God in heaven, today I join my heart with all creation to praise Your loving and wise lordship over all.
Read Acts 5:1-11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Today, the subtle issues of worldliness are tied up with the quest for affluence, the worship of success and popularity, and the psychology of selfism” (Howard Snyder).
This story is shocking on two levels. First, it shows how quickly the generous example of Barnabas (Acts 4:36,37) could be perverted. How can unaffected goodness be cheapened by such tawdry showmanship? Whether or not this couple desired to be part of the celebrity culture of their day, it seems they saw a “photo opportunity” and went for it. In a calculated act, they foreshadowed Andy Warhol’s famous 1968 comment, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Be careful what you ask for, for they got it, but their “fame”–or rather, “infamy”–has lasted for two thousand years. Their brazen hypocrisy, fueled perhaps by envy, was condemned as lying to God. This was not the time for therapeutic counseling but for exposure, lest they set a pattern that would become a precedent in the early church. In any event, their action affected the whole church, though not in the way they intended.
Second, this story is shocking in its wake-up call to those who would casually domesticate God. As we read in the Narnia tales, Aslan is “not like a tame lion” (C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). As with Achan’s sin during the conquest of Canaan (see Joshua 7) or Uzzah’s presumption in the ark’s move to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:6,7), a marker was laid down that forced the people of God to reassess how seriously they took God’s holiness. How easy it is to become so comfortable with God that we take him for granted! This is a wake-up call against presumption, when we might be lazy or careless in the way we approach God. We should also be very wary before we claim God’s name to justify our agenda. Don’t exaggerate your spiritual claims. Watch and pray.
We share Ananias’ sin when we try to make others think we are more spiritual than we are. Have you put on the belt of sincerity (Eph. 6:14)?
Father, today I would put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:11). I need Your protection as I deal with the wiles of the Evil One. I look to You, my Rock, my Refuge, my Helper.
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