The Apostle Paul had received instructions from the Holy Spirit to go to Rome and stand before Caesar. The only thing he knew was that prison and suffering awaited him. But that didn’t stop the Apostle Paul. All he wanted to hear at the end of his race were the words, “Well done” spoken by the Lord.
The crew sailing the ship that carried Paul to Rome had experienced many days of dangerous sailing. Paul warned them: “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives” (Acts 27:10 NKJV). And just like Paul warned, a typhoon strength wind caught the ship and blew it out to sea until they couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up.
The people on board the ship carrying Paul to Rome hadn’t seen the sun or the stars for weeks. But the day after the angel spoke to Paul, an island came into view. Look how the circumstances changed, overnight! Things can get better in a hurry when God is on our side!
After they landed on the island, Paul was gathering sticks for a fire when a poisonous snake bit him on the hand. The local residents saw the snake hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live” (Acts 28:3 NLT). Notice how the circumstances caused these people to jump to conclusions as they reasoned, Obviously he is a murderer.
But Paul was not moved. He shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. His divine appointment grew closer with every passing moment. Paul had learned to live his life by his God-given assignment, not by circumstances.
The people waited for Paul to swell up or to suddenly drop dead, but when they had waited a long time and saw that he was unharmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god. People are so fickle! One moment they were convinced by circumstances that Paul was a murderer, and the next moment when the circumstances changed, he was a god. This is what happens when people form their opinions by what they see.
Paul had an advantage over everyone on board the ship, not because he was an apostle, but because the Holy Spirit lived within him. Paul responded to the perceptions of the Spirit; he obeyed the message from the angel and all their lives were spared. “And so it was that they all escaped safely to land” (v. 44).
We are living in dangerous days in which it is critical to be led by the Holy Spirit as we fulfill our God-given assignments, just as Paul was led by the Spirit on that perilous voyage to fulfill what God had called him to do. As we call upon our Divine Helper, He will be there to assist and to guide us through every situation we face in life.