EuroclydonMarch 19, 2007
Psalms 107:23-30 “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeh them to their desired haven.”
When I was in the navy, we ran into a ferocious storm while steaming toward the Mediterranean. This storm lasted for several days and when it was over we had lost ammo lockers, helocopter blades, trucks from off the flight deck and other pieces of equipment as their mountings were no match for the forces of nature. Likewise we took on widespred superficial damage which wasn’t repaired until we reached the Mediterranean and pulled into port. One of the most facinating aspects of the storm was standing on the bridge and watching the leading edge of the flight deck crash into the surface of the water as the ship pitched forward. This went on continuously for the duration of the storm and it was cool each time that it happened. Our ship was less than half the size of an aircraft carrier, but it was impressive nonetheless.
Despite the display of Gods power all around us, none of us felt as though we were in any danger. (Not that we should ever place undue confidence in the arm of flesh as it can fail without warning) If, however, we had been in a sailing vessel similar to those of centuries past, most of the crew would have been in a state of panic. The opening passage of scripture tells how the crew of a particular ship was at their wits end as it must have appeared that their world would certainly be slipping beneath the waves. It was at this moment, when it seemed that all was lost, that they called upon the Lord and he delivered them in a way that defied logic. This post is intended to discuss the power of God to deliver in the face of unparalelled adversity, and in this way it ties in with the previous post. We serve a risen Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who is always with us wherever we are. He doesn’t take vacations or wander off and he is able to keep us; even in the midst of the most turmultuous situation. In the following passage we read of the many perils that befell the apostle Paul.
II Corinthians 11:24-25 “Of the jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep;”
There is absolutely no way that Paul could have survived all of this if God wasn’t with him. Three shipwrecks in an era where surviving one shipwreck would have been a rarity. And spending a day and a night in the deep. Of course they didn’t have any global positioning mechanisms or radios or in those days. If one was lost at sea, the odds of being found again were nil. But God had called Paul to be a witness for him before the Gentiles and he was to eventually bring the gospel to the very household of Caesar. God is far more dependable than the arm of flesh and Pauls life proved this time after time. We look to the arm of flesh as we can see and manipulate it to a degree. But God never fails and he knows them that place their trust in him completely.
II Corinthians 11:26-28 “In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the shurches.”
NEVER A DULL MOMENT!
He was in peril regardless of where he was at, often wondering as he set out on his journey what would transpire next. Yet he went forth as led by the Holy spirit despite the dangers. He had an unwavering love for the Lord Jesus Christ and a fervent love for those who were in the household of faith. Praying for them upon every rememberance; knowing that the enemy was continuously trying to steer them into a way that looked right but wasn’t. The interesting thing is that God is no respect of persons and he is every bit as much the same today as he was two thousand years ago. If we truly love him and have it settled in our hearts that, regardless of the consequences, we’ll strive to be obediant to his calling, he’ll see us through every appearance of catastrophe. He’s greater than any storm and has never lost a battle.
II Corinthians 1:3-5 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
Gods comfort transcends every form of tribulation that one may find themself in. His perfect peace previls despite the most adverse situation. Paul tells in II Corinthians chapter twelve that he “takes pleasure” in infirmities and rerproaches as it’s in such moments when the power of God rests upon him. (Paul tells of his thorn in the flesh in II Cor 12:7-10) The following passage tells of moments when paul and those with him were at their “wits end” and placed their trust completely in God.
II Corinthians 1:8 “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.
It was simply too much for them to take in the natural realm.
II Corinthians 1:9-10 “But we had the sentance of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust will yet deliver us;”
This entire chapter is ever so enlightening as it admonishes us to place our trust in God. In fact, both letters to the Corinthians both start out with similar themes. I Corinthians begins by telling how God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. II Corinthians starts out with the telling of how Gods power rests upon those who trust in him; even when they are at the end of their rope. God can work a mighty deliverance when we “run out of rope.” There’s much that could be said here, but I was desiring to touch on the place from which the title of this post eminates.
The situation was this. Paul was being taken to Rome as he had appealed unto Caesar. Winter was coming on and they found themselves in a less than desirable port. Therefore, they set out for Phenece where they would prefer to winter. Paul tries to advise them in the folowing verse.
Acts 27:9-11 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was already past, Paul admonished them, And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. Nevertheless the centurian believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.”
Well of course. The owner of the ship knew the sea and he knew his ship. He had done this time after time without incident. Similar to the captain of the Titanic having a spotless record. Paul, on the other hand was a “good man” it would seem but he simply wasn’t a sailor. This seemed to be a matter where his words wouldn’t be of serious consideration. Therefore they set out for Phenece.
Acts 27:14 “But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.”
Suddenly Pauls words didn’t seem so out of touch.
Acts 27:20 “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”
No way to navigate and without a clue as to where they were. They seemed adrift and yet God was working his purpose. (All things work together for good to them that love God) We need to trust that God really has things under control; even when those around us make seemingly unwise decisions, as was the case here.
Acts 27:21 “But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.”
Paul was not gloating “see I told you so.” He was simply pointing out a truth which would cause the captain to finally take heed to true wisdom. (This is getting way longer than I planned. Sorry)
Acts 27:22-25 “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of of any mans life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not Paul; thou must be brought before Caeser: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me.”
A revival. Souls who saw the power of God as he delivered them from certain death and came to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Souls that have been in glory for two thousand years, all because of a stubborn captain who said “Lets go to Phenice. Trust me.” As we know, the ship finally runs aground off the island of Melita (Malta) and all aboard are spared. Then on Melita, as he was gathering sticks, a viper latched onto Pauls hand and he subsequently shook it off. When he didn’t suffer any of the typical symptoms from such a bite (such as falling down dead) the inhabitants of the island took note and the result was, once again God being glorified. I wonder how many Melitans are in glory at this moment as a result of Paul being there for three months proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The book of acts is rightly named. “Acts.” Not “transitional book” The same Jesus that performed all of these things is still working today. We simply have to get self out of the way and let God be God. I apolagize for this being so long. I’ll probably be doing some shorter ones this week as I’ll be putting in a lot of overtime. Of course who knows what a day will bring. I need to close for now but will leave with this passage.
Psalms 119:97-100 Oh how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.”