Safe Through Obedience
This was the end of an agonisingly long journey. About three weeks had elapsed since they left Fair Havens in Crete. Lured out of that harbour by a fair southerly wind they soon got caught in the violent north easterly winter wind which drove the ship uncontrollably westwards. After Paul's briefing, passengers and prisoners, sailors and soldiers were all ready to get ashore. Daylight revealed an island with a sandy beach where they decided to run the ship aground.
The four stern anchors, which had held the ship back from grounding during the night, were cut loose and a little sail provided enough power to drive the ship onto a sandbank. The bow was stuck fast, but the pressure of the waves pounding the stern caused the back of the boat to break up. Interestingly the solid bow section would probably have provided some shelter for the sailors from the surf, once they were in the water.
The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners, including Paul, to stop them swimming away from their captors (and preventing any military court accusing them of having been negligent by allowing them to escape). But the Centurion, prevented any executions, and then gave the order to abandon ship. Swimming or clutching pieces of the ship, everybody made it safely onto dry land. Paul's vision was proved right (Acts 27:13-26). It was a miracle, by any seafaring standard, for nobody to perish in such a shipwreck.
Sometimes a moment comes which has been long dreaded. But with the assurance that the Lord is in command, we can stay safe. Looking back on this remarkable chapter, the wrong decisions were taken on the basis of pride, arrogance, commercial interest and official scheduling. The right decisions were taken on the basis of the Lord's revealed plan, obedience and discipline. Whether your crisis is through fault or not, believers should make godly decisions. How? By reading and trusting God's Word and then obeying. Let the Lord bring you to safety along with those for whom you have responsibility.
© Dr Paul Adams