September 27, 2021
This week’s reading was Acts 22 through 28. During this time Paul continued to share Christ with the Jews and Gentiles. The Jewish leaders did not like him sharing with the Gentiles so they falsely accused Paul and put him in prison. Paul appealed his case to Caesar, so he had to be taken to Rome.
We talked last week that there would always be trials. Acts 27 showed a huge storm that Paul and 275 others were in. This storm was not a rain drizzle or even a down pour. This was a hurricane. According to 27:14, “Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called a Northeaster, swept down from the island.”
Are you having storms in your life? Are they a drizzle, down pour, or hurricane? Sometimes we wonder how we will get through the storm no matter the size. We can learn from Paul in Acts 27 about what to do when we are in the midst of storm, and we can learn from the others about what not to do.
Before we talk about what Paul did right during the storm, we should look at what the captain and crew did wrong.
- They did not heed good advice. Paul was an experienced sailor. When the boat was docked at a place called Fair Havens, Paul could tell the weather was not going to be safe for sailing. He knew this time of year was dangerous to be on the ocean. In verse 10 Paul said, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” In verse 12 we learn that his advice was not taken, and they set sail. Had they listened to Paul, they would have missed the storm completely. It is easy to listen to the wrong people. We need to ensure we listen to good advice.
- They were driven along. Once the storm had arrived, the ship was caught by the storm and verse 15 says, “so we gave way to it and were driven along.” During this era, there were no compasses to help with navigation. The captain and crew were dependent on the moon and stars for directions. During the storm the clouds covered the moon and stars, so the captain had no idea where they were going. This is why they gave way to the storm and were driven along. This can happen in life as well. Sometimes when we face a storm, we cannot see anything else. We feel in the dark and cannot see any direction out. We are driven by the storm, and can lose focus on anything else.
- They gave up hope. Verse 20 states, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being save.” I can understand how these men felt. When the storms of life keep beating us down, it is easy to be discouraged. Make sure you surround yourself with people like Paul who will be truthful yet encouraging.
- They waited to start praying. We learn that on the 14th night the boat was being driven across the Adriatic Sea. They were getting closer to shore and verse 29 says, “Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight.” This is the first mention of prayer since the storm started. Remember to pray first, and not after all hope is gone.
What did Paul do right?
- He encouraged the men. In verse 21 and 22 Paul says, “keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.” Paul was giving the men hope after an angel appeared to him.
- He committed his life to Christ. Verse 23 says, “Last night an angel of God to whom I belong…” Paul is a Christian and lets the men know that he belongs to God. Because of his belief, he has hope. Do you belong to God? Have you given your life to God? This is an important step in being able to have hope during life’s storms. Please let me know if you want any more information about this.
- He serves God. Verse 23 continues, “to whom I belong and serve…” Paul not only belongs to God but serves God.
- He has faith and trust in God. Paul lets the men know what the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you. So keep up courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” Paul had faith in God. God already told him he would be going to Rome in Acts 23:11, “he following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” He continued with his faith in God. Have you heard from God? Do you believe what He says in his Word? Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
- God was with Paul. In verse 23 Paul stated that an angel of God stood beside him. The angel said to Paul that he should not be afraid. That tells me that even Paul of the Bible was afraid in the storm. He was calmed by the angel and the promise of God. Whether you have an angel of God sent from heaven, or you have the Holy Spirit, you are never alone. John 14:26 says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.“
- He cared about other people. Verse 33-34 says, “Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. For the last fourteen days, he said, you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head. After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.” Even though Paul was a prisoner, he cared for the others, and ensured they all ate. He did not just think about himself.
Question” Are you in the midst of a storm? No matter if it is a small mist or a hurricane, take heart. Learn from this story. Pray when the storm hits, not when you have lost hope. Make sure that if you take advice from someone, it is Godly wisdom. Surround yourself with people who will encourage and not discourage. Do not be self-focused, but care for others. Believe in the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul. Belong, serve, have faith and trust in God. He is with you in good times and in the storms.
Next week we will read Genesis 1-9