The Way - Day 131 (Acts 27)

Daily Reading:
Acts 27
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
What are the biggest obstacles you face to acting as a source of hope in the lives of other people? What is one step you might take this week to trust God to help you overcome these obstacles?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 51:10-11
OPTION 2: Proverbs 18:21
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:7-8
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Acts 27 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Acts 27
Paul was turned over to Julius (a centurion of the Augustan Regiment) as a prisoner and was joined by his close friend Luke, who is also the writer of Acts (27:1). Paul had done his best to defend himself against the unjust accusations of the Jews, but he had failed at each attempt and now found himself held captive. Although the Pharisees (23:9), the Jerusalem commander Lysias (23:29), the governor Festus (25:25), and King Agrippa (26:32) had all declared Paul's innocence, he was now a prisoner headed to Rome.

As their journey by ship began, they encountered very rough seas (27:2-8) until finally landing in a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea (27:8). It seems that the sailors were not happy to spend much time in Fair Havens so they contemplated setting sail again, although the seas were almost impassable (27:12). Paul spoke up and warned about sailing on dangerous seas saying, "Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only the cargo and ship, but also our lives" (27:10). Contrary to Paul's advice, Julius decided to venture into the sea sailing close by Crete (27:13); however, a strong wind caught the ship and took it into the sea (27:14-15). The storm became so dangerous that the crew had to pull the lifeboat aboard (27:16-17) and throw all excess supplies overboard (27:18). Luke writes that after being caught in the storm for many days, they lost "all hope that we would be saved..." (27:20).

After finding themselves in a hopeless position, Paul says "You should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship" (27:21). How could Paul say this? During the night, an angel of God spoke to him saying, "Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you" (27:23-24). This had to be an unexpected blessing to all those on board this ship.

After fourteen nights of being stuck in the storm being tossed back and forth, the sailors sensed that they were coming close to land so they were about to drop the lifeboat in the water (27:25-30; however, Paul warned that "unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved" so the men cut the ropes holding the lifeboat (27:31-32). This action was an evidence of faith in the God of Paul and now meant that they would have to stay on the boat no matter the outcome. As the day dawned, Paul encouraged the men to eat because they had not eaten in two weeks due to seasickness and possibly the difficulty in preparing food on a dangerous sea (27:33-34). Paul then took bread in the midst of all the men on board and gave thanks to God for His provision and protection (27:35-36). After they had eaten, they threw more supplies off of the ship as well as their food supplies (27:38).

When it was finally day, they did not recognize the land nearby but decided to try to run the ship aground (27:39). They nearly succeeded by wedging the ship in a place where the two seas met but the soldiers aboard had conspired to kill all the prisoners lest any of them would escape (27:40-42). Julius desired to save Paul so he "kept them from their purpose, and commanded those who could swim should jump overboard first and swim to land, and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship" (27:43-44a). Because of this decision by the centurion, everyone on board escaped safely to land (27:44b).

As we read the harrowing events which happened at sea, we are truly able to see God at work in protecting Paul and all those around him. Even those who were pagan benefited from Paul's presence on the ship and were granted mercy. Paul's faith and testimony should be a challenge for us to trust God even when the circumstances seem bleak because our faith can be a light to those who are in darkness.

Dear God, help me to trust You in the difficult times so that others may see Your faithfulness to those who belong to You.