realities (2015 series)

#8 Thou Shall Covet

Series: Realities

Title: Thou Shall Covet

Teacher: Jacob Bender

Date: November 8, 2015

scriptures: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19:10, Psalm 68:16, Proverbs 5:18, Philippians 4:11-14, Romans 7, Hebrews 12:2

In English, the word covet, is a bad word. In English it means “a yearning to possess or have something.”

I have heard it put this way, it is an inward grasping for something… something that is not yours... It means you don’t have something, and you yearn for it. Maybe we think we are nothing without it. We hear that word, and right away we default to the Ten Commandments. Right away, we think, this is a bad word. This is something that we must not do. Ever. Under any circumstances. I think that the word we typically associate to it is the word jealousy. Or the word envy… and where the command as a whole may be getting at that, those things are not the same as coveting, in the way it was written on the tablets. Not at all.

The Hebrew word written on the tablet that we translate as “covet” is the word “chamad” (huh-mad). And “chamad” (huh-mad) is a good thing. Its a beautiful word that demonstrates a satisfaction with what God gave you. The word “chamad” (huh-mad) means “Delight.” or “To take pleasure in.”

So when you say that you are coveting something, if you are actually quoting the tenth commandment, you are saying that you “Take delight in that thing.”

I covet my wife. I absolutely covet my wife. I take delight in her. In fact, as the days go by I hope and pray that my delight for her only grows and grows.

I covet my children.

Honestly, you should covet (chamad) your friends. Your friends carry a lot of weight. They are very valuable. You should delight in the fact that you have them. You should delight in your relationships. They are gifts.

To say you chamad something does NOT mean you are jealous of it, it means that you delight IN IT.

What you should not do, is covet your friends house.

What you should not do, is covet what your friends have.

God has given you specific things in this life that are tailor made just for you.

For your life.

For your family.

and to not delight in those things would be a slap in the face to the God who gave them to you.

You see, the problem lies in when you covet what is not yours. The command does not say Thou shall not covet.

Thou shall covet.

Thou shall certainly covet.

But thou shall never, ever covet what belongs to someone else.

RESOURCE NOTE: the website referenced today to help you with your studies is

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#7 False Witnesses

Series: Realities

Title: False Witnesses

Date: November 1, 2015

Teacher: Jacob Bender

scriptures: Matthew 12:33-37, Proverbs 18:21, James 3:1-12, Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 26:17-26, Romans 10:13-14, Matthew 27:46, James 4:6, John 3:16

“The things said in confidence, spread in confidence.”

False witness is the Hebrew word שָֽׁקֶר׃ šā·qěr (shek air) – and it means “a lie, or a breach of faith.”

It is so much more than just a lie. It is so much more than making something up. It is also an abuse of information. It is not being trustworthy. It is not controlling your tongue. It is lying, and it is gossip. And it destroys communities and it destroys churches, and it destroys trust faster than anything else I have ever seen.

It is the 9th commandment, and the Hebrew letter that represents nine is the letter “Tet” and the word picture for “Tet” is a picture of a snake. Now think about this. What does a snake represent? You can take this one all the way back to the fall of man… How does the serpent manage to get man to fall?

He bears false witness against God.

He convinces Eve, “yes, God said that, but that is not true. That is God’s paranoia that you are only one step behind him and if you eat of the fruit your eyes will be opened. If you eat of it, you will level the playing field.”

He lied about God. He made Eve think that God has an insecurity issue. He painted a picture that was not true, and she bought into that picture.

From the beginning of time entire worlds were being destroyed by the stupid words that are said. It is the devils only weapon, but unfortunately, for a lot of us, it is the only weapon he needs. So that is why we are taking an entire message to talk about it. Because words shape people.

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#6 The First with a Promise

series: Realities

title: The First with a  Promise

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: October 25, 2015

scriptures: Ephesians 6:1-3, Exodus 20, Numbers 13:30, Numbers 14:6-9, Numbers 14:10, Numbers 14:12, Numbers 14:20-24, Proverbs 18:21, Matthew 7:2, Matthew 16:19, 1 Peter 3:7, Mark 6:1-6, 

Blessing and Cursing.

I don’t have to agree with someone to bless them. I don’t have to agree with someone to honor them. And if I do honor them even when maybe they don’t seem very worthy of that honor, then there is a blessing for me which we will talk about later.

But the natural instinct of man is not to bless. It is to curse. Now let me explain, because you probably would say “I would never curse someone!”

The Hebrew word for curse (qa-lal) means “to make light.” It means to add no value to them. It means to say “the words you are saying, and the things that you are doing in this moment mean nothing.”

All of us in this place have been cursed. We have been belittled. We have been made to feel like we have no value. And I don’t know about you, but when someone makes me feel that way, I shut down. I have a very hard time pulling myself back together and refocusing. It hurts really bad.

On the contrary, the Hebrew word for blessing (Ba-rak) means something very interesting… you would think it would be the opposite of cursing, but its not. Blessing, in Hebrew, means “to bend the knee.”

Think about it. When a King walks into a room, what do people do? They get on their knees. Why? Because they want to show honor, because that person holds a position of great authority. Showing honor blesses people.

We need to set our social default mode to blessing.

Its the best way to honor one another no matter what the circumstance.

But what is honor?

The most simple way to put it is that it is how you treat people. When you are around them, when you are not. Thats the simple way to put it. But there is so much more to it than that.

Honor is the Hebrew word “kavod” (ka-vode) and it means “heavy or weighty.”

It means to place weight on something. It is literally the opposite of cursing. Cursing is to make light, honor is to give weight.

Now, as you probably know, in the time of the Old Testament, value was based on weight. If you were measuring how much money you had, it would be determined by the weight of the gold in your possession, not the number of pieces, so what it is talking about is “giving something value.”

That is why people bow before the King. Because his job carries weight.

We would have no problem honoring a King, or honoring someone who has already accomplished what we desire to accomplish.

Now, we have been looking at the word picture for each number in the ten commandments, and we will get to that in a minute, but first… there is also a word picture for the word “honor” itself, you have possibly heard this phrase but this is where it comes from…  for the Hebrew word “kavod” – If you take away the vowels (because there are no vowels in Hebrew, we add them so that we can say them in English) the letters are K-V-D

are the Hebrew letters:

“Kaf” is a picture of a hand and it symbolizes what opens, you use your hands to open doors, cabinets, your refrigerator, most things… Now, “bet” is the picture of a house or what is inside… a home is a sacred place, its a place that you share with the people who are closest to you. You welcome your family, you host your friends there, but you are protective of who enters your house.

and the letter “dalet” like we learned last week (and we have talked about it before), is a door…

so the word picture you get for the word “kavod” is it is the hand or the thing that“opens the inside door.” I have heard that phrase Think about it.

If you look at your life, and you look at the people you let in and the people you keep out, does it not always come back to the ones who honor you?

The ones who make you feel like you matter?

Like your words matter? Like your opinion matters?

That is a natural instinct in us, we are drawn to honor, and that is why.

It opens the inside door.

It opens our heart.

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#5 Resting

Series: Realities

PLEASE NOTE: This book was written by a 20th century Jewish Rabbi and takes the Jewish perspective.

PLEASE NOTE: This book was written by a 20th century Jewish Rabbi and takes the Jewish perspective.

Title: Resting

Teacher: Jacob Bender

Date: October 18, 2015

scriptures: Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Exodus 20, Exodus 31:15-17, Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:2-3, 2 Chronicles 36:18-21, Exodus 16, Mark 2:27, Hebrews 4:1

The word sabbath is the Hebrew word “shabbath” (sha-baath) and it means “To cease.”

The Old Testament speaks of different kinds of Sabbaths. There is, of course the 7th day of the week. A day of rest. That is what we know as “The Sabbath Day” – then there is something called the Sabbath Year… and it was the same concept as the Sabbath Day, but it was the 7th year… and every 7th year, the Israelites were commanded to take an entire year off from labor. And then on the seventh year of the seventh set of years, so it would be “every 7th sabbath year” was something called “The Year of Jubilee” which we are going to talk about in the series we are doing in December so I won’t get into it today, but its absolutely incredible. But the point is that God laid out all of these incredible structures to make sure that his people were okay. Because nobody can go and go and go and still maintain sanity. So he said, every seventh day, rest. Every seventh year, really rest. Vacation. Stop everything, and let me show you that even when your world is paused, the world I created keeps producing. God commanded them (Leviticus 25) to not even work the land. Give the land a break, for a whole year.

Now, if you do a little research, even now, studies have shown that the even today, land will produce more if every seven years you allow it to rest. Over the course of the next seven years, you would get more out of your land by letting it rest the seventh, and then working it the next sixth, than you would by working it all seven. God knows what he is doing.

But this is how human minds think… We like to think we have faith, but we don’t like actually relinquishing control as if we truly have faith. So we hear, “take a day off…” or even, “take a year off…” and we think, “That sounds great, but too much would fall apart during that time. If we don’t work the land for an entire year, there will be no harvest, and there will be nothing new to grow.”

Whatever that may look like in our lives… Take a day off…

“yeah, but if I am mid-project, I have to finish this, and then I will rest.”

Take a day off… “Yeah, but its “4 days” this week, so I will make sure to take a day off next week.”

And so we go and we go, until what happens? We start getting sick. We start not functioning at the capacity that we know we are capable of… our work sort of starts to fall apart, our bodies begin to deteriorate, and before long we are FORCED to take a significant period of time off.

Have you ever seen that happen to someone?

Has that ever happened to you?

I obviously, being a pastor, am most familiar with that church world, but i see this happen to pastors ALL THE TIME. A lot of people have no idea that they are going through it, but they have moments when they feel like they are literally dying.

and they end up in the hospital, and nobody can figure out what is wrong with them. And suddenly they are forced to take extended periods of time off, and I can’t help but wonder, in the back of my mind, if those moments are God just getting his days back.

God saying, “if you won’t break, I will make you break. You haven’t taken a day off in 14 weeks, so now you won’t work for 14 days.”

You may say to me, “God wouldn’t do that.” But remember, this day is Holy. This day is set apart. There is more to this day than we think. This is one of the most significant issues in the whole bible. Let me tell you about what God allowed to happen to Israel.

You see, God gave them this command. A day off… and every 7th year, a year off.

They heard the command, take a sabbath. Give the land a sabbath.

But nobody actually does that, right? We don’t rest.

Now, this is incredible.

They plowed the land anyway. On that seventh year, they relied on their own strength, just like we do so well today. And instead of trusting God, they plowed. They worked the land. They gave the land no rest and they took non themselves.

And they did this for 490 years. 490 years went by, and Israel never, once took a Sabbath year as the Lord had commanded. And perhaps after 490 years they thought, “Ok, we are doing just fine.”

But then something happened. Something that the bible makes very clear that God allowed to happen, and we have talked about it a couple of times before briefly, and we won’t get into to much today either… but The Israelites are attacked, and they are captured and put into exile in a place called Babylon.

A place different than all they had ever known.

And do you know how long they were in Exile for? Does anyone know?

70 years.

70 years they were removed from the land that they refused to let rest, and became slaves to a godless ruler.

They become slaves. While the land enjoyed her sabbath.

For 490 years they did not honor the command to let the land rest every seventh year, but God said “the Sabbath is Holy. It is set apart. Its unavoidable.

The Israelites owed God 70 Sabbath years, and he got them all at once.

Look at what 2 Chronicles 36:18-21, this is talking about the Israelites and how they were attacked, captured and taken into exile.

All the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. And they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels. He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. 

The word “enjoyed” is the Hebrew word “ratsah” (rawt saw) and it actually means “to satisfy a debt.”

Do you see this?

You can’t cheat God out of what is his. You can’t. This is not about grace. This is about Holiness. Can you skip a sabbath day and still be saved? Yes. Of course. But you won’t live a Holy life, and you will live a shorter life than you should. God told us that this covenant will last forever. This must be kept forever, it will go on and on and on forever, because this is Holy. If you want to be Holy, you must keep the Sabbath.

#4 Giving and Taking

Series: Realities

Title: giving & taking

Teacher: Jacob Bender

Date: October 4, 2015

scriptures: Mark 12:29, Malachi 3:6-15, Psalm 119:36, Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 25:32, Matthew 25:41-46, Ephesians 4:28, Luke 12, Acts 5:1-11, 2 Samuel 13

The word “vain” is the Hebrew word “shav’” and it means “to not be real.”

Most people think that the third commandment is telling us to not swear. Or to not say “God – blank”

But the third commandment literally says “You must not take the name of the Lord in unreality.”

You use his name in a way that makes it not real.

There is something about the name of God, is there not?

And man, there is something about the name of Jesus.

Something powerful. Something everlasting. Something that just makes you feel, in the darkest hour of your darkest day, like there is light. When it feels like everyone everywhere has abandoned you… that Someone still has your back. Someone still cares. God’s name can heal, it can redeem, it can provide, it can bring peace.

It is incredibly powerful.

But because of its incredible power, it also can be incredibly manipulated. If that wasn’t the case, then it would not be in the ten commandments.

It is a name that carries weight. A lot of weight.

But throughout history, various religions and religious leaders have misrepresented that name and have used it for selfish things. Wars have been started in the name of God. People have been killed. People have been robbed. People have been hurt. All, in forms of manipulation by people taking the Lords name in vain.

If you use the name of the Lord for selfish reasons, you are stealing. You are taking his name, and manipulating it for your purposes. You are not associating it to the power that it has, and that is why so many will be crushed by it.

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#3 idols and adultery

series: Realities

title: idols & adultery

teacher: Jacob Bender

date: September 27, 2015

scriptures: Exodus 20, Judges 2:1-5, Psalm 37:4, Judges 2:11-13, Jeremiah 5:7, Jeremiah 3:8, Exodus 32, Exodus 34, John 8:1-11, Isaiah 45:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17

Exodus 34:14 says this: “(For you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),”

Now, when the Ten Commandments were given the first time, the second command said this same thing… I am a jealous God. But the second time it is given, it actually says “the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

That seemed like grounds for digging a little deeper.

The word Jealous, is a peculiar name for God. It is the Hebrew word qanna’ (can-ah), it is a word that only speaks of God and is not used in human terms, and it means that “God doesn’t bear any rivals” another translation puts the verse this way: “For you must worship no other gods, but only Jehovah, for he is a God who claims absolute loyalty and exclusive devotion.” (The Living Bible)

Its like in a marriage. If my wife says, “Hey, I am going out with Steve today.” Heck no, you aren’t going out with Steve today. Who is Steve? It doesn’t even matter. You aren’t going to be spending time with other dudes. She could say to me, “we are just friends, and you hate going shopping and Steve is cool with it.”

Now, She would never do that, but that would be the automatic response from me if it ever came up. I wouldn’t even need a moment to think about it. The answer is no. I am jealous for her… but it is not because of this Steve guy, or anybody else. It is all because of Dawn.

I am jealous for her, no matter what she is doing. Because I do not bear competitions. I do not bear rivals. I already won this one, and nobody else even has a chance.

It is obvious that most people would never deal with a marriage to a spouse who was constantly unfaithful, yet that is exactly what God continuously went through over and over and over again with the Hebrew people.

The word adultery, in Hebrew as it is used in Exodus 20:14 is the word na’aph (nah apth) and it means “to break wedlock.” or the obvious translation is what it is translated as, simply, “to commit adultery.”

But what is fascinating is that it is the same Hebrew word used in Jeremiah 3:8 and Jeremiah 5:7 when it says that Israel “committed adultery” against God by their idol worship.

And I also thought that this was interesting:

Most people (who have put any thought into it) assume that the English word adultery comes from the word adult. Like, “maybe this is a bad thing, but we are adults, so if it is consensual…”

But it actually comes from the Latin word adulterare, which means “to alter, or corrupt.”

This is not an “adult” thing to do, in fact it is incredibly immature. You are altering the design that God created… You are corrupting what was supposed to be. You are corrupting what God created it to be.

Adultery is an incredibly hard top to talk about. Its a hard topic to study, or to even convince yourself that you need to study it, but God put it in the Ten Commandments for a reason… because this hits home, in one way or another, for just about everyone. And God himself is not excluded from that.

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#2 gods and murder

Title: gods & murder
Series: Realities
Teacher: Jacob Bender
Date: September 20, 2015

scriptures: Mark 12:28-34, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Psalm 82:4, Ezekiel 33:6, Luke 22:36, John 18:10-11, Matthew 5:22, James 1:22, Matthew 3:16, John 10:30, Genesis 2:24, John 17:6, John 17:21, Colossians 1:15-17, Luke 23:21, 1 Peter 2:24, Hebrew 12:3, 

Observing Jews wake up every single morning, and they quote this verse.

“Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” They say it at everything. Of course, they aren’t quoting Jesus, they are quoting the verse that Jesus is quoting, which is Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

Jesus answered the scribes question here in Mark, by quoting an old testament passage known as the SHEMA.

They ask him, “What is the most important thing?”

and he quotes Deuteronomy. He says, what is most important? Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ But Jesus adds the second part: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

and the scribe responds to Jesus, and says, “you are right. He is one. God is one. And there is no-one else besides him. You know the scriptures. We can move on now.

It seems this would sum it up. If we could just grasp this concept fully, with all of our hearts, it would solve just about all of our problems. God comes first. People come second, and you are included in the second, but you are not above it. You treat people just like you would treat yourself… If you believed this, and we lived this, we wouldn’t need the Ten Commandments. We would already be doing them.

But the problem is that we don’t grasp this. And that is why we are still hurting each other. We are still talking bad about each other, we are still gossiping and slandering, and belittling each other.

We can’t even get our mind around “love your neighbor as yourself” – and if you can’t love your neighbor as yourself, could you possibly love God with all of your heart?

Moses wrote the SHEMA in Deuteronomy six…. its the chapter right after he gives us the Ten Commandments… Its almost like he was doing the same thing that Jesus does… he is saying, “Here are Ten words to live by.” But if ten is too many, here is one.

If we understand the principles behind the SHEMA, we would automatically do the Ten Commandments.

We hope you will join as we explore the SHEMA, and why that is the way that he responded the the scribe.

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#1 The Decalogue

Series: Realities
Title: The Decalogue
Teacher: Jacob Bender
Date: September 13, 2015

scriptures: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 1:1-3, Exodus 11, Exodus 19:17, Deuteronomy 5:7, Exodus 34:28, Hebrews 1:1-2, Hosea, John 1:1, John 1:14

The word we translate as “commandments” is the Hebrew word dabar, and it really has a much simpler meaning than you would think. It means “words.” So the Hebrews said it this way, “The Ten Words” – or like we talk about in this teaching, they called it a ten word Ketubah. It was the terms of their marriage.

In the Greek, the Ten Commandments are “deka logos” – again, on the surface, it means, “the ten words” – many of you who grew up in a Catholic tradition or Lutheran or any more traditional denominations, you have probably heard of the ten commandments referred to as “The Decalogue.” And this is where get this term from. From “deka logos.”

So “the Decalogue” is a pretty famous name for the Ten Commandments, and it is the way the Greeks translated it.

Well, deca, as we said means ten, and logos which we just said means word, comes from the word… “Logue” means logic… and in the Greek it is the principle behind reality. You know the phrase “it’s only logical….” Well that may be a better way to look at the commandments… It’s really pure logic. It’s more of a reality than it is a law.

When you think of laws, you probably think of things like these:

Things like “No skateboarding” – but if you are a skateboarder, most likely, that sign is not going to stop you. Unless there is a police officer right there or someone of authority who can enforce the regulation that the sign is placing on you, then it is just a sign. Its more like a request that should you choose to not obey, may be met with a consequence of some sort.

A speed limit sign represents a law.

A “Do not Liter” sign represents a law.

But these, these are realities:

When you look at it this way, rules seem nice, don’t they? Rules you can break. Most rules you can screw up some times, and even if you do get caught, you will pay a price, in most cases do your time, and move on.

But with these, there is no slipping through the cracks… There is no “NOT getting caught”… and in fact you may not walk away at all. And if you do walk away, there is permanent damage.

And that is the Ten Commandments. Each and every one of these, if you do not follow them… You are going to crash. You are going to get burned.

You are going to hurt yourself. You are going to hurt your community. It is going to destroy you. Not because God is mad at you because you did something he said not to do so now you are getting punished… No, it’s not like that.

These things in and of them themselves are toxic.

Dr. Frank Seekins was the first one that I heard use an example like this, he gave the example of a speed limit sign vs. a low clearance sign and the differing consequences of ignoring the two… and in fact it was that description that inspired this entire series on the Ten Commandments that we are calling “Realities.”

So we hope that you will join us over these next 8 weeks as we look at an ancient text, hopefully through fresh eyes.



Here is more information about the Hebrew letter “yod”.


This ebook is a transcript of a multi-part teaching by Shane Willard. In it, he makes an amazing correlation between the five parts of a Jewish wedding, and the process that God brought the people of Israel through leading up to giving them the Ten Commandments. Pastor Shane is a friend of my Pastor in New York, and has been a guest in our church there. This low-priced ebook will be an amazing resource to you.

Dr. Frank Seekins is one of the leading authorities on Hebrew word pictures alive today. He did an amazing teaching about the Ten Commandments in word pictures, and this message “The Ten Realities” is in part the inspiration behind the series we are doing and the perspective which we are coming at this classic passage of scripture. “The Ten Realities” is the second teaching in this video, so to watch it you would either need to skip ahead, or first watch his teaching on honor.