Protection in a Stormy Voyage
Book of Acts Chapter 27
We seem to forget that when God gives us something to do, that He will keep us safe until we have accomplished what He gave us to do. This does not mean we will not suffer.
The Lord had told Paul in a vision that he would testify in Rome and nothing in this world could stop this from happening, as long as Paul put forth the effort to do so. Paul would never quit on God even though it nearly costs him his life many times.
What had God told Paul? That he would be a witness for the Gospel in Rome.
Act 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
It is at this point that Paul should have realized that he was going to Rome under the providence of God, and nothing in this world could stop this from happening.
When Paul appealed his case to Caesar, Festus had no legal choice, but to send Paul to Rome because this was Paul’s right as a Roman citizen.
We sometimes make good plans for the things in our lives, but our plans will always be what the Lord has planned for our lives, and we will always be better for it.
We sometimes seem to forget the power of God.
I believe this is why this story is in the Bible.
Jehovah God controls all aspects of what happens to us as we live upon this earth.
We read of a great storm in the Mediterranean Sea and just how powerless we are as humans to endure such things in nature.
Now we already know that God does not cause the terrible things that happen in this world, but He does not always stop them from happening when He certainly has the power to do so.
Paul would make a safe journey to Rome though it would be a rough journey.
Paul was traveling with hardened soldiers and men of the sea, who did not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Maybe God allowed all these things to happen just so some of them would recognize that there is a God and He was the God of the Apostle Paul and some of them would be saved.
Unlike Jonah who was running away from God, Paul was running to God, but both were under the control of the providence of God.
God will have His way with us!
God will also test us in many ways!
As Christians we must trust that God will do as He says He will do.
We must know that God does not ever make a mistake. (Not Ever)
God does care for us.
1Pe_5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
So far, Paul’s keepers had made the right decisions on this trip to Rome.
Those captains of those ships had also used their knowledge of the Seas to do the right things.
Where they would fail is when the man of God, Paul, gave good advice and they ignored the Word of God, but God still did not allow even one man to lose his life.
There were certain times of the year when the Mediterranean Sea was more dangerous than at other times.
This proved to be true, as Paul sailed toward Rome as a prisoner but still a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
*Act 27:14 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.
As Christians in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will find that the winds are not always favorable to our Christian journey.
We may find many fair havens.
These fair havens may not meet the desires of the world but are just a refuge from those storms.
Many will leave these places just because of their distance from the world when they are the safest places to stay.
To the Christian, our fair haven is the Bible believing Church.
When we are driven to a haven such as this, let us be content because the Church exists by of the “Grace” of God.
It is the ways of sin that are too easy, not the path of God, but the path of God leads to Heaven the fairest of all havens.
Paul never admits to being a sailor because he was a land man with no knowledge of the seas, but he did have the mind of Christ.
We find that men of the sea (the world) do not like land men (Paul the Christian) to interfere in the affairs of the sea (society).
We can find many types of biblical learning in these things of the Apostle Paul, and we can see how they affected all the books that he wrote led by the Holy Spirit.
A Euroclydon would be a typhoon like wind. This wind from the south could at times turn to be from the north with the same destructive power and it is these storms that last so long such as the fourteen days in this lesson from the Book of Acts.
A Euroclydon is now called Levanter but has the power of a typhoon.
These winds would not carry this ship in one direction but would be tossing them backward and forward.
*Act 27:15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
There was no way to control the direction of the ship so they just allowed the ship to go wherever it would go.
The ship was out of their control and was in the hands of God.
This is what happens when we try to leave Satan’s control for the hand of God.
This ship was in the hands of God before the storm, but they did not recognize it.
Remember, God told Paul he would preach in Rome.
We should understand that danger is always a test of character!
The impulse of self-preservation is so strong, it will defeat itself and many will die that could otherwise be saved.
Paul was safe because the Lord had said he would remain safe.
Paul was the valuable property of the immortal Jehovah God.
Paul had resources of strength and comfort that those around him did not have except maybe the Christians that traveled with him such as Luke.
Paul now became a comforter and an adviser to all this ship.
The promises of God will always be fulfilled!
*Act 27:16 And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:
Act 27:17 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.
Clauda was a small island off the southwest coast of Crete and one of the last places they could still recognize as the storm became fiercer.
Those things called “helps” were big ropes or cables passed under the ship and secured on both sides to keep the timbers from separating.
This also means this was an old ship as ship building had already improved a great deal at this time.
These quick sands were huge sand banks on the shores of the Gulf of Sidra on the coasts of Tripoli and another on the coast of Tunis or Carthage. These were a known source of danger to mariners because of their shifting sands and cross currents.
Remember this ship had left Fair Havens because of a southernly wind but they had sailed close to the shorelines to avoid as much of those winds as possible.
It was a rough voyage.
*Act 27:18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship;
Act 27:19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.
On this second day they set about throwing the cargo overboard.
This cargo was probably corn from Alexandria Egypt to Italy and its load would have been very heavy and its removal would have made the ship much safer.
For this ship to throw its tackle overboard, then we can believe this ship was taking on water and in danger of going down early in this storm.
It also shows us the experience of the captain of this ship.
Even Paul and those with him helped to throw these things overboard, because the danger of sinking was so great.
They were now on their third day of this storm.
Paul had tried to warn those in charge of the coming danger.
We know that few are listening to the Christians today.
Few are paying attention to the dangers that lie ahead as we approach the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1) We as Christians will also suffer through these things but financial gains will not be of much value in the last days.
2) We as Christians know that if our ship goes down, the body in which we dwell, our souls will be saved.
3) We as Christians know that no matter how far we drift, God knows where to find us. Sometimes we may even be immortal until the promise of God is fulfilled as was Paul.
4) When we as Christians are praying, it may be more important than all the work of the ship’s crew. Paul was pursuing his duty as a Christian.
5) When we as Christians are in such danger, we will always be more at peace than those who do not have a relationship with the Lord.
6) We as Christians may lose the sight of the natural sun and the star, but we will never lose sight of the Divine Son of God and the Star of Bethlehem.
It is extremely dangerous to ignore the warnings of God!
All of a sudden, they were sailing in almost total darkness.
*Act 27:20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
Act 27:21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
We can say without a doubt that this ship, this crew, and Paul did not know where they were.
They were desperately lost at sea.
Again, I can imagine that many lessons in typology have been taken from this passage.
It was only natural that a sense of hopelessness would come over the crew of the ship, but also just as true that Paul and those who traveled with him did not feel this hopelessness.
God always knows where his children are located, and God is always in touch with His children, no matter where they are located!
Many days had now passed, yet this storm was still raging.
This is the same thing that sin does. Sin begins anew every day and has no end without the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the way died to pay the debt of all sinners.
The man of God, the Apostle Paul had the answer to hopelessness!
The Christian should have courage in all situations!
The trials of life will not break us down if we truly trust in the Lord Jesus Christ!
1) Paul first proclaimed their failure in listening to the Word of God.
Paul had warned that if they continued to follow the course of pleasure and greed, they would run the risk of loss and doom, of hurt and damage, but worldly people always have their own wrong answers.
Paul led by the Holy Spirit had warned those in charge of the ship.
Act 27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
Act 27:10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.
2) Paul proclaimed God’s promise.
God had promised that all on board would be saved if they would obey God’s messenger.
This is all we have! We have the Word of God to be given to all the world and it is the Word of Truth.
Jehovah God is the only true God all other so-called gods are false!
This ship sailed with the idols of false gods, and they had done nothing to save this ship and its crew.
Paul proclaimed his faith in God’s promises.
Paul could not have known that no one would lose their life if not for God the Holy Spirit giving him this knowledge.
*Act 27:22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.
Act 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
Act 27:24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
Act 27:25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
Act 27:26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.
God knows what lies ahead in our daily walk in this life!
3) Paul stated that we all must have faith in the promises of God.
God had spoken to Paul using the many methods He chooses to speak to us, and we can trust the promises that God makes to us.
None of His promises have ever failed!
4) Paul proclaimed that these trials are necessary to prove our trust in the Lord our God.
We all have to listen to the Word of God and make that decision to trust what God has said!
The proof of true faith is enduring until the end of these trials.
Mat 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
*Act 27:33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
Fourteen days and nights had passed yet the storm seemed to have no ending.
During the night some of the crew felt like they were close to land so they began to take depth readings and sure enough the water was getting shallower, and they cast out four anchors out the rear of the ship.
In all honesty anchors should be from the front of the ship except under certain conditions.
Why are anchors at the front of the ship? When a boat lies on its anchor, it faces the tide and/or wind. The forces can be fairly high, and so it is necessary to present the minimum cross-sectional area and minimum drag, which is the front of the ship. Therefore, holding the bow up to the tide or wind is the best policy.
This is the same for your fishing boat and your pleasure boat.
Some of the crew attempted to flee by escaping in the ship’s boat.
A ship’s boat is a utility boat carried by a larger vessel. Ship boats have always provided transport between the shore and other ships.
In the early days of shipping this boat would be used to gather drinking water and to ferry people to the shore.
This little boat could not have brought safety to these men, and they would have died unnecessarily.
Paul brought this to the attention of the Centurion and his soldiers.
What we see is when danger is imminent sometimes it is the Christian that needs to step forward after all we do know the truth and the Lord will never forsake us.
*Act 27:34 Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.
Act 27:35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
Act 27:36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.
I can tell you after going through this cancer treatment that eating will sometimes become a duty for survival.
Sometimes we should eat whether we feel like it or not, just because we need our strength for what lies ahead.
This is always true of that food that is the Word of God!
God takes loving care of our souls, but He expects us to take loving care of our bodies!
When Paul gave thanks for this meal, Paul showed that is always time to ask for a blessing even if it was a meal eaten in a hurry.
Once the ship was anchored it was only a matter of time before the ship would break up if this storm did not cease its destructive power.
Once the new day arrived and they could see, they took up the anchors and ran the ship aground where the ship did break up.
In the end by trusting the man of God and the Word of God all those on this ship were saved.
*Act 27:37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
Fear is something we will all deal with from time to time, but God did not give us the Spirit of Fear.
So when we are afraid, we did not get that feeling from God.
2Ti_1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
This is what most men on this ship saw in the Apostle Paul and it is our example for when things go terrible wrong.
The trials of life will sometimes cause great fear, but we must remember the Lord and the Word of God, and these great examples recorded in the Word of God.
Another thing we should notice there is never a time that we should not ask God for a blessing when we are about to take a meal.
As the messengers of God, we should take charge during these type situations if they arise.
We must believe and trust the Word of God!
We must focus everything upon God’s Word and God’s Promises!
This is the only way any of us can be saved!