Sympathy with God
Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and
breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
When God brings judgment upon someone, our natural
inclination is often sympathy toward the one being disciplined. Yet when God
acts in judgment, our sympathies ought always to lie with Him. Only God knows
all that is at stake, and only He knows the full circumstances that provoked
His wrath upon the one He is judging.
Ananias and Sapphira’s experience is one of the
most perplexing stories in the New Testament. In a time when God’s grace had
provided salvation for all mankind, His response to this couple seems unusually
harsh. Yet there was much at stake in their deception. The church was in its
formative stages. Ananias and Sapphira had witnessed the miraculous power of
God and had seen thousands of people being added to the church. Nevertheless,
they showed little regard for the Spirit of God when they blatantly lied to God
and the church. Such irreverence would have been devastating to a church whose
very life depended upon the presence and guidance of God’s Spirit. God left a
sobering reminder that He would not tolerate sin.
Many times the sin of one Christian has a
devastating effect on others. At times, God chooses to judge someone’s sin
severely, as a deterrent for others. Don’t try to protect someone from the
judgment of God. It is a terrifying thing to fall under His judgment (Heb.
10:31). Yet His judgment on one may ultimately save that person and many
others. When God is judging others, take heed and examine your own life. God
knows what is at stake; He loves His children enough to provide a stark warning
of sin’s dangers.