The Daniel Fast: Stay in the ship! Catch up on our 31 Days of Fasting in January posts here!
The Book of Acts only has 28 chapters and we are looking at number 27 today. Paul was running out of time. He was being taken to Rome to stand trial, (along with some other political prisoners), and ultimately, eventually, he would become a martyr for the cause of Christ.
But the issue at hand was the ship.
He was in the hands of a capable man. Julius was a centurion who was the commander of a cohort. A cohort was a band of soldiers between 400-600 men. This was a large ship and quite full! The end of the chapter tells us that 276 people were on board.
They had already changed boats and changed routes, because of the weather. Choosing the longer course meant they could use the island of Cypress to shield them from the rough seas, or so they hoped.
The inhabitants of the ship had stopped in the city of Fair Havens for a time. It doesn’t say how long, but Paul and others aboard had been fasting, since it was the time of The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur. They realized they were facing rough weather ahead and Paul tried to convince them to stay in Fair Havens and wait it out.
“Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now 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 centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.” Acts 27:9-11 KJV.
Here is the dilemma: God had revealed to Paul that the weather was to become perilous and for them to stay where they were. Paul warned Julius, but do not forget that Paul is also a PRISONER. Julius was in quite a predicament. He had the experience of the pilot and captain in one ear, and this man of God in the other.
What they wanted to do doesn’t sound so bad. It would have only taken them a day to get to Phoenix and that didn’t seem like such a risk. It was a bigger town. It was close to Fair Havens and better protected from the weather. The sailors would be thrilled because there was more to do there.
But God said, “Stay. Abide.”
“But Lord, I see a storm coming!”
Does this sound like anyone else you know? Or does it sound like ME or YOU?
He wants us to wait, listen, and trust Him. But we insist on doing our own thing anyway.
So the ship sets sail.
“But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.” Acts 27:14 KJV.
This wind was so strong that it had a name. Things started happening quickly. The second day they begin to lighten the ship, throwing things overboard.
“On the third day, they threw the ships tackle overboard with their own hands.” Acts 27:19 NIV.
Now, they were getting rid of some of the ship’s gear. Desperation had set in. If only they had listened to Paul!
“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” Acts 10:20 NIV.
They were in trouble; big trouble. They should have listened. They should have stayed in Fair Havens to begin with but they didn’t. All hope was gone as far as they were concerned.
How many of us, just like Julius, have rejected the voice of God, had our own way, only to fail miserably?
Did God make us come crawling on our hands and knees begging Him to take us back? Never, and He doesn’t require it of these men either.
He shows mercy.
Paul stands before them and brings them good news. “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s 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 Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee…for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Acts 10:22-25 KJV.
Even after he gave them this great news, the storm grew worse and some of the men tried to abandon the ship. We may have done the same in a state of panic!
But Paul tells Julius and the soldiers, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.”
The next morning, Paul urged them to eat because it had been 14 days since they had started fasting. They needed their strength.
He reminds them that God had promised that not a hair on their head would be harmed as long as they stayed in the ship!
After they had eaten, those 276 souls lightened the ship even more by throwing over the wheat. Do you see a pattern here?
Stay in the ship!
Abide with Him!
Get rid of those things that would keep you from walking with God, that would pull you down or drag you under. A little hindrance, a stumbling block…nothing is worth losing your soul.
The ship began to break apart in the back and the prisoners and crew grabbed hold of pieces of debris and broken planks to swim to shore. But not one of them perished!
“And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.” Acts 27:44 KJV.
Paul had been fasting, he was a man of prayer, and he had been shipwrecked two times previously. He trusted God when he heard His voice. He was strengthened by his time of prayer and fasting. God gave him wisdom to handle this situation and hold everything together.
Why else would a commander of an army trust a prisoner to give direction?
Only God would allow that to take place.
When we allow Him to have the authority in our lives, to rule, to give the direction and wisdom for every aspect and every detail, knowing He sees down the road…we don’t have to worry about the end result. He has it all in control!
Did you know He also cares? He wants what is best for us. The ultimate goal is our salvation and eternity in heaven with Him.
Believe that today. There is safety in the ship. Trust Him in the storms.
Stay in the ship!
I have a simple Daniel Fast recipe for you today but it is oh, so good! Enjoy!
1 cup salted cashews
¾ c slivered almonds
½ cup sunflower kernels
6 green onions, chopped
1 head Nappa cabbage, chopped fine
Sauté the nuts and sunflower kernels in a tiny amount of olive oil just until barely browned. Add to the cabbage and onions and top with Oil & Vinegar dressing.
Don’t forget to get your copy of The Daniel Fast Devotional! Great for ANY FAST, it will be your go-to tool for years to come. Already have one in Kindle or paperback? Would you take a couple of minutes to leave a review for me on Amazon? It would be so appreciated! Blessings to you as you fast unto the Lord.