Acts 5:1-11, “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 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. 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? 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.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.” 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.” 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. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.”
Deception. It is a slippery slope and so many get on it. Trying to deceive to gain something. Trying to deceive to get away with something. In the end, men might be fooled for a while. Might be fooled their entire lives. There is one who will not be fooled. God cannot be fooled by what we say or do.
Ananias and Sapphira. Two people who died because of deception. Died because they wanted to trick God and deceive Him. There was a possession that was sold. We know what that possession was but it really doesn’t matter what it was. What matters is that it was sold and what was made from the sale was to be given to the apostles as a gift. Ananias thought, along with Sapphira, that it would be a good idea to be greedy and keep back part of the sale. It was their possession after all. They did not see the harm in this.
What those two did not count on was the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit did not stay quiet about this crime and let Peter know so that Peter could call this to their attention. Peter does confront them about the deception. He also is sure to point out the author of the deception, Satan. He is a deceiver, since the beginning of time with Adam, Eve, and the fruit in the garden. Ananias was also called out on the lie that he made and how ridiculous it was for him to do what he did. The land was his. He remained in control of it. And yet, part was kept back, not from men, but from God. The sin was not against man but against God.
Now what happened did not happen slowly. It was a quick 1-2 punch action. After Peter finished speaking, Ananias died. This would have meant that he would not have had time to ask God to forgive him. He would not had time to even say “Sorry.” He heard the words and died. This obviously would have freaked out the people who had just seen him alive. They might not have known why he died but when people die, it brings attention. His body was wrapped, carried, out and buried.
Now three hours later, Sapphira, not aware that her husband was dead already, came to Peter. This may have been to find out where her husband was as he more than likely told her where he was going. Peter then asked her a question to find out her level of involvement in the deception he learned about with Ananias. He asked her how much the land was sold for. Straightaway, she lied. She lied to Peter, not knowing that what she did was what her husband died for 3 hours earlier.
Peter was shocked. Shocked that she would lie to God as well. His last words to her were to tell her that the same people who carried and buried her husband were there for her. She then died in the same fashion as her husband. A fall and then no more breath. She was then carried and buried right next to her husband, less than a day apart. Both died for the same lie and deception. This action would have spread through the area about what was done. This would have served as a lesson not to cross God or test Him.
So many people try to test and deceive God. They may not die right away like Ananias and Sapphira, but they are dying. Parts of their souls are dying with every misstep away from God. We cannot fool God no matter how hard we try. We may think we can; we can’t. He knows our thoughts before we have them. He knows our actions before we do them. Yet it does not stop us from trying. Instead, we need to be honest with others and especially honest with God. Deception leads straight to Hell. Avoid deception and come to God.
We want to ask for forgiveness for any times that we have tried to deceive You. We know that You know us and we cannot trick You. We don’t want to deceive You. We ask that You let this be a lesson to us that we do not try to pull anything over on you. You are an awesome God and You bless us with so much. We do not need to hold back anything for ourselves. You give us so much. Thank You for all that You do for us every day. We truly would be lost without You.
In Your name we pray,