. And Israel turned, away from him."
These instances between these two groups of people continue even today. And what will be the outcome in the future? Read the book of Obadiah - it's only one chapter long.
Leah And Rachel
After he ran away from home, Jacob faced more problems. Due to some chicanery by Laban, Jacob ended up married to two sisters. Leah produced four sons in quick succession, but Rachel was barren. Did she resign herself to Yahweh's will? No.
Genesis 30:1-3, 8
"And Rachel saw that she did not bear to Jacob, and Rachel was jealous of her sister. And she said to Jacob, Give me sons; and if there is none, I shall die.
And Jacob's anger glowed against Rachel, and he said, Am I in Elohim's place who has kept back from you the fruit of the womb?
And she said, Behold, my servant Bilhah! Go in to her and let her bear on my knees; yea, let me be build up from her, me also.
And Rachel said, with struggles of Elohim I have struggled with my sister; yea, I have been able and she called his name Naphtali."
Rachel was jealous because Leah had children easily. So she tried the same thing Sarah did and offered her servant. But that didn't really satisfy her. Can you imagine the bickering that must have gone on in this household? Just think of the example that was set for the children. With so much competition between the two mothers, how much competition and jealousies went on among the children?
Joseph And His Brothers
Finally Rachel had two sons, the second one resulting in her death. The first one, Joseph, was the "apple of his daddy's eye." Jacob copied the example of his parents and showed favoritism on that son. How did that play out?
Genesis 37:3-4, 8, 11, 18, 23-24, 28
"And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of old age to him. And he made a robe reaching to the feet.
And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, and they hated him. And they were not able to speak peaceably to him.
And his brothers said to him, Shall you indeed reign over us, or shall you really rule over us? And they hated him still more because of his dreams, and because of his words.
And his brothers were jealous of him. But his father paid attention to the word.
And they saw him from a distance. And before he came near to them, they plotted against him, to kill him.
And when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped his long coat from Joseph, the long coat on him, reaching to his feet.
And they took him and threw him into the pit, the pit being empty, no water in it.
And men, Midianites, traders, came by. And they drew up Joseph and took him out of the pit, and they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they brought Joseph to Egypt."
"And being jealous of Joseph, the patriarchs gave him over into Egypt."
The jealousy and competition led the brothers to hatred; to a willingness to murder; to selling their brother and lying to their father.
Maybe we could say that it worked out okay in the end as Joseph, in a high position, was able to feed the family when famine struck. But what did it do to the character of all those involved in the meantime?
Moses, Miriam And Aaron
After four hundred plus years in Egypt, Yahweh called His people out. He chose Moses to lead those people and personally gave him the authority. Did everyone easily accept that? Of course not!
Numbers 12:1-2, 9
"And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, because of the Cushite woman whom he had taken. For he had taken a Cushite woman.
And they said, Has Yahweh spoken only by Moses? Has He not also spoken by us? And Yahweh heard.
And the anger of Yahweh glowed against them, and He left."
Miriam and Aaron were jealous of Moses being in control or in charge all the time. They felt that they had as much right to that position as Moses did. But Yahweh didn't agree. He struck Miriam with leprosy, but healed her at their repentance.
Moses And Korah
Later Korah tried to take over. He was a Levite and had been given a position and a job, but he coveted more. He really wanted the job of the high priest. Or maybe he wanted the job of Moses - to be the one in charge.
Numbers 16:1-3, 8-10
"And Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, took both Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, the son of Reuben.
And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the sons of Israel, two hundred and fifty rulers of the congregation, elect men of the assembly, men of name.
And they were assembled against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, You take too much! For all the congregation, all of them are holy, and Yahweh is among them. Why then do you lift up yourselves above the assembly of Yahweh?
And Moses said to Korah, Hear now, you sons of Levi.
Is it but a small thing to you that the El of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel to bring you near to Himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of Yahweh, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them?
Yes, He has brought you near, and all your brothers, the sons of Levi, with you. And will you seek the priesthood also?"
And what happened to presumptuous Korah and his men and their families? Did they get the jobs they wanted? No. They all died. The earth opened, swallowed them, and closed up again. That almost sounds like something from a movie script, doesn't it?
King Saul And David
Saul became the first king of Israel. What an opportunity! But he did not obey Yahweh and Yahweh planned his replacement. When David slew Goliath and was successful in battle, the people praised him. And Saul became jealous and envious.
I Samuel 18:8-12
"And it very much burned Saul, and this thing was evil in his eyes. And he said, They have given myriads to David, and to me they have given thousands. And is there more to him, except the kingdom?
And from that day forward Saul was watching David.
And on the next day it happened that the evil spirit from Elohim came on Saul. And he prophesied in the midst of the house, and David was playing with his hand, as he did day by day. And Saul's spear was in his hand.
And Saul threw the spear, and said, I will strike David, even to the wall. And David twice drew back from his presence.
And Saul feared David, because Yahweh was with him, and had departed from Saul.
I Samuel 19:1
And Saul spoke to his son Jonathan, and to all his servants, to kill David."
Saul became more and more paranoid and tried numerous times to kill David. But his days were numbered as king as Samuel had already anointed the next king.
David And Bathsheba
After Saul's death, David did become king. David had everything a man could want. But it still wasn't enough. He coveted another man's wife.
2 Samuel 11:3-4
"And David sent and asked about the woman. And one said, Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
And David sent messengers and took her. And she came to him, and he lay with her. And she purified herself from uncleanness, and she returned to her house.
2 Samuel 12:9-12
Why have you despised the word of Yahweh, to do the evil in His eyes? You have stricken Uriah the Hittite by the sword, and you have taken his wife to yourself for a wife. And you have killed him by the sword of the sons of Ammon.
And now the sword shall not turn aside from your house continually, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be a wife to you.
So says Yahweh, Behold, I shall raise up evil against you out of your house, and shall take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor. And he shall like with your wives in the sight of the sun.
For you acted in secret, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun."
David was charged as guilty of the murder of Uriah, though he did not personally carry out the deed. The results of this sin? The death of the child; wars continued in David's kingdom; even one of his sons took his concubines openly.
Ahab And Naboth
I Kings 21:1-4
"And it happened after these things, Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, near the palace of Ahab the king of Samaria.
And Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, Give me your vineyard, and it shall be a garden of green herbs for me; for it is near my house. And I will give to you in its place a better vineyard than it. If it is good in your eyes, I will give silver to you, the price of this one.
And Naboth said to Ahab, Far be it from me, by Yahweh, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you.
And Ahab came into his house sullen and angry over the word which Naboth the Jezreelite spoke to him. For he had said, I will not give the inheritance of my fathers to you. And he lay on his bed and turned away his face, and would not eat food."
Sounds like a pouting child, doesn't it? He was envious of what Naboth had and coveted it for himself. So what happened? His wife Jezebel set up false witnesses against Naboth and had him stoned! Then Ahab went and took the vineyard for himself.
Haman And Morcecai
"And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or worship him, then Haman was filled with fury.
And it was light in his eyes to reach forth a hand against Mordecai alone; for they had revealed to him Mordecai's people.
And Haman went out that day joyful and with a good feeling. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he did not stand up or move for him, he was full of fury against Mordecai.
But Haman held himself in, and came to his house, and sent for and brought in his friends, and his wife Zeresh.
And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and his many sons, and all to which the king had promoted him, and how he lifted him up above the princes and the servants of the king.
And Haman said, Also, Esther the queen did not let anyone come in with the king to the banquet that she had prepared, except me. And also tomorrow I am called to it with the king."
Haman was really full of himself, wasn't he? He coveted the accolades of people and wanted them to recognize him and always reassure him how important they thought he was by showing deference to him. But Mordecai did not. Haman plotted the murder of hundreds of Jews because of this, but ended up caught in his own trap and executed.
"And the king shall do according to his will. And he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god; he shall even speak marvelous things against the El of gods, and shall prosper until the fury is fulfilled. For that which is decreed shall be done.
He shall not regard the El of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor love any god. For he shall magnify himself above all."
Most historians agree that this was fulfilled in the personage of Antiochus Epiphanes around 165 BCE. But if you study into it, you will find that most prophecy is dual. So could it happen again?
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
"Do not let anyone deceive you in any way, because that day will not come unless first comes the falling away, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.
The one opposing and exalting himself over everything being called God, or object of worship, so as for him to sit in the temple of Elohim as Elohim, showing himself that he is a god."
Though our Messiah was perfect and did not portray these human, carnal characteristics, the same character flaws helped bring about His testing and His death.
"And leading Him up into a high mountain, the devil showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
And the devil said to Him, I will give all this authority and their glory to You, because it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
Then if You worship before me, all will be Yours."
Ego was showing, wasn't it? Satan was so envious because Yahshua was to inherit everything. He knew exactly who Yahshua was. Satan didn't want to accept that this lowly carpenter could be "above" him. He coveted everything and wanted it all under his control. He'd already proved that when he rebelled against Yahweh in the beginning.
"For He knew they delivered Him up through envy."
"For He knew that the chief priests had delivered Him up through envy."
Annanias And Sapphira
Soon after Pentecost of 30 CE, the people were trying to help the truth of the Messiah to advance. Food, lodging, and such were constant necessities and there were needs to be met. Some of the people were selling properties and turning the money over to the apostles. Annanias and his wife Sapphira were among the followers. They coveted the appearance of righteously giving all, but still coveted the money for themselves. So they held back some of the money, while professing that they gave it all. It cost both of them their lives.
Acts 5:1-3, 9
"But a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a property.
And secretly kept back from the price, his wife also aware of it; and bringing a certain part, he placed it at the feet of the apostles.
But Peter said, Annanias, why did Satan fill your heart for you to lie to the Set-apart Spirit, and to secretly keep back from the price of the land?
And Peter said to her, Why was it that it was agreed with you to tempt the Spirit of the Master? Behold the feet of those burying your husband at the door! Yes, they will carry you out."
As soon as Peter challenged Annanias, the man fell dead and was buried. His wife was not present at that time and did not know what happened. She also died immediately.
Simon Magus was a magician traveling around the countryside and making money. He was really impressed with the fame and the adulation he was receiving. But when he saw what the apostles had to offer, he wanted that as well. We can wonder if he wanted it to help people and to provide them the Spirit from Yahweh, or was it another way of making money? That seemed to be the most important thing to him. Peter told him to repent.
Acts 8:9-11, 18-19
"But a certain man named Simon had long been conjuring in the city, and amazing the nation of Samaria, claiming himself to be some great one.
All were paying attention to him, from small to great, saying, This one is the great power of God.
And they were paying attention to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his conjuring.
But Simon seeing that the Set-apart Spirit is given through the laying on of the hands of the apostles, he offered them money.
Saying, Also give me this authority, that on whomever I may lay on the hands, he may receive the Set-apart Spirit."
The Jews And Paul
Paul had no possessions for others to covet, but he had a relationship with Yahweh and he had a message to preach. The Jews became jealous of his following! Maybe attendance at their meetings was shrinking.
"But Saul was more filled with power, and confounded the Jews living in Damascus, proving that this one is the Messiah.
And when many days were fulfilled, the Jews plotted together to do away with him.
But their plot was known to Saul, and they carefully watched the gates both by day and by night, so that they might do away with him."
"And the Jews seeing the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and contradicted the things being spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming."
"But becoming jealous, and having taken aside some wicked men of the market-loafers, and gathering a crowd, the disobeying Jews set the city into turmoil. And coming on the house of Jason, they sought to bring them on to the mob."
Can this affect the congregations of Yahweh? Of course it does! We're human, aren't we? If it could affect some of the great patriarchs of the Scriptures, why not us? We are no different and no better than they. The question of "Who is in charge?" is one that plagues all kinds of organizations, including churches. Positions and offices and influence can be coveted just as easily as objects or people.
I Corinthians 1:10-13
"Now, I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Master Messiah that you all say the same thing, and there not be divisions among you; but you be united in the same mind and in the same judgment.
For, my brothers, concerning you it was shown to me by those of Chloe that there are strifes among you.
But I say this, that each of you says, Truly I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Messiah.
Has Messiah been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?"
Each person has a place in the congregation - read Ephesians 4 and I Corinthians 12. Yahweh is the One who places each person into the niche He has made for them. Don't be busy envying someone else's place or trying to influence others to gain adulation or a "political base". Just do the job Yahweh has for you.
These characteristics of human nature are something that we all have to fight - every day of our lives. In the book of James, we find a section that sums all this up rather well.
"From where do wars and fightings among you come? Is it not from this, from your lusts warring in your members?
You desire and do not have. You murder, and are jealous, and are not able to obtain. You fight and you war, and you do not have, because you do not ask Elohim.
You ask, and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order that you may spend on your lusts.
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with Elohim? Whoever, then, purposes to be a friend of the world is shown to be an enemy of Elohim.
Or do you think that vainly the Scripture says, The Spirit which has dwelt in us yearns with envy?
But He gives greater grace. Because of this it says, Elohim sets Himself against proud ones; but He gives grace to humble ones.
Then be subject to Elohim. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to Elohim, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners! And purify your hearts, double minded ones!
Be distressed, and mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy into shame.
Be humbled before the Master, and He will exalt you."