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.
I think that every child goes through the experience of trying to lie to their parents. I remember the day that a certain beloved pre-school teacher called me to ask for my help. One of my darling daughters, who couldn’t lie with a straight face today, was leading a water fight in the girl’s bathroom. However, when confronted with the possibility of her involvement, she was completely bright eyed and innocent. Hours passed. She came home from school not knowing that her teacher and her mother were in complete partnership when it came to the Watergate situation. The interrogation continued. More hours passed by and I could not believe the skill with which she could face me and lie. She certainly couldn’t have gotten that from my side of the family!
Oh, the famous story of Ananias and Sapphira! Their story was carefully planned out and executed, but resulted in the ultimate cost. They wanted to show that their story matched. Barnabas, in Acts 4:36, had sold land and given the whole amount to the Apostles. Everyone respected him for his unselfish giving. What if they sold the amount and just kept back a part for them to invest at another time? That investment could grow and then they could give again, and then again, and then again. (Who knows what the rationale was behind the whole story?) At least for now, they would keep part of the sale and lay the rest at the Apostles feet….just like Barnabas. After all, it was not anyone’s business to know what the exact sale was.
And then the question was asked of Ananias. What he probably considered a small lie was, in truth, a huge lie to the Holy Spirit. The others were shaken to see his demise. Three hours later, his wife Sapphira comes along. She had no clue of what happened to Ananias. She was just going along with their plan. Just imagine how shaken the other believers were as they watched God’s judgement demonstrated in front of them.
Our perception of a little lie and God’s perception of a little lie isare quite different. Unless we are walking close to God, we tend to justify our sin. Quenching the Spirit is so dangerous. In fact, if we continue in our sin, we become calloused to God’s voice—… and that is a very dangerous spot to be in.
We must pray that God helps us to walk closely to Him in every area of life. God’s correction is always a blessing as it is proof of our relationship with Him. As a father and mother lovingly correct their children, so does God correct us and guide us into His will. This lesson teaches us how dangerous it is to lie to the Holy Spirit.
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.