BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“But a man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira sold some land. He kept back part of the money for himself; his wife knew about this and agreed to it. But he brought the rest of the money and gave it to the apostles” (Acts 5:1-2 New Century Version).
The Bible talks about a number of couples, and there are different things to learn from them. If you’re married, you and your spouse, what type of couple are you? If you intend to marry or you’re in the process of getting married, what kind of couple will you and your spouse be?
Whereas some couples are known for positive things in the Bible, some are known for negative things. You and your spouse can decide the example you want to follow; you can choose the values you want to emulate.
Ananias and Sapphira
There is a couple known as Ananias and Sapphira in the New Testament; they are known for lying to the Holy Spirit. When the early church started, multitude believed and the needs at that time were met by believers who voluntarily sold their lands or houses and brought the proceeds to the apostle. The apostles distributed the money to each according to everyone’s need (Acts 4:32-35).
Joses, also named Barnabas by the apostles, which means Son of Encouragement, a Levite of the country of Cyprus, was one of those who sold their properties and gave the money to the apostles. But Ananias and Sapphira, a cunning couple, acted deceitfully, giving the impression that the money they gave to the apostles was the total price of their land they had sold. Acts 5:1-2 says, “But a man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira sold some land. He kept back part of the money for himself; his wife knew about this and agreed to it. But he brought the rest of the money and gave it to the apostles” (New Century Version).
How did Peter, the leader of the apostles, react to this? “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God’” (verses 3-6 New King James Version).
When Ananias heard what Peter said, she fell down and died. Consequently, great fear came upon all those who heard these things. The young men carried his corpse for burial. Three hours later, the wife, unaware of the death of her husband, came in and when Peter asked her if the money the husband gave the apostles was the entire price of the land sold, she answered in the affirmative.
“Then Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out’” (verse 9 New King James Version). Instantly, she died and the young men carried her for burial beside her husband. And again, the Bible says great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard what happened.
In your home, church or society, what type of husband and wife are you or will you be when you get married? A lying, deceitful couple, or a couple that is honest and straight forward? Ananias and Sapphira didn’t have to give part of the money from the sale of their land pretending to have given all. They could have given what they could voluntarily give and say so rather than pretend. The worst thing that could have happened was for the apostles to reject the money!
Don’t connive with your spouse to lie or do evil at home, in your community, in church or anywhere. Be a good example of a Christian and a good citizen of your country. “Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens” (Daniel Webster).
Adam and Eve; Abraham and Sarah; Ahab and Jezebel; Jehoram and Athaliah
Do you or will you always influence your spouse to do what is right or wrong? Adam and Eve were the first couple on earth. But Eve disobeyed God and gave the forbidden fruit to her husband to eat also (Genesis 3:6; 1 Timothy 2:14). That was the fall of man. God judged the first couple and ejected them from the Garden of Eden.
Sarah was a good woman, but she influenced her husband, Abraham, to go into polygamy, because of her childlessness. She gave Hagar, her Egyptian maid, to her husband to be his wife (Genesis16:1-4).The world is still in trouble today because of their error (Genesis 16:11-12).
King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, are another couple motioned in the Bible. The Bible says no one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the LORD’s sight as did Ahab, for his wife, Jezebel, influenced him (1 Kings 21:25). Jezebel was a wicked and bloodthirsty woman. She was idolatrous and corrupted not only her husband but the nation of Israel.
Jehoram, king of Judah, and the son of Jehoshaphat married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab. Bible scholars believed that Jezebel was her mother. And like mother, like daughter, she was a bad influence on her husband.
2 Chronicles 21:5-6 says, “Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for he had the daughter of Ahab as a wife; and he did evil in the sight of the LORD” (New King James Version). Did you see that? Though he was the king of Judah, he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, who were mostly evil kings – they did what was evil in the eyes of God. A wrong marriage to Athaliah was the cause of his failure. Be guided by the Holy Spirit in your marriage choice. Don’t make your choice on physical considerations.
Elkanah and Hannah
Elkanah loved Hannah despite the fact that she was barren before God eventually answered her prayer. She didn’t neglect her or join her rival, Peninnah, who had children, to mock her. She was sensitive to her feeling and tried to encourage her (1 Samuel 1:5, 8).
Even after Hannah had a baby, Samuel, and Hannah said she would not go with the family to Shiloh until she weaned him, Elkanah understood with her. “Whatever you think is best,’ Elkanah agreed. ‘Stay here for now, and may the LORD help you keep your promise’” (1 Samuel 1:23 New Living Translation). Elkannah and Hannah were a good couple.
Zechariah and Elizabeth
Zechariah and Elizabeth are a good couple to emulate. Luke 1:6 says, “Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations” (New Living Translation). Though they had no child, Zechariah continued to serve God. One day, God changed their story; He gave them a child, John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Jesus Christ (verses 8-24).
According to Luke 1:5, Zechariah belonged to the priestly order of Abijah and the lot fell on him to burn incense on the day the LORD changed his story. Only one person was usually chosen by lot each day to burn incense and Zechariah was chosen that day out of all the priests in Israel. They were about 20,000 at that time, as stated in the explanatory notes in the New Living Translation.
According to the New King James Version Commentary, “Offering incense was something a priest could do only once in his career. It was a great moment for Zachariahs.” Zachariah was on duty for one week, two times in a year, at the Temple of the LORD. But suppose Zechariah didn’t make himself available that day for the service like some couples do, missing church services!
What about Elizabeth? Suppose Elizabeth was busy fighting Zechariah at home that day, because she was on edge as a result of her not having a child and locked the door, preventing the husband from going to serve in the Temple! That is what some women do. Would they not have missed divine visitation if Elizabeth fighting Zachariah had kept him away from service that day?
Avoid nagging, quarreling or emotional abuse
Are you a nagging or quarrelsome woman? Proverbs 27:15-16 says, “A nagging wife is as annoying as the constant dripping on a rainy day. Trying to stop her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or hold something with greased hands” (New Living Translation). No husband enjoys a nagging wife, and vice versa. There’ll be no peace in such a marriage.
According to Proverbs 21:9, “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (New King James Version). Proverbs 25:24 says the same thing. Hear Proverbs 26:21: “As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife” (New King James Version). In other words, “a quarrelsome person keeps an argument going.”
Couples should avoid nagging, quarreling or emotional abuse – it doesn’t solve any problem. Disagreement is inevitable between husband and wife, but you should be careful not to encourage incessant quarrels, which Satan could use to destroy your marriage. Satan can influence couples to argue and quarrel over inconsequential things; they make a mountain out of a molehill and little issue degenerate into serious issues with couples flexing their muscles.
If a spouse is raging with anger, the other should avoid adding fuel to a raging fire so that the conflict does not degenerate into physical assault. Arguments, insults, nagging, spouse abuse, including physical and emotional harm, should be avoided. They open the door to the devil to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
You and your spouse should pursue peace in your home (Hebrews 12:14).The husband should live with his wife according to knowledge. He should love his wife; the wife should submit to her husband and honour him. Love and submission will defeat incessant quarrels and spouse abuse (Ephesians 5:22-28; 1 Peter 3:1-7; Proverbs 10:12). Proper and effective communication is crucial to a healthy marriage. Disagreement should be settled amicably.
David and Michal
What kind of couple are you and your spouse or will you both be? Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David and they got married before he escaped to avoid being killed by Saul (1 Samuel 18:20-28, 19:11-18). But after David became king and separated her from the husband she had married in David’s absence, she had contempt for David (2 Samuel 6:20-23). It appears there was no more love between them.
On a day David was coming home to bless his family after he had successfully brought the ark of God into Jerusalem, devoid of any casualty like the first attempt, Michal activated a curse rather than a blessing. If she had been ridiculing David before, her cup was filled to the brim that day. She said some things to disparage David, who was actually worshipping God, and after David replied her, the Bible says she remained childless throughout her entire life (2 Samuel 6:2-23).
What kind of couple are you and your spouse? Do you despise or disparage your spouse like Michal? If you’re hoping or planning to get married, what kind of couple will you and your spouse be? Don’t emulate ungodly examples of a wife or husband. Build your marriage or home of the Word of God. Imbibe Kingdom values. Be a good example of a Christian couple others can emulate.
There is another couple in the Old Testament you should learn from. Whereas the wife is a good example to learn from, the husband is bad example to also learn from! How the two of them got married, we don’t know. It is unfortunate that some good men or women marry the wrong persons for different reasons.
Nabal and Abigail
Nabal and Abigail are a case study on how to be careful in making a choice in marriage. Nabal was a wealthy man, but it was unlikely that Abigail enjoyed the marriage. Money is not everything! I’m not saying Abigail married her because of his wealth.
1 Samuel 25:2-3 tells us about this couple: “Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb” (New King James Version).
Did you see the contrast between the couple? The husband is described as very rich, harsh and evil in his doing. Also, David described him as a man who lived in prosperity (verse 6). Later, one of his servants described him as a scoundrel or son of Belial (verse 17).
Even his wife described him as a scoundrel and a fool (verse 25). Nabal was also a drunkard (verse 36). In fact, he died of heart attack after drinking heavily the previous day! Apart from being wealthy, every other description of Nabal in the Bible is negative. This is unfortunate because Nabal had a great heritage – he was a descendant of Caleb, a man of faith, a man in who had another spirit, the Spirit of God (Numbers 14:24).
But how does the Bible describe Abigail? She was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance (1 Samuel 25:3). David described her as a woman of good sense. But for her intervention and intercession after David’s men had reported to him Nabal’s insults in return for their request for provisions, tragedy would have befallen Nabal’s family.
Nabal repaid with evil the good David and his men had done, protecting Nabal’s men and animals, not allowing any harm to touch them. But Abigail didn’t behave like her husband. She quickly moved in, interceded with David not to shed innocent blood by reacting to the folly of her husband.
Unfortunately, some wives are not like Abigail; they’re just like their Nabal-husband. Like husband, like wife! David told Abigail, “Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murdering the man and carrying out vengeance with my own hands” (1 Samuel 25:33 New Living Translation).
What was the end of Nabal? “When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal had thrown a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn’t tell him anything about her meeting with David until the next morning. The next morning when he was sober, she told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke, and he lay on his bed paralyzed. About ten days later, the LORD struck him and he died” (1 Samuel 25:36-38 New Living Translation). David sent for Abigail and married her. David must have been attracted to her more by her good sense or understanding (brain) than her beauty. She was a combination of brain and beauty!
Joseph and Mary; Isaac and Rebekah; Pilate and his wife
What kind of couple are you and your spouse? Joseph and Mary were a good couple. Mary was a virgin; Joseph was righteous (Luke 1:26-27; Matthew11:19). They were an obedient couple. They did all God asked them to do, as shown in Luke 1:38; 2:18-19; Matthew 1:20-25; 2:13-14; 19-23.
Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, worked at cross purpose with her husband. She taught her son, Jacob, how to deceive the father to receive the blessing meant for Esau. Yes, Jacob successfully deceived his father and got the blessing, but there was no peace in that family. He had to flee from his brother (Genesis 27).
Pilate and his wife are another couple mentioned in the Bible. She wanted her husband to do the right thing during the trial of Jesus before him. Matthew 27:19 says, “While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, ‘Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him” (New King James Version).
Unfortunately, Pilate didn’t do what his wife advised him to do. When Pilate saw that he could not prevail to get Jesus released instead of Barabbas, but a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude. He said, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it” (Matthew 27:24 New King James Version). By handing over an innocent man to be crucified and setting free a criminal, Barabbas, Pilate showed he lacked character; he was not principled.
What kind of couple are you? Do you listen to your spouse? The wife or the husband is not always right or wrong. If you know what your spouse is telling you is right, don’t insist on doing what is wrong because of ego or other considerations.
Aquila and Priscilla
Aquila and Priscilla are a good example of a Christian couple. Aquila, born in Pontus, was a Jewish Christian but moved with his wife to Corinth. Aquila was into tent making and he and his wife were Paul’s associates in the ministry (Acts 18:2, 24-26; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Romans 16:3). They even explained the way of God more accurately to Apollos, an eloquent man, who was mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:26).
What kind of couple are you and your spouse? Aquila and Priscilla served the LORD. In fact, they are usually mentioned together in the Bible. Do you and your spouse serve the LORD. It’s good for husband and the wife to serve the LORD together, but if one doesn’t, the other should. Serve the LORD with your spouse; serve the LORD with your family.
Conclusion: What kind of couple are you and your spouse? Be a good example of a Christian couple others can emulate. Don’t use your spouse a the reason you are not doing what God has commanded you to do or for doing what is sinful Remember that each of us shall give account of himself or herself to God (Romans 14:12). It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
If you’re not born again, kindly take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, soul-winning church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May the LORD make you a Cedar Christian. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. May the LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947