“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 taken away.”

Acts 27:20

When all around us we see nothing but “Doom, despair and agony on me,” we must look with eyes of faith and listen with ears of hope for Him and His welcome Voice.

Paul had already told them it was ill-advisable to set sail; but, they wouldn’t listen (vv.10-11).  The ship’s owner and his crew knew “sailing was now dangerous because the Fast/Feast (Day of Atonement) was now past” (v.9); yet, because of their precious cargo from Alexandria (v.6) and the good pay-day that awaited them, they threw caution to the wind and set sail anyway.

How foolish one acts when allured by the world’s fool’s gold.  The siren voice of “fame and fortune” has lured many a sailor to his/her demise on the hard rocks of reality.  How we should warn them (v.10)—but we mustn’t “grow weary in well-doing” (Gal. 6:9) if they will not listen.

Neither should we be surprised when such “riotous (and faithless) living” leaves one in the same condition as the prodigal son (Lk. 15:1-14).  Sin for a season is always delicious and alluring, but in the end it leaves heartache and despair.

Likewise, we shouldn’t be surprised when “contrary winds” (Acts 27:4) turn into Euroclydon winds (v.14).  These northeastern winds were fierce and fast like those of a hurricane.  They were known and feared by every sailor; yet, the owner of the ship on which Paul was sailing thought he could beat the odds and safely make it to Rome with his cargo.

But, he was wrong.

And, his proud presumption ended up costing him dearly:  The loss of his cargo and ship (vv.14-19, 38-41).  No doubt he wished he’d listened to Paul (vv.10-11, 21).  But, it was too little, too late.

Running roughshod and out-of-control must have been frightening to Paul and those seasoned sailors (vv.14-15).  Even now we can see the panic in their eyes and hear it in their voices as they throw ropes underneath and around the belly of the ship in hopes of keeping her together (v.17).  And, no doubt, their desperate attempt to lighten their load and draft in the water by dumping the ship’s tackling overboard reminded them of the peril of riches and the brevity of life.

All around us today we see and hear those who are losing hope.  No light in the darkness they see.  In the past they’ve trusted in themselves. . .their power and prowess. . .wealth and investments. . .but now they’re trying to streamline and “praying for the day”—i.e., hoping there’ll be a turnaround in the economy, a lessening in the storm-force winds, etc., just in hopes of surviving.

That’s why we must be faithful to proclaim to them “The Anchor of Soul, which is sure and steadfast, supported by two unbreakable chains” (Heb. 6:17-20).  And, what might that Anchor be?  We know, don’t we?  It’s Jesus the Christ. . .the Risen Son of God. . .the “Forerunner within the Veil” (v.20a). . .Who is our “Refuge and Hope” (v.18b).  Hallelujah!!

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 12, 2009

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