And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land. Acts 27:44
One of the great perplexities of life is the close proximity and integration of the redeemed wise and the unredeemed foolish. This isn’t intended to promote superiority of the redeemed over the unredeemed through some sense of self righteous indignation or impending vengeance; but rather gives rise to the inevitable consequences of living alongside two polar opposites. And nothing speaks more clearly of this dynamic than, “we’re in the world, but not of it”. And it’s from that reference and tension that all believers exist. The temporal and eternal coexists for a time; one demographic driven blindly by sight through vanity, the other by faith through the knowledge of the unseen.
The sea voyage of Acts 27 took the Apostle Paul to Rome; where his death most likely ensued. However, the shipwreck en route to his martyrdom is filled with uncanny, present-day, practical advice. Far too much is detailed in that single chapter to assume it’s relegated to history. And there’s far too much inscribed minutiae for it to be a mere description of tragedy and daring rescue, or a dutiful remembrance of a persevering servant of Christ. Undoubtedly, and for our sake, Paul’s journey towards his final resting place is recorded so that the divine wisdom he exercised be ours in our 21st century turbulence and unexpected storms.
Our hope is to extract diverse wisdom as it’s revealed from this chapter, and have a series of devotionals drawn from its experiences. We will then dedicate them to those who’re journeying towards their final home with others who’re not quite so sure! Folks, this could be interesting!
Consider then first the mingled assortment comprising the 276 men on board! Prisoners, ship mates, ship owners, soldiers, Christian, Jew, heathen men, men of color, men of disrepute, men of substance, men of power, men with vast sea knowledge, men with little hope, men with a lot on the line… You get the picture! It’s a gated community for sure– you can’t get on board, and you can’t get off! And that becomes the first point we gather from this chapter.
We’re born into a world, not of our choosing, but of providence and God’s sovereignty. We’re born into a family of which we didn’t choose. As a child, we live in a community we didn’t necessarily ask for. Read the rest of this entry »