|“How could you agree to test the Spirit of the
Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door,
and they will carry you out also.”
These were the last words that Sapphira heard because “at that moment she fell down at his [Peter's] feet and died.” Only three hours earlier her husband Ananias had dropped dead at Peter's feet. Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, did not kill either of these people. God Himself executed his judgment on them. The sentence of death was carried out on the spot.
What was their crime?
Ananias had decided to sell some property as others were doing to raise money to provide for people who were in need. But “with his wife's full knowledge” he decided to keep back part of the sale price, but say it was the entire sum.
They did not have to give it all. They did not even have to give any of it. Peter reminded them, “Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing?”
What, indeed! And why would God take such drastic action?
Sapphira and her husband had seen only men who seemed to have power and influence. They wanted to get close enough to this inner circle so they, too, could have power and influence. They didn't see God as the real power. They were serving another god, the god of pride, self-promotion, and greed. The devil was trying to infiltrate this new community and sabotage the unity, trust, and devotion the genuine believers had with God and each other.
Later on God would allow deceivers to mingle with his people, but at this critical beginning, he made clear that God can not be fooled. God knows every person's heart. Each person will stand as an individual before the throne of judgment. Ananias died for his sin. Sapphira died for hers.
“I am the Lord your God” was the first of the Ten Words (or Ten Commandments) that God wrote with his own finger on tablets of stone. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, God writes these Words on the heart of every one who truly accepts Jesus as their Lord (translation: Boss, King, Ruler, Captain, Provider, Judge) as well as Savior from the death penalty for sin.
The death of Ananias and Sapphira caused “great fear” among the believers and “all who heard about these events.” “No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.”
For a time, only those who genuinely desired to serve the Living God had the courage to become a part of the Way, as Christianity was called at the beginning.
Through Sapphira and her husband Ananias we are warned that God means
business. We can fool ourselves and each other but God can not be fooled.
He knows who worships him in spirit and in truth and those who do not.
For the Scripture References and related
Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study
Guide: Sapphira, Keep Yourselves From Idols