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Deceit and Death

Daily Reading: Acts 5

Scripture Focus: While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God. (Acts 5:4)

Devotional Thought: The early church had jointly decided to share their wealth with one another. Many people were selling their land and houses, giving the proceeds to be distributed according to need (Acts 4). When Ananias and Sapphira sold their property, they kept back a portion of their proceeds, but acted as though they were giving it all. Because of their deceit, judgment was passed on them, and they dropped dead on the spot.

On the surface of this story, it is hard to understand why this would have happened, but Peter’s statement makes it more obvious. He declared, “You have not lied to man but to God,” (v. 4). Satan had filled the hearts of this couple, and they had lied to the Holy Spirit (v. 3). They were not full of the Spirit, but rather full of themselves.

We don’t normally hear of cases where people drop dead mysteriously. Yet, there is a lesson here for us as well. First, it should remind us of the holiness of the Lord. There is no room for deceit in the heart of a believer. Second, it should renew in us a sense of awe and wonder as we think about the power of the Lord. As the writer of Proverbs states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9.10). Third, the Lord expects us to keep our vows, especially to fellow believers. James echoes the words of Jesus when he says, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ by yes, and your ‘No,’ no, so that you will not fall under judgment” (James 5.12).


Prayer: Lord, protect us from being full of ourselves. We are prideful by nature, and desire praise from man above praise from our Father. Fill our hearts with a desire to bring you glory, to make more of you as we make less of ourselves. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 66.16-20

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. 17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

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