Stay in the Ship

Acts 27:22–38 (NKJV)

22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. 26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.”

Acts 27:22-26

Although Paul had warned the ship’s crew not to leave Fair Havens, they did anyway, and now they were in a powerful storm that threatened to destroy them. Paul received a vision of an angel that promised they would all be saved, but that they would be shipwrecked on an island.

27 Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land. 28 And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 29 Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.
33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. 36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves. 37 And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship. 38 So when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea.

Acts 27:27-38

After fourteen nights of sailing in the storm, the sailors felt as though they were coming to land somewhere. They took soundings and found that they were getting in more shallow water, and eventually dropped anchors to hold them in place so that they would not run onto rocks near the shore. They let down a skiff, or smaller boat, and thought they would try to row to shore, but Paul warned that they must stay in the ship, or they would die. The soldiers, realizing that Paul was hearing from God, cut the ropes to the skiff and let it float away. Paul then encouraged them all to eat, which they did. He prayed over the food, and they all ate, and were encouraged. Then they lightened the ship further and prepared to wait out the storm.

This was, perhaps, the worst experience through which some of these men had ever been. This storm tossed and battered them for the better part of two weeks, and they were exhausted. They had nearly lost hope, and then land was spotted. They wanted to jump ship and head for shore, but the storm was still raging. They wanted to get out of the ship that was slinging them from side to side and threatening to break apart under the barrage of the storm. But Paul had heard from God that the only safe place was in the ship. Whatever situation in which you may find yourself, realize that bolting for a presumably better place is not always the best solution. God has you in a place for a purpose, and to leave that place for what seems easier is not the only way to resolve your fear and fatigue. Sometimes it is better to gut out a bad time in order to find success and blessing on the other side. Paul had given them good advice, and the soldiers and shipmen had ignored him, and now they were in the storm. When they realized that advice from the man of God was right, they listened, and–as we will soon see–they were saved. Whatever ship from which you may be thinking of leaping, stay in the ship. God will stop the storm, and He will bless you, if you are where He told you to be. Stay in the ship.

Artwork from http://bibleencyclopedia.com/pictures/Acts_27_Paul’s_ship_wrecks.htm

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