Words of Faith 8-19-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.  Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach.  But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.
 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping.  But the centurion wanted to spare Paul's life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land.  The rest were to get there on planks or on pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety.
The actual event of a shipwreck is a harrowing thing. This was a large ship with 276 souls aboard! Daylight revealed land but the situation was still terrifying. As they made a run for the shore the ship ran aground.
The Greek reads that the ship was beached amid the pounding surf on a sandbar, "on a place of two seas" with deep water on either side. They were still far from being out of danger. Stuck some distance from land the ship began to break apart. Regardless of any promise from an angel, it appeared to be every man for himself.
The final responsibility of a soldier guarding prisoners was to kill them rather than allow escape. Roman military law decreed that a guard who had allowed his prisoner to escape was subject to the same penalty the escaped prisoner would have suffered. The soldiers would kill the prisoners rather than allow them to escape while getting to land.
Julius, the Centurion, was determined to protect Paul. He ordered all to get to land either by swimming or by holding on to pieces of the wreckage. The chances that all would make it were slim and none, and slim just left on another boat!
But God did a marvelous thing! In his providence, God brought them all safely to shore, as he had promised Paul he would! This surely did not surprise Paul but it would be a powerful testimony to the power of the one true and living God! Everyone aboard would now have a reason to consider the God Paul and his companions served.
In Greco-Roman literature, someone’s escape from disaster at sea could serve as evidence of that person’s religious purity even before a court. In the mind of the crew and passengers, this near death experience spoke of the graciousness of God and how they might spend the rest of life, which had been returned to them. Each one had to realize that it was not “every man for himself”, it was God for every man. No one on that ship was alone that day.
Frightening, near-death experiences have a way of changing our perspective on life. Anyone saved from near certain death on the sea would likely re-examine their priorities and consider serving the God whom saved them. But the truth is that we are in precisely that same situation!
We are not alone! It is not “everyone for himself”. Paul knew this. He penned these words in his letter to church at Rome. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” Thank God.
When we realize the spiritual shipwreck from which God saved us, we are eager to seek and serve Him every day. If we were not alone in that storm then surely we are not alone now.
Lord, I can’t imagine where I would be without You. Thank You for choosing to save me even when I was still a sinner. I give thanks that I am not alone. Thank You for Your patience with me. Show me how I shall serve You this day. In Jesus’ name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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