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Crisis Averted–God’s Will for Paul is Evident

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In medicine, there is a condition known as “metastatic cancer” or “generalized carcinomatosis.” This is the term physicians use when a tumor has spread beyond its point of origin and all over the body. The patient is considered not suited for surgery. And … More

Crisis

The island of Malta is located 60 miles south of Sicily. The ship, together with the 276 men aboard, floundered and broke up on a reef off the island of Malta, some 500 miles south of Rome. The vessel was a total loss but the entire 276 men were saved by the hand of God. An angel had appeared to Paul in the midst of the storm with a message of promise, “Do not be afraid Paul; you must stand before Caesar, and behold God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.” (27:23-24). After all 276 of this ship-wrecked crew had made their way to land, the inhabitants of the island showed great kindness to them (vv 1-2).

As Paul was throwing wood on the fire a poisonous snake fastened itself onto his hand (v. 3). When the islanders saw what had happened they were horrified (v. 4). They thought Paul must be a criminal, and that this was a judgment brought upon him. They fully expected he would become ill or even die. When he shook the snake off and no ill came to him they changed their minds and thought that he must be a god (vv. 5-6). It is interesting to note that when the people discovered that no harm had come to Paul, they went from one extreme to another. Instead of a criminal caught by justice, they now thought Paul to be a god on whom snakes had no effect.

God had promised safe passage of Paul to Rome, and He would let nothing stop His servant. The poisonous viper that bit Paul was unable to harm him. Our lives are in God’s hands, to continue on or to come to an end in His good timing. God still had work for Paul to do in this life, and as long as He keeps us here He has work for us to do too.

Application

Can I think of someone who has recently suffered a shipwreck of life? What could I do to reach out and help this person? Perhaps it is someone who has had a fire and lost everything and I could provide them with some clothing. Maybe it is someone who is out of work and I could provide some food for them.

Acts 28:1-6 (English Standard Version)

After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

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