I Kings 8:38, 39
“When prayer and supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: Then hear in heaven Your Dwelling Place (See Isa. 57:15), and forgive and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart You know, (for You, even You only, know the hearts of all the children of men).”
The following are excerpts from a sermon entitled, “The Plague of the Heart”, by Hugh Martin (1822-1885)
Sin is here called a plague. It is a very awful and alarming designation: a plague, a pestilential disease, a pestilence. The heart of man is here virtually called “the city of the plague.” This plague assumes a special form or becomes a special plague in each man’s case. It is the heart which is the seat of the disorder. I would speak of some of these plagues. They are many and varied, and each man has to make himself acquainted with the plague of his own heart. The great and pervading plague of spiritual depravity—enmity to God--assumes different forms in different men according to their different constitutions, background, and positions.
Plague #1 Covetousness Covetousness is frequently mentioned in Scripture and is very specially condemned. It is found in rich and poor alike. It is a direct offshoot from the great plague of ungodliness—alienation from God and the dislike of communion with Him. The Godly man rests on the promise, the Providence, the power and faithfulness of a reconciled Heavenly Father. He seeks first the kingdom of God, and he knows that all other things shall be added to him. His citizenship and treasure are in heaven, and the coveting and storing up of earthly goods and position finds no place in his heart. His future through all the unending ages he has given over to the gracious hand and keeping of Him who sent His own Son to save him from his sins, and the brief future of a few uncertain years on earth he lays to rest in the same faithful keeping of his God.
Social and commercial calamities may give him a fair and rational anxiety, but they cannot overwhelm his composure, nor drive out his soul from her home of trust and peace. Ungodliness on the other hand tends very directly to lead a man to desire so much of this world’s good as he thinks may keep him safe, and keep his mind at ease, without a lively trust in God as the source of his peace. He puts his worldly possessions, be they large or small, in the place of God. Hence covetousness is in Scripture, more than any other sin, directly condemned as idolatry!
“Let your conversation (manner of life) be without covetuousness; and be content with such things as you have for He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5