The Trials of Paul (16)
Pray Psalm 25.1-3.
To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
Sing Psalm 25.1-3.
(Festal Song: Revive Thy Work, O Lord)
I lift my soul to You; O Lord, in You I trust.
Let me not come to shame, nor let my foes o’er me exult.
All they who wait on You shall never come to shame;
yet they to shame shall come who stand against Your holy Name.
Read Acts 27.1-26; meditate on verses 13-26.
1. What happened to the ship, and how did the crew respond?
2. What was Paul’s advice to them?
Our background musical score again takes up a light and hopeful motif, as a gentle south wind encourages the helmsman and crew to begin their journey past Crete (v. 13). But even as they cleared the port, we can hear the rumbling, ominous, motif resuming and gathering strength. Suddenly a storm engulfed the ship, making it impossible to sail (vv. 14, 15). All they could do was let the storm drive them along as they strengthened the ship and made it as light as possible, so that it would ride the waves rather than be pounded by them (vv. 16-19).
Apparently, even Paul’s companions were beginning to lose hope (v. 20). But Paul was not afraid. As he began to speak, there was no gloating or chiding in his voice (v. 21). A simple, “I told ya so!” was enough before he moved on to give them hope and advice.
Paul figured his little “society” was so desperate for encouragement and hope that he could speak freely about the things of the Lord and mention the visitation of an angel without fear of being scorned (vv. 22-25). He held out the promise of deliverance for all, though not without some significant loss and turmoil, the result of their unwise choice to sail in the wrong season (v. 26).
Just because people are stubborn and unwise doesn’t mean we stop caring for them or seeking to do good works for them. Paul stood bold and confident on the deck, encouraging the fearful and counseling them according to the wisdom of God. We should respond like Paul when it comes to offering help in troubled times.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The angel of God said, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you” (Acts 27.24).
Two things stand out in this word from the angel. First, he was affirming to Paul that he still needed to go to Rome, so he would survive this adventure. But second, and most astonishing, is that Paul must have been praying for the safety of his little “society”. His Personal Mission Field.
He wasn’t so focused on the importance of his arrival in Rome that he failed to consider the importance of the people he was with at that moment. “God has granted you all those who sail with you.” Amidst all the turmoil of the exceedingly tempestuous headwind, Paul was praying not only for his own safety and that of his traveling companions, but for the ship’s crew and the other prisoners. Who does that? Only those who are trusting fully in God and know where they are going.
We see Paul’s trust in the care of God, Who had said to him, “you must also bear witness at Rome” (Acts 23.11). Paul knew Him Who commanded the wind and the sea, and Whom they obeyed: “…He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters would not transgress His command…” (Prov. 8.29) “Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?” (Prov. 30.4) Paul knew God’s name and His Son’s name. Jesus!
“Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.
He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet;
so He guides them to their desired haven” (Ps. 107.28-30).
Paul’s trust in the Lord was contagious. His calm during this storm brought peace to his Personal Mission Field. And his care and concern for the other members of his little “society” brought safety and life to them as a gift from God.
Do we pray as diligently for those in the storm with us?
1. What promises from the Lord do you cling to for your walk with and work for Him?
2. How does it encourage your work to know that God is completely sovereign over all things?
3. Whom will you encourage in the Lord today? Pray for these people right now.
Hope is an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, entering into that within the veil. Let those who are in spiritual darkness hold fast by that, and think not of putting to sea again, but abide by Christ, and wait till the day break, and the shadows flee away.Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 27.21-29
Pray Psalm 25.11-22.
Confess and repent of any sins the Lord brings to mind. Seek His way for the day ahead, and ask Him to help you keep focused on Him throughout the day, whatever storms or trials may come your way.
Sing Psalm 25.11-22.
(Festal Song: Revive Thy Work, O Lord)
For Your sake, Lord, forgive. All they who fear You, Lord,
shall know Your blessings day by day and follow in Your Word.
Your friends are they who fear and seek Your holy face;
Your covenant with them You share and save them by Your grace.
Be gracious, Lord, to me; my heart is weighed with woe.
My troubles and affliction see; let my transgressions go.
Consider all my foes, who hate me all the day;
and rescue my poor soul lest I should stumble in the way.
Preserve me in Your way, redeem Your people, Lord!
We wait for You and refuge seek in Your own faithful Word.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.