Acts 5: 1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)
5 But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”
5 As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6 Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.8 Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?”
“Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.”
9 And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.”
10 Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.11 Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.
Ananias. A man who, with his wife Sapphira, believed the Good News of Jesus Christ and were part of the early church. Perhaps they were included in the 5,000+ who heard Peter preach the gospel after Pentecost? Perhaps they hadn’t yet received water baptism before he and John were brought before the council, arrested and put in prison? Perhaps they hadn’t received the baptism of the Holy Spirit by fire? Perhaps their story would have been different if they had?
But those chapters were never written.
Immediately after Ananias & Sapphira’s brief introduction in chapter 5 verse 1 of the book of Acts, we realize that Ananias was greedy for acknowledgement & affirmation. Upon the sale of his property, he also became greedy for the cash he earned. As Peter explained to him, it was HIS land to keep or sell. It was HIS money to keep or give away. But he made a decision in his heart which would cost him his life- and the life of his wife.
He chose to fear man instead of fearing God.
Ananias wanted to appear generous, like his fellow believer, Joseph, who had sold a field he owned and given ALL the money to the apostles so that they could distribute it to those in need (Acts 4:36-37). Ananias wasn’t prompted by the Holy Spirit to sell his land. Ananias was prompted by Satan to be like Joseph. He has tempted by the lust of the eyes, flesh and pride of life. A thought captured his mind; sell the land, give some of the money to church leaders, and appear “righteous” like Joseph. Panic invaded his emotions; what if I need some of the money to provide for me and my family?! He made a willful choice; seek approval & affirmation from the apostles by giving part of the profit to the church and keep the rest.
Then he obtained his wife’s consent!!!!
Sapphira made the fatal decision to fear man instead of fearing God. Whether she was afraid to tell her husband “no” because of religious customs or societal pressure, she chose to fear his wrath, rejection, or withdrawal of provision instead of fearing God. She gave consent to lie- to him, and herself.
They lied to the Holy Spirit!
They lied to the church!
Both fell short of the glory of God.
Both died suddenly.
Both were an example to the believers.
If only they were the one couple in church history who sought acknowledgement and affirmation from religious leaders. If only they were the only husband and wife duo who wanted to appear generous, but were actually greedy.
Men still scheme and devise plans to look righteous. Women still give consent to lies. They may not die a physical death in front of others, but death comes non-the-less. Decay follows as Satan slithers his way through families and causes disunity amongst believers.
What are we to do, then?
Scripture is clear: confront the sin. If a man or woman fails to confess, the young men need to get up, wrap them in a sheet and bury them! (see also Matthew 18: 15-20) The church in America has become experts in sweeping sin under the rug. God is not fooled. May the Holy Spirit fall on the bride of Christ with all-consuming fire, causing us to confess, repent, and once more fear God. Only then can we be equipped to preach the gospel to every tribe, tongue and nation so that others will believe & accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and go, make disciples.
18 “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. 19 And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. 20 You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the Lord, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”
I’m really good at whining. And when I am “sick of it” (whatever IT is) I can cry and cry and cry some more to the Lord- and others.
The current IT has kept me in the desert for several years. The scorching heat and lack of water began when my husband started working for a pharmaceutical company that required frequent travel. Having been through a year of unemployment 5 years ago, we are extremely grateful to have a steady income flowing into our bank account, but the adjustment of being separated has been excruciating at times. And time hasn’t made it easier. It’s just become an uncomfortable routine.
You’d think after a few years of this lifestyle I’d quit whining. Yeah, not so much. My mouth continues to pour out blessings and curses. This is not right.
10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
Thank you Lord for this job.
Thank you for a husband that works long, hard hours to provide for our family.
Thank you God for giving me the strength to train & teach our 4 children.
Thank you Father for the travel rewards our entire family benefits from as we explore Your world.
GOD. How much longer are we going to have to live like this?!
Why can’t my husband work close to home like other husbands?!
Why do I have to manage the house and kids by myself?!
Oh for some meat. We were better off in Egypt.
Uh….no we weren’t.
The truth is: God brought us out of Egypt. Not only did He deliver us financially- He removed us from the bonds of slavery in many areas of our life during that season of unemployment. He proved Himself to be our El-Shaddai, Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah-Shamah.
Still, my flesh cries out for more. He’s sending manna & quail (enough to make me gag), but I’m anxious to reach the Promised Land. I’m such a stubborn Israelite.
Yet even in my rebellion, He still loves me.
This morning, as I sat down in the tent of meeting I turned to the bookmarked page in our chronological bible and stared at the page. Silently I whined “I’m soooooo sick of reading about Moses and the Israelites.” As the words from Numbers 11 filled my head, my eyes filled with tears and my soul felt the pang of conviction. I didn’t need to ask, but I did anyway, “Lord, I’ve been whining, haven’t, I?”
Without rejection, without condemnation, my Jehovah- Rohi gently rebuked me and called me back into the shelter of His wings (Psalm 91), beckoning me to trust Him, again..….to trust Him in the midst of the scorching heat of the desert.
So with new mercy today, I will.
18 I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.
24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
For the last few years, we’ve (by that, I mean, my husband!) been repairing cracks in the fireplace and front porch of our home. As the problem persisted, however, we eventually hired a contractor to repair and re-cement the fractured bricks.
Last month, after much prayer and waiting, we decided to go ahead with some other household projects we had been delaying. One of which, was a full kitchen remodel. Our house was built in the 1980’s and the décor and design isn’t necessarily our style. We’ve done numerous upgrades and cosmetic changes to every room of our colonial style home, but I’ve been HGTV-dreaming of bringing our kitchen (aka: my workplace) into the 21st century for 8 years! With sketches and designs in hand, I called our contractor to begin the task of getting estimates. Upon his recommendation, we also decided to call a structural engineer to see if he could fix the chimney and front steps at the same time. I was NOT prepared for what he had to say, after he inspected our property. “Um, ma’am…the front steps and chimney are cracked and settling, but that isn’t the real problem. Your foundation has sunk 1-2 inches and will continue to drop. You can choose not to repair the issue, but eventually, it will pull so far away from the original foundation that it may bring the living room, upstairs bedroom, chimney and front steps crashing down.”
What the what?!?!
If that wasn’t enough of a punch in the gut, the estimate for repairing it WAS.
Dream kitchen budget = $0.00
Foundation repairs = $ (a few more zeros…. and other numbers)
Homeownership. Isn’t it fun?!
In the coming weeks, a team of engineers will descend upon our property in order to drill steel pipes past the sandy soil in our front yard (we live in the Sandhills of NC) until they hit bedrock. Once the jacks are literally cemented into the ground, they will attempt to lift our house back to its original foundation.
During the first several years of our marriage, Doug and I also made some cosmetic and design changes to our relationship. For the short term, they seemed to work- and look good from the outside…but eventually, issues began to resurface and show major cracks in our foundation. What we failed to realize was: our lives- and our marriage was not built on solid rock. And when the rains, floods and winds of sin, neglect and unforgiveness hit, they began to destroy our home.
Thankfully, however, we eventually chose to surrender to the Master Structural Engineer and through the help of a few contractors, we were able to see the cracks, drill down to bedrock, install pillars of Truth and begin to restore our relationship to His original plan. Was it costly? Yep. Moving out of sinking sand not only affected our hearts, minds and souls- it also affected our bank account. But believe me when I tell you- it was completely worth it (let’s hope I say the same thing when I write that check out to the engineers!).
18 So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.
19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.
20 Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
I will be the first to admit; I am not a very patient person. Time is often my enemy. I hate to waste it and I hate not knowing if what I’m doing with it is advantageous – or not.
Therefore, I am certain that my current wait time is another opportunity for the Lord to teach me His ways. Some days I’m an honor student, eager to hear His instruction and complete my assignments. Other days I’m a rebellious schoolgirl who would prefer to skip class and do what I want to do!
When Doug was laid off in 2010, I assumed the dream was dead. When he started contract work the next year, I began to hope again. When a permanent job offer came along the following year I began daydreaming about all the ways I, like Disney, could make all my dreams come true! After I devised a plan, I tried to convince Doug to buy into it- and when he didn’t immediately comply I began talking with our children about it! Control Freak? Ehem….. yes. Looking back over that season, I now realize that I was looking at my circumstances for the answer, instead of to the One who holds all the answers.
I’ve since repented for not coming to God for help, for being impatient regarding my wait time and for not trusting that HE will make my dream come true in HIS time, if this dream is HIS dream for me. I also apologized to my husband and our children for dragging them into my rebellion.
And so, in this current season, I continue to come to Him
And feel His love and compassion
And know that He is faithful
And cry out for an answer
And listen to His teachings
And one day, when it is time, He will say: “this is the way you should go…” And I will obey Him, whether its my dream- or not, because I love Him and I know that He will bless me when I surrender my life- and my dreams to Him.
22 Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, “Good riddance!”
23 Then the Lord will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock. 24 The oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat good grain, its chaff blown away by the wind. 25 In that day, when your enemies are slaughtered and the towers fall, there will be streams of water flowing down every mountain and hill. 26 The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days in one! So it will be when the Lord begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them.