Acts 5:5 – And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
The death of Ananias, and later the same day, his wife, Sapphira, is one of the most storied events of the early church. There was a great movement within the infant church in which people were selling certain of their possessions, and giving part or all of the proceeds to the work of the Lord. Many, of course, such as Barnabas, were giving the total price of the sale, but we don’t know if everyone who sold something did that. We DO know, however, that Ananias and Sapphira sold a possession and secretly kept back a part of it, indicating to the church that they were giving the total proceeds from the sale. The point that needs to be noted here is that Peter stated very clearly that such deception was not viewed by the Lord as lying to the church, but as lying to Him.
There is a subject of which the body of Christ SHOULD be keenly aware, but alas, is little taught in today’s ministries – the FEAR of the LORD. The fear of the Lord has two sides. One side speaks to the matter of standing in deep awe at the power, ability, holiness, and where He chooses, sovereignty of God. Those qualities in our heavenly Father are certainly worthy of the fear of the Lord, or as it may be more clearly defined, the deep and abiding reverential awe of God.
And there is another side to the fear of God. The Scriptures declare that the world shall fear the child of God for it will be clearly seen that the child of God is called by the Name of the Lord. That, too, is the fear of the Lord. That can be more clearly seen when we read in Isaiah of the Spirit of the Lord that shall rest upon Jesus. One of the elements of that Spirit is named as “the Spirit of the fear of the Lord.” That Spirit, Who is Holy Ghost, resting and abiding upon the child of God is what causes the child of God to stand in that deep and abiding awe of God, and at the same time, causes the world to fear the child of God because that Spirit is on the child of God.
That abiding presence is awesome indeed, and when manifested as it was to Ananias and Sapphira, it was sufficient to cause them to literally be “scared to death.” Since Father never changes, and Jesus never changes, we should embrace the truth that Holy Ghost never changes. That fear of the Lord was known and recognized in the infant church. Should it not them be known and recognized in today’s church? How far as the church withdrawn from and failed to recognize the true fear of the Lord? Is it pleasing to the Lord? I think not, and I further believe it both hinders and hurts the church and its work.
Manna for Today – Acts 5:1-11; Matthew 13:24-30; Ecclesiastes 1:9; Ecclesiastes 5:1-7; Proverbs 18:21; Deuteronomy 28:10; Isaiah 11:2