Unlikely Leaders


Why This Display of God’s Wrath?

Infinite Wisdom saw that this display of God’s wrath was necessary to guard the young church from becoming demoralized. The church would have been in danger if, when many converts were coming in, men and women had been added who were worshiping money. This judgment was a warning to the church to avoid falsehood and hypocrisy and to beware of robbing God. ULe 28.2

God has made the preaching of the gospel dependent on the labors and gifts of His people—voluntary offerings and the tithe. God claims the tenth; He leaves everyone free to decide whether to give more than this. But when the Holy Spirit stirs someone’s heart and that person makes a vow to give a certain amount, the one who vows no longer has any right to the consecrated portion. Are promises we make to God less binding than written agreements with other people? ULe 28.3

When divine light is shining into the heart with unusual clearness, habits of selfishness relax their grasp, and there is a desire to give to God. But Satan is not pleased to see the Redeemer’s kingdom on earth built up. He suggests that the pledge was too much, that it may cripple their efforts to get property or gratify the desires of their families. ULe 28.4

God blesses men and women with property so that they may be able to give to His cause. He gives them health and the ability to earn money. In turn, He invites them to show their gratitude by returning tithes and offerings. If funds would flow into the treasury in harmony with this divinely appointed plan, there would be plenty available to advance the Lord’s work. ULe 28.5

But hearts become hardened through selfishness. Like Ananias and Sapphira, many people spend money lavishly in gratifying self while they bring to God almost unwillingly a meager offering. They forget that God will no more accept the pittance they hand into the treasury than He accepted the offering of Ananias and Sapphira. ULe 28.6

God wants us to learn how deep His hatred is for hypocrisy and deception. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and lost this life and the life that is to come. God declares that into the Holy City “there shall by no means enter ... anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie” (Revelation 21:27). Let telling the truth become a part of our lives! Playing fast and loose with truth means making shipwreck of faith. “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth” (Ephesians 6:14). Those who tell untruths sell their souls in a cheap market. They may seem to make business advancement that they could not gain by fair dealing; but finally they can trust no one. As liars themselves, they have no confidence in the word of others. ULe 28.7

In the case of Ananias and Sapphira, fraud against God was quickly punished. Many in our own time commit the same sin. It is no less terrible in His sight now than in the apostles’ time. God has given the warning: all who give themselves up to hypocrisy and covetousness are destroying their own souls. ULe 29.1