Dangerous Holy Ground!
Scripture reading for April 20th: 1st Samuel 1-3, Psalm 120, Acts 5
Acts 5:3-6 “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 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.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.”
Life in the early church was exciting. Many people were repenting and being saved and the church was growing. Collections were received to help needy people and meet the needs of the workers. One couple sold some land and then brought part of the proceeds of the land while representing what they had given as all of it. With a word of knowledge, Peter questioned Ananias about his deceit. He then told him he had not lied just to man, but to God. At this God’s judgment fell upon him and he died. His wife suffered the same fate. This caused holy fear in the church and further church growth, the opposite of what you might think! Holiness is not optional and God knows each heart.
Psalm 120:1-2 “In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.” (Song of Ascents–sung by Israelites as they began the climb to the temple mount for the feasts and sacrifice)
Prayer: Father God, even reading of this account of judgment in the early church brings me holy fear and heart searching. Forgive me for any showmanship or deceitfulness before You or Your Church. Guard my heart from lying lips and give me clear discernment of my own heart and of those that I worship with and help watch over. You are righteous in all You do and holiness befits Your people. It is not optional!
1st Samuel 3:11-13 “Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and He did not restrain them.”