After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. – Acts 5:7-11
I do not have “NO FEAR” tee shirts. I don’t proclaim that I have no fears. But to be honest, I don’t make my fears as well known as perhaps I should. Perhaps I should let people know that I fear God, and want to avoid his displeasure or discipline. This is true even though I know my sins have been forgiven, that God loves me unconditionally, and that nothing I have done or will do will change that.
I am secure in my faith. But sometimes security in faith becomes nonchalance in life. We act so cool – as though we are ever unfazed by even the most tumultuous turn of events. “Never let them see you sweat” is a byword for many today.
This is likely because we know that evil people will take advantage of weak and fearful people. Those who desire to dominate, harm, or take advance of us are quick to smell the fear in the air, and like sharks sensing blood in the water they are quick to hone in on those who let their fears be known.
Except when it comes to the fear of God. If someone truly fears God he is strong and – to a great degree – invulnerable. She who fears God in the face of efforts of a co-worker to coerce her into unethical or illegal activity has a great strength. When it comes to the fear of God; fear is not only a good thing. It is a thing of power, clarity, and peace.
Sapphira had no such fear of God. She feared her husband’s disapproval. She feared not having enough money. She feared not being seen as one of the more generous members of the church. But she did not fear God. When it came time to confront the truth she turned aside. Rather than fearing God she feared getting caught in her deception. So she payed God, seeking to create a world that did not exist by using words that were not true.
When she had paid the ultimate price, people’s hearts were brought to fear. Perhaps we need to take hold of that same fear of God, holding to his ways, seeking his honor, and embracing his truth each day.
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” says Hebrews 10:31. But it is a good place to fall. A place of ultimate rescue, grace, and salvation. Honing our hearts to fear, love and trust in God above all things we become more and more like Jesus who did that perfectly. He is our righteousness, hope and salvation.