"Lips that lie are disgusting to the Lord, but honest people are his delight."
The early church attracted attention because of their unity and their generosity in sharing with each other. No one suffered from poverty because from time to time members would voluntarily sell property or possessions and bring money to the apostles who would then distribute it among the needy.
When a respected leader named Barnabas sold his land and turned the money over to the apostles a husband and wife came up with a plan to look just as generous. Ananias and Sapphira sold a piece of property and pretended to donate all the proceeds to the church but they secretly held back a portion of the money for their personal use.
Peter confronted Ananias and accused him of letting Satan make him lie to the Holy Spirit and keep some of the money. Peter pointed out there had been no need for the deception since Ananias had the right to use the money from his property as he wished. When Peter told Ananias he had lied to God, Ananias dropped dead.
A few hours later Sapphira arrived and Peter questioned her about the price for the land. Sapphira also lied. Peter asked how she and her husband could agree to test the Lord's spirit.
She also dropped dead and was buried beside her husband.
God may have dealt harshly with this couple to provide an example for the developing church and to protect the believers' unity and witness to the world. He doesn't always judge lying so severely which is fortunate for us since lying is so ingrained in our culture.
Even if we avoid telling outright falsehoods, we can still lie by the way we present or withhold certain information; sometimes we allow our behavior to deceive others. When we're dishonest in our speech or actions, we are being guided by Satan whom the Bible calls "the father of lakes."
If we allow the Holy Spirit to keep us free from lies an deception, God will find us delightful instead of disgusting.
Randy Morris, Minister