Paul is on his way to Rome, after nearly two years of imprisonment at Caesara. He is on a vessel transporting wheat with 276 people on board.
They leave the harbor of The Fair Havens and encounter a storm
Storms can come up so suddenly. One minute the south wind can be blowing softly and the next minute they encounter a storm that would eventually destroy the ship.
I. THE VULNERABILTY IN THE STORM (13-20)
We are all vulnerable to storms. Trouble can come so suddenly upon us. It is not a matter of if they are coming, but rather when they are coming.
A. The storm was salvage
There arose a tempestuous wind. It was a v iolent storm.
The storm was called Euroclydon which means a violent agitation.
Euroclydon was a sailor’s term for a strong northeasterly wind. It came from two words--one Greek and one Latin. The Greek word refers to an east wind, and the Latin word refers to a north wind. This northeast wind would come down from Asia Minor, and was so fierce that it was of hurricane or typhoon proportions. They were bobbing up and down, being tumbled and beaten by the wind.
The gentle south wind was suddenly replaced by a treacherous, deadly northeastern wind. The Euroclydon was a great fear among all who sailed the Mediterranean because it tended to send ships to an ocean graveyard off the coast of North Africa. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of many sunken ships there.
According to verse 20 this was no small tempest that had come upon them.
B. The ship was susceptible.
They attempted to secure the ship. In those days they couldn’t bolt the planks to the girders because they didn’t have bolts. The only way they could secure the ship was to tie or glue it. In a single-masted vessel there was no distribution of stress, as opposed to a multi- sail vessel, where the stress is distributed over the entire hull. The ship would simply begin to split in half.
As a result in a bad storm, they would attempt to wrap cables tightly around the ship to keep it secured during the storm, a procedure called "frapping" in a mariner’s dictionary.
“They used helps.” They used ropes, cables, or chains, for the purpose of securing the ship. The danger was, that the ship would be destroyed; and they, therefore, made use of such aids as should prevent the loss of the ship.
The ancients were accustomed to passing cables or strong ropes from one side of the ship to another, to keep the planks tightly together during a storm. The rope was slipped under the bow, and passed along to any part of the hull which they pleased, and made fast on the deck.
The sailors took to keep the ship from coming apart from the waves and wind. They did so because the ship was susceptible to destruction in the midst of such a violent storm.
You and I are susceptible to destruction in the midst of the storms of life that we may have face in this life.
II. THE VALUE OF THE STORM (21-29)
A storm oftentimes has value in it.
The men on the ship had lost all hope. They had nothing and no one to turn to. But that is exactly what God wanted.