Crisis Averted–God’s Will for Paul is Evident

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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)


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