This is a very interesting chapter in terms of seeing God orchestrate events. God had a plan for Paul to be in a specific place for the express purpose of ministering to a particular group of people. Plans were made to sail to Italy. He was traveling with a group of 276 prisoners (vs 37) under the authority of a centurion named Julius (vs. 1). The ship faced many obstacles caused by wind and storms, which continued for many days. This is the saga in verses 1-21.
The meat of the chapter is contained in verses 22-25. "And yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, ' Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar, and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.' Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told."
After 14 days, beginning in verse 27, another storm arose which caused much difficulty in sailing. Paul encouraged the men to eat something for their preservation. It says in verse 35 that "he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all..." Imagine the picture here. Paul is doing this in the presence of 276 unbelieving prisoners!
In verse 39 the sailors continued on. They struck a reef and ran around. They all were deliverd to safety on a certain island just as Paul had said.
Here we have an amazing account of one godly man who stood head and shoulders above the rest because of his Spirit-filled wisdom and confidence in God. And truly, everything did turn out exactly as Paul was told.
In the next and final chapter of Acts we will read that Paul's ministry ended in a very positive way.
1. Have you ever had a difficult circumstance in which you were able to verbally take a bold stand for God, in front of non-believers?
2. Do you have a strong and bold faith that believes that God can orchestrate events in your life according to his divine purpose for you?
3. Has anyone ever prophesied something over your life, and you have seen it fulfilled?
4. Paul and the prisoners were tossed about by the wave and winds. This chapter reminds me of Ephesians 4:14. "...we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by the waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine..." Are you allowing yourself to be spiritually tossed about by different doctrines or human philosophies, or are you clinging to the divine truth of God's word?
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