At Gilgal, Samuel reminds the people that God is still the true King of Israel, and that He has saved them repeatedly even after they had forgotten Him.
Samuel reassures them that if they and their selected king continue to fear and serve God, things would go well with them. If they rebel, however, oppression will follow. Not even the king of Israel is above the commandments of God!
To confirm this word, Samuel calls on God for rain and thunder.
“And the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.” (1 Samuel 12:18)
Since it was the time to harvest the wheat, the dry season, rain and thunder are unnatural. Moreover, such rain could destroy their crops. The people understand that God has sent them a sign and they are convicted of their sins.
The Israelites ask Samuel to intercede for them so that they would not die for their grave sins of worshiping idols and wanting an earthly king and similar to Moses in the Torah portion, Samuel does intercede on behalf of the people.
He reassures them, telling them not to be afraid despite the evil they have done, cautioning them to not chase after futile things, but to serve the Lord with all their heart.
He tells them, “For the sake of His great reputation, Adonai will not abandon His people; because it has pleased Adonai to make you a people for Himself.” (1 Samuel 12:22)
Despite their rebellion, the people do fear the consequence of sin, and perhaps, God Himself, which the Bible says is the beginning of wisdom.
We must teach our children to seek truth in God’s Word and to have a holy reverence for God. It is true that our Father and Creator is a God of love, patience, goodness, compassion, and is slow to anger; but as we see in Korach, He is also a God of justice. As well, He is jealous for the love, obedience, and devotion of His people.
“If you rebel against the commandments of God, then the Lord will be against you.” (1 Samuel 12:14)
Even if we have made mistakes, or walked out of the perfect will of God, we can still turn back in teshuvah (repentance) and serve Him with all our heart, trusting in the goodness and mercy of God to restore and redeem.
Ananais and Sapphira Rebel Against God
“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6)
In the New Covenant, the story of Ananais and Sapphira highlights that rebellion is just as serious under the New Covenant as the Old.
God does not change; He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
In this New Covenant account, Ananais and Sapphira, following the example of Barnabas, sold a parcel of land in order to present the proceeds at the apostles’ feet.
Ananais, with the full knowledge of his wife, conspired to withhold a portion, while pretending they were offering the full amount.
When Ananais presented his offering, he died on the spot. Later, his wife arrived, unaware of what happened. When asked about the price of the land that was sold, Sapphira lied and, therefore, died immediately as well.
When the church saw their dead bodies, a sign of God’s judgment, “great fear seized the church.” (Acts 5:11)
Each of us are accountable to God. Even submission in marriage does not mean a wife must follow her husband into sin. If our spouse sins, we have a duty to correct them and not go along with their wrongdoing.
Falsehood is of the devil, the father of lies. Peter even stated that Satan had filled their hearts to lie to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) (Acts 5:3). Therefore, we must beware of all lies, deception, and manipulation. But more than that, we must be aware that “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9)
People have an endless capacity to lie to themselves and to be in denial about what is really in their hearts. The worst part is that all too often we believe the lies we tell ourselves, and we end up acting on core beliefs that are not in line with the Word of God.
Ananais and Sapphira were not obligated to give anything. But they did make a commitment, perhaps to curry favor with their fellow Believers.
Maybe they told themselves that God only helps those who help themselves. Maybe they thought God wouldn’t mind their keeping a little something for a rainy day, even though they were making it look like they were giving everything.
We must ask ourselves if we give all that is due to God or are we withholding a portion for ourselves like Ananais and Sapphira?
And while each of us are appointed for service in some kind of way, perhaps we are counting ourselves equal with the leadership that God has placed over us or are thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought like Korach and the 250 Israelite leaders.
Let’s examine ourselves and get our lives right before God, by His grace, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. On that day healing and freedom will be poured out with great joy on those who revere His name!
“Surely the day is coming, it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evil doer will be stubble and that day that is coming will set them on fire, says the Lord Almighty… But for you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.” (Malachi 4:1–2)
What an awesome and wonderful hope to those who revere God’s name; but also what a dire warning to those who choose to rebel against God Almighty. While God sets before us life and death, blessing and curses, He is not trying to trick us. He wants us to choose the path of life, no matter how steep or narrow the way. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
It is comforting to know that even if we do sin or fall into rebellion, if we repent, we have an advocate who is on our side, One who is standing at the right hand of the Father, ever interceding on our behalf. This is Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah). Halleluyah!
“Who is the one who condemns? Messiah Yeshua is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:34)