I know, these are obscure names in Scripture and you may not recall the circumstances that surround them. These are the people that intrigue me tremendously. Odd since they’re certainly not of the caliber of King David, the Apostle Paul, or even Jonah, yet their stories impact my life and cause me to pause.
Rhoda is only mentioned in Scripture in these four verses. Living in Jerusalem, Peter had been imprisoned as many Christians were. It was a time of serious persecution. As he sat in prison, Peter’s church family gathered to pray at a home. They praying for his safety, but also for his release. Sure enough, the Lord sent an angel to wake him, his chains fell off, and he walked right out. He went to the home where his friends were praying and this is where Rhoda comes in. Peter knocked on the door of the home and Rhoda answered. Surprised and excited, she shut the door in Peter’s face and went to tell the others. They didn’t believe her. Maybe she should have invited him in – that would have been pretty convincing. Nevertheless, Peter continued to knock and eventually they did answer the door, invite him in, and then proceeded to praise the Lord for answered prayer.
Rhoda was simply a bit scatterbrained that day, but Ananias and Saphira were different. These ten verses are the only thing we know about them. As the church was growing, many of the members brought offerings and gifts to the church, basically pooling their resources to further the kingdom. There was no requirement to give most of your belongings or even give sacrificially, yet many did. Ananias and Saphira brought their offering as well. They came separately, Ananias coming first. They had sold some property and he was asked about what part of the profit he had brought. Wanting to look awesome, Ananias lied and said they had brought much more than was true. They had kept part for themselves. It was not a sin to keep a part, but it was a sin to lie. The Lord struck him dead immediately.
Men proceeded to drag him out. Not long after his wife, Saphira, showed up. Having no knowledge of what had happened with her husband and having made an agreement with him to stick to their story, she was asked the same question and gave the same answer. God struck her down as well. Deceitful is what they were.
Then there was Korah. He lived during the time of Moses, you know, God’s chosen leader of his people as they came through the wilderness. Korah decided that Moses was getting a bit to0 much authority and decided to set things straight. He rounded up 250 of his closest friends and went to confront Moses. The Lord was not pleased. Sure enough, the ground opened up beneath Korah and his buddies and they were gone.
You may ask why I tell you these stories. The truth is some lessons here are important. From opening the door for Peter to telling the truth, they give us short snippets and impactful stories that are no doubt important but they impact me in another way as well.
God tells us that Scripture is complete and in moments like this I say, “Thank goodness.” Looking at these three we could surely criticize their choices and undoubtedly be right in this instance, but we also don’t get the whole story.
Rhoda was supposedly quite young in this story of her. She was hanging with the right crowd and could very well have made a huge impact in sharing the Gospel and/or becoming a prayer warrior. This event surely made a difference in her prayer life! It had to!
Ananias and Saphira had lived lives before this day. They quite possibly had children and had brought offerings to the Lord on other occasions. They could have taught in their home, told people on the street, gave to others in the span of their lives. They just chose wrong this day.
Korah had been walking through the wilderness with everyone else. I’m sure he had moments of disobedience, just thinking about Mt. Sanai and all the Israelites with their golden calf, but he surely had good moments too. Moments when he played with his children, encouraged his neighbor, or loved his wife. We don’t know anything about those moments. We simply know this one.
I learn a few things from these stories:
- First, we should probably never judge someone because of one moment in their lives. We all have a story, of good days and bad, but one moment, one choice does not share the whole picture of any of us.
- On the other hand, one moment could be our chance to make a difference in someone else by our actions. I don’t want to miss out because I chose wrong. I will have moments that are not stellar and downright disobedient to the Lord, but I pray I have many more than are right and good.
- Scripture is full of examples, both good and bad, we need to read them and learn from the stories of others.
This is where I say, “THANK GOODNESS.”
Why? Because the Lord has assured us that Scripture is full and complete where it is. There is no adding to or taking from it. This is good news for all of us. With Scripture being complete, there will be no story of Kori in it. What a relief. Knowing me, they would choose that one moment when I made a not-so-stellar choice and it would be recorded for folks to learn from for thousands of years. I’m super glad that’s not the case.
So as you read Scripture, I would encourage you to notice the seemingly insignificant stories and see what we might glean from the one small snippet into their lives. Then we should be reminded that others may see just a snippet of ours, and hopefully see Jesus in the midst.