As we concluded our reading yesterday, the soldiers had just cut to ropes of the lifeboats so the sailors would stay on board through the night. Paul warned them that if they didn’t remain with him that they would die. It is morning now and it’s time to abandon ship.
Our motley crew is still lost, as far as they know. They have not been able to establish their position in their own minds but they see land and are more than willing to make for it. The sea has been driving them until the previous night when they put down anchors to prevent a night time shipwreck. Now they cast themselves back on its mercies. And drive them for land it did. I noticed that they also kept back enough tackle and sail for the foresail. Is it the only one that survived the earlier storms?
Once they let go and let the sea take them they expected to run aground, and they did. But they didn’t land where they had wanted to. They were still far enough from land to pose a risk to those on board. There were no longer any lifeboats and the ship was being beaten by the sea, but land was within reach.
Roman guards did NOT want it on their record that their prisoners had escaped. It was preferable to kill them before an attempt could be made instead of reacting to one after it happened. But God wasn’t going to let that happen. He moved on Julius’, the centurion in charge, heart to protect Paul. And as Paul was protected the other prisoners benefited as well. None were killed. This also fulfilled Paul’s message through the angel that none would lose their lives if they remained with him. ALL 276 persons made it safely to land.
I noticed something interesting when reading about this leg of the journey. This island landing was well within the course of their final destination. Very little backtracking needed to be done to complete their journey.
These experienced sailors were without direction or control of their destination yet then ended up where they actually needed to be. If we look back at the map from yesterday we can see that there were MANY different directions that the storm could have carried our lost vessel, but it carried them toward their destination. Can we say God was steering the ship? It certainly looks like it to me.
Julius had gone ahead with his OWN plans and they came up disastrous, but they didn’t interfere with God’s plans in the least. God simply took over and showed them who was really in charge. God used the wind and the sea as well as man to move His plans along. Even the wind and the waves obey!
We will get to see tomorrow how God even prepared in advance for this group’s continued journey and safety. NOTHING is beyond His control!
Father God, I love seeing how You use even our rebellious times to make progress on Your plans. You use even the elements You created to drive us to where we need to be. You plan each step of the way. You don’t desire for us to encounter disasters but You use them when we run afoul to bring us back to You. Nothing is out of Your hands. I know I have said this many times, especially throughout this journey with Paul, but it is SO true! And will remain so until the end of time.