In yesterday’s devotional thought, I was reading about the story of Ananias and Sapphira.
Their story is the following record in Scripture:
Lying to the Holy Spirit
5 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”
She said, “Yes, for so much.”
9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.
This is what my devotional book, Men & Women Of The Bible said in regards to these two people:
Almost any group will include those who want to belong without the trouble of real commitment. The early Christian church had its share of those who failed to count the cost. Ananias and Sapphira preferred to appear committed rather than to be genuine in their faith. They were under the mistaken notion that appearances were just as good as the real thing, but cheaper. Caught in the act of dishonest giving, they lost everything.
When he confronted Ananias, Peter made the problem very clear. Ananias and his wife were not obliged to give to the church. That wasn’t the problem. Ananias’ sin came when he desired to gain prestige by making others think he had given the entire amount of the property sale when he had only given part of the money.
What powerful and convicting words! Are we more concerned about appearances, or are we committed to the God who sees everything, knows everything, and who desires us — all of us?
Another powerful point made in the devotional book, Men & Women Of The Bible said in regards to this situation:
Among those he intended to deceive was God.
…It’s often tempting to bend the truth, but have you ever thought about who you’re really trying to deceive? How often would we stop twisting the truth if we truly and fearfully realized that beyond those people we may fool is a God we cannot deceive?
Wow! Let me re-state that quote again…
“Beyond those people we may fool is a God we cannot deceive.”
God, purify our hearts. We come before you, knowing that we are so easily deceived — deceived by the lies and deceived by our own fleshly desires. Right now, we come before you, acknowledging the sinfulness and deception of our own hearts and acknowledging the Superior Excellence of You! We ask you to reveal any ways within us that are not aligned with your will and ways. We ask you to soften our hearts towards you and to bring us into repentance before you so that you might restore us into a closer relationship with You. Knowing that you are a good God and a loving God, we want you above all else — above the shallowness and decay of our own desires. Change our desires so that it is You we desire above all else!