Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Acts 27:9-26

Today's reading has an ironic twist but a very strong message.

First, let's discuss the ironic twist that I noticed. In verse 10 Paul warns his shipmates that if they sail now they will experience "great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also." However in verse 24, at the zenith of the storm, an angel tells Paul, "You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you." Obviously both of Paul's comments cannot be true. So what gives?

My thought is that we are not to take Paul's comments in verse 10 as a prophecy but merely his normal habit of giving advice whenever and wherever he thought people could use it. His advice in this case is that they should not sail this time of the year as large, powerful storms were common and the consequence could be severe. In verse 24, my thinking is that Paul prayed to God to save the lives of his shipmates and in response to these prayers God sent the angel to tell Paul that they would be spared. Thus, actually, these two verses are not counter to each other they are merely used to explain the events as they unfolded.

Now what about the strong message I eluded to at the beginning? This message, I hope, is made more obvious by the paragraphs I wrote above. The message is, in the face of danger, when all hope is lost, trust in the promises of God. No matter the circumstances, always remember God is in control. God can turn disaster into deliverance and hopelessness into hope if we have enough faith in Him.

Wishing you the best in your walk with Christ,
Richard Leach

No comments: