Saturday, 20 April 2013

Theme Number 59 The Storm and the Shipwreck (cont.)

"The situation of the ship on the fifteenth morning," painted by H. Smartly, engraved by H. Adlard. From James Smith, The Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul (1880 edition), page 140.

Act 27:20  Then, when for several days neither sun nor stars were seen and the terrific gale still harassed us, the last ray of hope was now vanishing.
Act 27:21  When for a long time they had taken but little food, Paul, standing up among them, said, "Sirs, you ought to have listened to me and not have sailed from Crete. You would then have escaped this suffering and loss.
Act 27:22  But now take courage, for there will be no destruction of life among you, but of the ship only.
Act 27:23  For there stood by my side, last night, an angel of the God to whom I belong, and whom also I worship,
Act 27:24  and he said, "'Dismiss all fear, Paul, for you must stand before Caesar; and God has granted you the lives of all who are sailing with you.'
Act 27:25  "Therefore, Sirs, take courage; for I believe God, and am convinced that things will happen exactly as I have been told.WNT

Saying, fear not, Paul,.... For though the apostle knew and believed he should go to Rome, and appear before Caesar, to whom he had appealed, and where he should bear a testimony for Christ; and though he had previous notice of this storm, and of the loss and damage which should be sustained, and which he expected; yet the flesh was weak, and he might be under some fears and misgivings of heart, for these sometimes attend the best of men. J.Gill

Thou must be brought before Caesar; as has been declared, and therefore cannot be lost in this storm; it is the will and decree of God, which cannot be frustrated, it must be:

and lo, God has given thee all them that sail with thee; that is, God had determined to save the whole ship's company for his sake, and in answer to his prayers, which he had been putting up for them; the Lord had heard him, and granted his request, and would save them all on his account: so sometimes God saves a nation, a city, a body of men, even of ungodly men, for the sake of a few that fear his name, who are among them.J.Gill

Act 27:26  But we are to be stranded on a certain island."
Act 27:27  It was now the fourteenth night, and we were drifting through the Sea of Adria, when, about midnight, the sailors suspected that land was close at hand.
Act 27:28  So they hove the lead and found twenty fathoms of water; and after a short time they hove again and found fifteen fathoms. (And sounding they found it twenty fathoms; and moving a little further, and sounding again, they found it fifteen fathoms.MKJV)
Act 27:29  Then for fear of possibly running on rocks, they threw out four anchors from the stern and waited impatiently for daylight. WNT

Two full weeks had passed, and the storm showed no sign of weakening. No one had seen the sun, the moon, or the stars for many days (verse 20). Since ancient sailors navigated by the heavens, this meant they had no idea where they were. The ship was being driven about at the mercy of the wind. All hope of survival was gone. When all human hope is gone, the stage has been set for our omnipotent God to intervene.
Have you ever noticed how often God brings men to this point before He intervenes? God promised an elderly couple they would have a son, and then waited 25 years to make certain that this would be a miracle. But that child – Isaac – was born, just as God said (Genesis 12-21). God put Israel between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, so that there appeared to be no way out. Only then did God part the sea, so that the Israelites passed through on dry ground (Exodus 13:17—14:31). God instructed Gideon to reduce his warriors from 32,000 to 300 men, and then ordered him to wage war on the Midianites, who were as numerous as “the sand on the seashore” (Judges 7:12). Needless to say, God gave Gideon the victory. King Hezekiah and the city of Jerusalem were surrounded by the Assyrian army. They were hopelessly outnumbered, but the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 in one night, and thus the army withdrew and went home (Isaiah 36-37). God loves impossible situations, because when He does the impossible, no man can lay claim to any part of the glory that belongs only to Him.

Act 27:34  Therefore I beg you to take some food, for this is for your deliverance. For not a hair of your head shall perish.
Act 27:35  And saying these things, and taking bread, he gave thanks to God before all, and breaking, he began to eat.
Act 27:36  And all becoming cheered, they also took food.
Act 27:37  And we were, all the souls in the ship, two hundred and seventy-six.
Act 27:38  And being filled with food, they lightened the ship, throwing the wheat into the sea.
Act 27:39  And when day came, they did not recognize the land. But they discovered a certain bay with a beach, into which they were minded, if they were able, to drive the ship.
Act 27:40  And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea; at the same time they loosened the rudder bands and hoisted up the foresail to the wind and held to the shore.
Act 27:41  And coming on a place between two seas, they drove the vessel. And indeed the prow sticking fast, it remained unmovable. But the stern was broken with the violence of the waves.
Act 27:42  And the mind of the soldiers was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out and escape.
Act 27:43  But the centurion, desiring to save Paul, kept them from their purpose and commanded those who could swim, to throw themselves overboard, to go out on the land.
Act 27:44  And the rest went, some on boards and others on some of the things from the ship. And so it happened that all were saved on the land.

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