In Chains but in Charge!
Scripture reading for July 10th: Acts 27:25-44
Caught in an unrelenting winter storm, the centurion and his prisoners heard from Paul that the ship would be lost but all lives would be safe. The storm went on for fourteen nights and about midnight the sailors felt that they were approaching land. Some of the sailors attempted to escape from the ship by the lifeboat, but Paul warned the centurion that unless all the men stayed with the ship they would not be saved. (Acts 27:31-32) They were encouraged by Paul to take some food and promised that not a hair on the head would perish! They all ate and then threw the rest of the grain overboard to lighten the ship as much as possible for running aground.
God’s favor was on the group. The soldiers had planned on killing all the prisoners to prevent any of them from escaping but the centurion wanted to spare Paul so he stopped them. Everyone of the 276 people on board made it to shore safely but the ship was broken up by the pounding surf! (Acts 27:37, 42-44)
In looking at this shipwreck, it is amazing to see how the hand of God guided Paul. Although he was a prisoner, he ended up commanding the ship, crew, and centurion and advising them what to do. God gave him favor with the centurion and elevated his advice in the eyes of those present to accomplish the will of God. (Psalm 5:11-12) All Paul had to do was obey and keep calm in the midst of the storm. He knew the final outcome would be safety for them all and that his mission of preaching in Rome would be accomplished. It wasn’t by his own power or ability, but by the power of God!
A godly man or woman in a crisis can lead from any position of authority through humility and obedience to the Lord. Paul’s calmness encouraged everyone. This shipwreck was being used to draw the sailors and prisoners to think about their own lives and their dependency on God. Paul had a great opportunity to witness to 275 people on board in a captive audience! God’s ways are amazing and His use of time and circumstances defies our reason! We can only follow the Spirit in amazement!