“And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux—to whom Paul entered in and prayed and laid his hands on him and healed him.  So, when this was done, others also, who had diseases in the island, came and were healed, who also honored us with many honors.  And, when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.”

Acts 28:8-10

Never view your difficulties as obstacles—for they may well be God-sent opportunities for Him to manifest His Power.


That’s what Paul and his 275 shipwrecked co-passengers called the island upon which they washed ashore (v.1).  Most scholars believe this was actually the small island of Malta, which rests just off the southwest shores of Sicily and north of Africa in the Mediterranean Sea.

Regardless, Dr. Luke referred to the residents there as “barbarous people” (v.2), which may mean they were known for their fierce reputation; or, it’s possible he simply referred to them as “foreigners,” since the Greek word used here is “barbaros” and is often translated that way.  And, even though they initially thought Paul was a hardened criminal and getting his “just reward” after the venomous snake latched onto his hand (vv.3-4), they soon changed their view after “he shook off the beast into the fire and felt no harm” (v.5) and even said “He is a god” (v.6).

Oh how fickle (and faithless) the arm of flesh!

Paul wasn’t worried about the snake because he’d not been worried about the storm!  He knew the same God Who’d rescued them from the wind, the waves and their ship being torn in half after running aground (vv.27-29, 39-41) was the same God Who’d led Julius, the centurion, to spare their lives (27:1, 42-43). . .given them favor in the Maltese residents’ eyes (28:2). . .and used him to bring healing to Publius’ father and many others.   The angel of the Lord had already told him he’d appear before Caesar (27:24)—and before Caesar he’d appear!

So, by faith he proceeded “full-steam ahead.”

And, so should we, dear Pilgrim, if we’re living by faith and not sight.

Even though God had commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on top of Mt. Moriah that day—and he was ready to obey as he raised the knife (Gen. 22:1-10)—he knew God was faithful and would raise Isaac back to life again (Heb. 11:17-19). . .for He’d promised that “all nations would be blessed THROUGH ISAAC” (Gen. 12:2-3; 15:5-6; 17:4-8, 16, 19, 21; 21:12). . .and that’d be impossible if his promised son was dead.

Oh, dear Pilgrim, so often we cannot understand why the Lord leads us as He does or allows certain things to happen to us.  But, we, like Job, even in our agonizing perplexity, must say “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).  And, like Asaph, we always say “God is good” (Ps. 73:1), even though it would seem we’re about to go down for the count (vv.2-15).  As Job also said, “He knows the way that I take—and when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).  Never forget that it takes intense heat in fiery furnaces to remove the dross from 24-karat gold.  And, the same is true for conquering faith (I Pet. 1:6-7).  So, do not fear, weary one, if your path is rocky and steep; stay focused on your Guide (Ps. 48:14).

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated August 9, 2010

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