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Friday, 3 February 2017

Did Sapphira Have to Die For Supporting Her Husband?

Acts 5:1-10
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died, and great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that was the price.”
Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.   

I have received responses from two different women on this issue of submission and both sighted the case of Sapphira, as to why she was killed for supporting her husband. So we will use this post to understand and clarify the difference between the circumstances surrounding Sapphira and Sarah's story.

The Bible tells us that Ananias together with his wife Sapphira sold their piece of property; so what I am understanding from this story is that Sapphira was in agreement with Ananias to sell their property. It was also with the full knowledge of Sapphira that Ananias kept back part of the proceeds of the property sold. So to say that both were in agreement to do what was wrong in the sight of the Holy Spirit.

Ananias laid the remaining money at the apostles’ feet giving them the impression that he was submitting all he made from the sale of the property. I want to believe that if Ananias had opened up and told the truth to the apostles he would not have died and still they will not insist he brings all the money. But he lied and paid for it with his life.

At this point Sapphira his wife who was in agreement with him to sell their property and keep back some of the proceeds of the sale was still alive; her sin so far didn’t require the death penalty until Peter confronted her and she also lied and died as a punishment for her lie.

The story of Sapphira was a case of supporting a lie; she didn't lie because her husband asked her to lie; her husband had been dead three hours before she came on the scene. She lied because she wanted to lie in support of her husband. She was not lying in obedience to an instruction given to her by her husband; she was lying to buttress her husband's lie. 

Genesis 20:10-13
And Abimelech asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”
Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God caused me to wander from my father’s household. I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, ‘He is my brother,” ’ ”

This is the story of Sarah; this is not a story of conniving as it was the case with Sapphira. There was no agreement between Sarah and Abraham in this matter, but this was a case of submission without objection. Sarah did as she was told without raising any objection, but this does not imply that she was in agreement to the assumed lie, neither can we conclude that she was happy about it. She simply did as she was told to show how much she loved her husband since that was the only convincing factor for him to know that she truly loved him.

Then another angle to look at this from is that Abraham and Sarah were actually half-brother/sister. So their claim was not totally false, they just didn’t tell the truth the way it should be told thereby giving a false impression about the true relationship between them. So if we would judge this even in human terms we can't fault them both for what we have termed to be a lie.

Doing what your husband has instructed you to do even though its wrong and you know within you that when God searches the deep thoughts of your heart, He will find an helpless woman who against her will is committing an error on the instruction of her husband. Then I know that God will not hold you accountable for that action, rather than punish you for obeying your husband, He will punish your husband for not leading you right.

But when you come in agreement with your husband to do what is wrong, that is called conniving. And both you and your husband will be punished accordingly. When your husband is doing what is wrong and you stand in support of him and encourage him on, that is not submission. You are as much as guilty as your husband because you are a party to the wrongdoing. God is the God that searches the deep thoughts of the heart of men and your intentions and motives are not hidden from Him.

When your husband has committed a sin and you lie to support him and prevent justice from prevailing; that is not submission, it is called bearing false witness and it has its own consequences and its own punishment.As a wife you need to understand the difference between these two and I really appreciate those who have called my attention to this in the form of question asked.

Number 30:6-9, tells us that if a woman makes a vow or pledge to God and when her husband hears of it, he forbids her from fulfilling such vow, then God will release her from the vow or pledge by which she bounds herself. This passage shows how much God honors the submission of a wife to her husband. But there is a difference between submission to the authority and instruction of the husband and coming into agreement with your husband to do something. 

You don’t have to be in agreement with your husband to submit to him or obey his instruction. So whether you agree with your husband or you do not agree with him, just obey his instruction for your life and God will honor your obedience. After all we don’t agree with our bosses in the office for us to do what they have asked us to do. Whether we agree or not we just have to obey their instructions in order to preserve our jobs. In the same way you don’t have to agree with your husband to obey him; whether you agree with him or not just obey him in order to preserve your marriage.

But it would be most nice to have a marriage that both husband and wife are always in agreement with each other. The Bible says in Amos 3:3 that how can two walk together unless they have agreed to do so; there is great power in unity and unity is no unity when there is no agreement.

Marriage is sweet and obeying your husband’s instruction is easy if those instructions are in alignment with your thoughts and convictions. But agreement to do evil is a situation whereby all parties involved will be punished in accordance to their level of involvement in the act whether husband or wife.

I pray and believe that this write-up answers a lot of questions for a lot of people. May the Lord bless our homes in Jesus name. 

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