D, U, M, B . . . dumb!!! That’s what it was, dumb. A dumb decision to set sail. It was the majority decision, but it was the wrong decision. It was the expedient decision, the pilot preferring another port, but it was a reckless decision. And the centurion who was calling the shots went with the crowd and “decided to put out to sea . . . on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete” (Acts 27:12).
How’s that for confident decision making? . . . “on the chance they could somehow, maybe, make it.” D,U,M,B . . . dumb!!!
And though Paul perceived the danger and sought to advise the decisions makers with a voice of reason, he was just the prisoner. A passenger, along for the ride. A nobody, really. Yet, as things would play out, clearly a somebody.
They set sail, and not long after the ship is at the mercy of a “tempestuous wind” (v.14). Forced to literally go wherever the wind blows, they eventually start tossing overboard the ship’s cargo and tackle as they continue to be “violently storm-tossed” (v.18). And then, after days “when neither sun nor stars appeared,” and with no apparent relief in sight, “all hope of being saved was at last abandoned” (v.20).
And Paul, thinking that now the majority might be open to new ideas from the minority, almost humorously says, “Men, you should have listened to me” (v.21). Ya’ think?!?
But here’s the thing that I’m chewing on. Paul’s “I told ya’ so” wasn’t because of who Paul was. After all, he was just a prisoner . . . nothing more than a passenger. No, it wasn’t because of who he was, but because of to Whom he belonged.
“Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.
(Acts 27:22-25 ESV)
“The God to whom I belong.” That’s what I’m noodling on this morning.
I belong to God, says Paul. How brash! How beautiful!
Paul’s identity wasn’t founded in that he was some great preacher or proclaimer of the truth. For, evidently, powerful preachers and proclaimers can end up in the brig as powerless prisoners and passengers. Large crowds can give way to stinky sailors. Those who might have been the cream of the crop one day, can be but cargo the next.
Instead, despite the storm, in the face of “situation hopeless,” even when you’re not in the position to make the call or pull any levers, you can take heart because the God to whom I belong says, “Do not be afraid, I have plans for you. And those plans will be fulfilled. For you are Mine.”
Oh, to rest in the reality that we are His. That we are not our own, but have been bought with a price and have been made a temple of God by His Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19-20). That the Son of God “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession” (Tit. 2:14), that “whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8).
And so, we worship the God to whom I belong. And we trust in the God to whom I belong. And we ride out the storms through the power and protection of the God to whom I belong. And we take heart, and have faith, believing it will be exactly as we’ve been told by the God to whom I belong.
Oh, the wonder of being a child of God. Oh, the identity we possess as co-heirs with Jesus. Oh, the hope that is ours because we have been bought with a price. Oh, the love that flows from redeemed hearts because of the love shown us by our Great Redeemer.
My Beloved is mine, and I am His . . .
(Song of Solomon 2:16 ESV)
I am His. Yes I am.
He is the God to whom I belong. He is the God whom I worship.
Because of His amazing grace. Forever for His indescribable glory.