Event(s): Paul’s voyage to Rome begins; Paul’s warning is ignored; The crew in the midst of the tempest
Today’s Text: Acts 27:1-26
Tomorrow’s Text: Acts 27:27-44
As suspected, neither Governor Festus nor King Agrippa could find any fault in Paul. However, seeing as Paul had appealed to Caesar, he was now on his way to Rome. Being a Roman citizen and still innocent of any charges, he enjoyed greater privileges than the other prisoners who would take this voyage with him, albeit accompanied by a soldier wherever he went.
Acts 27:9 “because the Fast was already over…” “The Fast” marked what is often called the Day of Atonement, and takes place in late September / early October. This was not just a significant religious marker on the calendar; it also signified the approach of winter, which meant dangerous sailing conditions were approaching. It was rare for sailors to make a trip during this time.
2 Corinthians 11:25 tells us by this time, Paul had shipwrecked three times. Though he was a tentmaker by trade, he spoke from experience when he advised them to stay through the winter at Fair Havens (vs 8).
Acts 27:20 “Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days…”
The reason this is so significant is because one of the primary ways sailors plotted their courses was by the stars. Compasses didn’t exist back then.
Acts 27:22 “I urge you to take heart…” Divine revelation allowed Paul to step into a position of greater influence and leadership. So it is with us. When we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, as Jeremiah 33:3 says, He will show us great and mighty things, unsearchable things, remarkable secrets. He also empowers us to step up when the situation we are in requires boldness.
“The prisoner had become the captain, for he is the only man with any courage left.” –Barclay
Acts 27:23 “there stood by me this night an angel…” Though God had clearly given His word that Paul would make it to Rome, in His mercy, He sends Paul confirmation of the word so that even in the midst of this great storm, he is not shaken. But notice the word wasn’t just for him, it was for those who accompanied him.
We can become so vulnerable to confusion and doubt in the midst of life’s storms if we are not anchored in a firm foundation. An anchor is something that holds an object firmly; a mainstay or a reliable support. When we are anchored in hope – in our belief of Who God is and His nature and goodwill towards us – even if there are “no stars” in the natural to guide our way, we can see God’s plan and like Paul, our faith is immovable.
Have you ever felt shaken or tossed about by the storms of life? We can all experience moments when maybe we’re rowing strong in our faith, but then the thunder cracks or the lightning strikes and we start to wonder… What should we do in those moments?
Hebrews 6:19 tells us,
“This hope [this confident assurance] we have as an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it]—a safe and steadfast hope that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells],…”
Notice, hope is the anchor and we access hope by abiding in the presence of God. So when the storms come, don’t beat yourself up if you have moments of weakness. We all do. But when you feel fear start to set in, or you lose sight of where you’re going, get into the presence of God and He will restore the peace, courage and boldness to push through.