Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

Safe Through Obedience

Acts 27:39-44
When daylight came, they did not recognise the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. But the ship struck a sand-bar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf. The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul's life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely. (NIVUK)

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.

Powerful Lord. Thank You for bringing Your saving answer to the world's need through the death of Jesus Christ. I am sorry for the times when I have preferred to panic than trust, not allowing Your Word to shape the way in which I make decisions. Please help me to come safely through the present crisis and that You will also save those for whom I have responsibility. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams