Acts 5:2

101st Airborne Division Letter sending wishes for a healthy recovery to Sgt. York.

Thursday, 10 February 2022

And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Acts 5:2

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse introduced Ananias and Sapphira, noting that they sold a possession. The narrative concerning them continues now, beginning with, “And he.”

It first focuses on Ananias, apart from his wife. This actually highlights the events of the narrative in a more pronounced way. As they unfold, the united nature of their deed, despite the order in which the events unfold, is brought to the forefront of the account. As for Ananias at this time, he “kept back part of the proceeds.”

The Greek word, translated as “kept back,” is nosphizó. It is found here in verses 2 & 3, and only again in Titus 2:10 –

Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” Titus 2:9, 10

It signifies purloining, pilfering, or embezzling. It is the clearly wrong action of setting apart something for oneself. In this case, the setting apart is not what is wrong. The disposition of the money would be up to them. However, what accompanies the setting apart of the money is what makes their actions inappropriate.

It is clearly to be understood that their actions imply that the entire amount is supposedly being offered to God. Thus, it is the lie that accompanies the offering that is being focused on. Ananias has looked to find favor in the eyes of the people through a dishonest display of charity. But the guilt of the act extends beyond him because of “his wife also being aware of it.”

They are both complicit in the deceitful act, and thus both bear guilt before the Lord. It is in this state of trickery that it next says, “and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

The account gives the basic details and says nothing further about how it was presented, meaning what was said, what kind of a cheerful response came from those who received it, or any other such things. One can easily speculate about how esteemed the act would have been in the eyes of others, and how these two would suddenly be moved up a couple of notches in the rungs of whatever perceived hierarchy there was among the people.

And this would have been the exact intent of making such a claim. With everyone’s attention focused on them, they would be the heroes of the day. But such a state has no value in the eyes of God. Rather, He looks upon deceitfulness and a faithless heart in a completely different light. When King Saul did something that followed in a similar fashion, he was directly addressed concerning it by Samuel –

“So Samuel said:
‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king.’” 1 Samuel 15:22, 23

Saul looked for esteem in the eyes of his men as of more importance than a heart that was set on pleasing the Lord. It cost him the kingship. Ananias and Sapphira followed a similar path, and they will not go unscathed.

Life application: In our society today, people have become almost totally consumed with seeing themselves and being recognized on social media. All kinds of filters are used to enhance photos, and once photos have been taken, they are manipulated further to hide imperfections.

As this is so, what is being seen is nothing more than a cheap lie. Even though we know this is being done, it is ignored as an acceptable part of being in the public eye. Such deceitfulness then harms everything else around us because our view of people becomes skewed. We see the actual flaws of others and decide they need to be “corrected” before we can truly accept them.

And so, people rush off to have plastic surgery, Botox fillers, and so on. Life is cheapened with each such thing we allow. And all the while, God is evaluating what is going on inside of us. The externals mean nothing. He is looking to see if our hearts are directed to Him and to His word.

Let us not worry about the shallow, temporary, and completely vain things that do not profit. Instead, we should be concerned with building up our spiritual lives through hearts that are more in love with the Lord every day. May it be so.

Lord God, help us to forget the vain and temporary things that this world focuses on, and help us to cultivate hearts that are pleasing to You. May we be acceptable in Your sight despite all of our outward bumps and scars that will be forever removed when we receive new bodies of glory and holiness some wonderful day. Amen.