Growing with God’s Word and Trusting in God’s Promises
Acts 27:13-38: A strong wind—a “Northeaster”—hits the ship, making navigation difficult. Paul seeks to encourage everyone in the face of a hopeless situation.
[Paul said]: “God in his goodness to you has spared the lives of all those who are sailing with you.”
13A soft wind from the south began to blow, and the men thought that they could carry out their plan, so they pulled up the anchor and sailed as close as possible along the coast of Crete.14But soon a very strong wind—the one called “Northeaster”—blew down from the island.15It hit the ship, and since it was impossible to keep the ship headed into the wind, we gave up trying and let it be carried along by the wind.16We got some shelter when we passed to the south of the little island of Cauda. There, with some difficulty we managed to make the ship's boat secure.17They pulled it aboard and then fastened some ropes tight around the ship. They were afraid that they might run into the sandbanks off the coast of Libya, so they lowered the sail and let the ship be carried by the wind.18The violent storm continued, so on the next day they began to throw some of the ship's cargo overboard,19and on the following day they threw part of the ship's equipment overboard.20For many days we could not see the sun or the stars, and the wind kept on blowing very hard. We finally gave up all hope of being saved.
21After everyone had gone a long time without food, Paul stood before them and said, “You should have listened to me and not have sailed from Crete; then we would have avoided all this damage and loss.22But now I beg you, take courage! Not one of you will lose your life; only the ship will be lost.23For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship came to me24and said, ‘Don't be afraid, Paul! You must stand before the Emperor. And God in his goodness to you has spared the lives of all those who are sailing with you.’25So take courage, men! For I trust in God that it will be just as I was told.26But we will be driven ashore on some island.”
27It was the fourteenth night, and we were being driven in the Mediterranean by the storm. About midnight the sailors suspected that we were getting close to land.28So they dropped a line with a weight tied to it and found that the water was one hundred and twenty feet deep; a little later they did the same and found that it was ninety feet deep.29They were afraid that the ship would go on the rocks, so they lowered four anchors from the back of the ship and prayed for daylight.30Then the sailors tried to escape from the ship; they lowered the boat into the water and pretended that they were going to put out some anchors from the front of the ship.31But Paul said to the army officer and soldiers, “If the sailors don't stay on board, you have no hope of being saved.”32So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the boat and let it go.
33Just before dawn, Paul begged them all to eat some food: “You have been waiting for fourteen days now, and all this time you have not eaten a thing.34I beg you, then, eat some food; you need it in order to survive. Not even a hair of your heads will be lost.”35After saying this, Paul took some bread, gave thanks to God before them all, broke it, and began to eat.36They took courage, and every one of them also ate some food.37There was a total of 276 of us on board.38After everyone had eaten enough, they lightened the ship by throwing all the wheat into the sea.
Verse 20 describes a loss of hope. What was Paul’s message to everyone aboard the ship (verses 21-26)? Do you think everyone was encouraged by his words? Why or why not? What did Paul say to everyone after fourteen days and what gave everyone encouragement? What gives you encouragement when a situation seems hopeless?
Holy God, in your goodness and mercy you keep watch over us. Hold me close in the safety and shelter of your love and care. Amen.
Acts 27:39—28:15: A shipwreck occurs.