The Woe of Covetousness: Keeping a Home

Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:

— Habakkuk 2:5

The setting for this woe is the home. As the old saying goes, “Home is where the heart is.” According to little Laura Ingalls, “Home is the nicest word there is.” While little Laura meant well, today, home is for many a place of discouragement, depression, and despair. Most homes are built on the wrong foundation, and I would say that in the majority of these cases the foundation could be summed in one word—covetousness.

When the Lord summarizes the five woes in verse 5, we find this phrase: “neither keepeth at home.” In English, the word “keep” originally meant, “to seize, care for, or attend to.” In Hebrew, this phrase portrays the idea of “reaching an objective.” Covetousness is oftentimes bred in the context of the family. Not many people are content with the family God has given them. Family time is now on the backburner if it is even on the burner at all. The concept of the “YouTube Family” has become increasingly popular. There are families getting paid thousands of dollars to post videos of themselves in their day-to-day activities, posing as happy families, but in so doing they have drawn children farther away from their own families. Many teenagers look for fulfillment outside of their families. Many mothers are captivated by fabricated, unrealistic romance on television and books. And many fathers have cultivated their own hobbies and interests above their families.

“To keep at home” means “to attend to the home with a goal in mind.”

Whoever you are—child, young person, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather—What goal do you have set for yourself in regard to your family? Father, Mother, what goal do you have set for your family? Many fathers and mothers have the wrong goals set for their families. There are many today who have raised their children for the sole purpose of getting a sports scholarship for college. There are many parents whose goal for their children is to make sure they obtain a respected career. There are others I know whose goal for their children is to ensure they wind up married to an attractive spouse. I have personally known many parents who had these goals for their children, and I have watched as their children inch closer and closer to hell. Over the years, I have watched as one family after another breaks apart and collapses for the same exact reasons as the others. Why can’t we learn from others? It breaks my heart to watch children who grew up in solid Bible-believing churches plunge head on into the world. How can parents care so little for their children to establish the wrong goals in their family? Reason with me if you will. Please take a moment to consider the families whose goals were centered around sports, good careers, and dating. What happened to their children?

Keeping a home begins first with the Bible.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
—Deuteronomy 6:4–9

The Word of God can satisfy the hungry soul. The Word of God can fill a life with spiritual fatness and plenty. A family established by the Word of God is not a perfect family—as there are no perfect families here on this present world as YouTube would have you believe—but it is a happy family. Keeping a home with the goal that your children are established in the Word and are acknowledging the Lord in all their ways will bring fulfillment. With such satisfaction, it would be very difficult for covetousness to creep in. Why would children covet after the things of this world if they see that the Bible satisfies the parent’s desires? Why would parents covet to be away from the family if the Bible is the firm foundation upon which the home is built? Babylon did not keep at home. Their covetousness grew and grew. We are told that Babylon’s desire “cannot be satisfied.” The woe of covetousness was answered with the judgment of a destroyed home.

There may be one reading this who is even now in the ruined remains of a destroyed home. Sin has ravaged your family, and you are grasping to any bit of hope that’s available. I will share with you a wonderful nugget of encouraging truth: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). No matter how dark and no matter how much wickedness and sin has infiltrated your home, there is yet more grace. When Paul felt discouraged and defeated, the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9). As you endeavor to keep your home, keep your eyes on Jesus.

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