You have not lied to men but to God. Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last.
Acts 5, 4.5
God is very different from what people think! Here, for example, death struck a man in a moment, because he had lied to God. Isn’t such a God merciless, if He wields His power so severely against a weak human being?
Let us examine what had happened previously. A holy zeal for the Lord prevailed among the first Christians in the early days of the history of the church. Many sacrificed their money and possessions for His cause. The landowner Ananias, together with his wife, didn’t want to miss out on this practice. He also sold a field and made it appear that he had donated the entire price for the work of Christ. Yet it was only a part of it; the rest he had kept back for himself. That was the lie that offended God. Ananias wanted to appear more pious than he really was.
Do we still honestly consider that a trifle? It may well be that this case has been repeated millions of times in one form or another. However, a lie remains a lie, today just as at that time. If God in His holiness punished that wrong with death, we believe it was because of the pristine state of the church in that early period. Ananias was the first to dare to introduce untruth and hypocrisy into Christendom at that early stage.
We must realize one thing: God is aware of every lie, even if He does not carry out His judgment immediately. People offend His honour, when they disregard His standards. That should make us think! This report in the Bible should make it clear to us, above all, that God is holy and cannot simply overlook sin.