Summary: Don't let Satan paralyze or defeat you. God can use your storms to change you and the world around you.
Snake bit Acts 28:1 – 10.
Have you ever felt like that once things started going south then the snowball picked up momentum and size, and before you know it you have been bowled over?
Do you feel like the world is against you? Is Murphy’s Law your life verse?
Most people pick Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Or (Josh. 1:8-9)
If anybody could feel defeated it would be Paul.
Paul’s own testimony (2 Corinthians 11:24 – 29) “From the Jews five times I received 40 stripes (Jewish Maximum is 40) minus 1. Three times was beaten with rods(Roman): once I was stoned: three times I was shipwrecked: a night and a day I’ve been in the deep: in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren: in weariness and toil, and sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness – besides the other things what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak?
In Acts chapters 27 – 28 we find Paul in the midst of great trial.
Having “almost” persuaded King Agrippa to accept Christ Paul boards a ship (as a prisoner) headed towards Rome to defend himself.
He faces a storm, shipwrecked, being stranded, and snake bit all on this journey.
I’ll bet most of us can relate.
The storm: What could’ve been smooth sailing put them in the path of a storm (hurricane) called Euroclydon.
This was no small storm – it would destroy the ship.
(27:10) Paul warned the Centurion not to go but they would not hear God’s man.
The shipwreck: For14 days they fought the storm.
They did everything they could think of to do to save the ship but nothing worked including jettisoning everything and then finally gave up and ran the ship aground.
Stranded: The sailors were going to leave them behind and abandon ship.
They were forced to jump overboard, those who could swim would swim for land and those who could not would drift on the ships debris.
The storm was still raging and the seas were still rolling.
They washed up on the island of Malta. (Just south of the tip of Italy).
Snake bit Acts 28:1 – 10
I don’t know how you feel about snakes, you may find them fascinating, or you may find them fearful. Unless you are a herpetologist.
In either case, they typically do not represent the best of the animal kingdom to most of us.
Personally, I am okay with most of them as long as I see them first, but if it surprises me I must kill it.
We know that Paul survived the storm, the shipwreck, and is now stranded.
We find him and his fellow prisoners, the soldiers, and the sailors on the island of Malta.
News report: 9-17-2019 Archaeologist believe that they have discovered this shipwreck of the shores of Malta
Paul did not seek praise for warning of the storm, staying calm during the storm, for helping save the ship in the storm, saving the prisoners, or swimming safely to shore.
Once they reach the shore, Paul began helping collect wood for a fire.
Their arrival on shore was not comfortable or convenient – but God provided people to help them. (2)
God always provides people to help you in the midst of storms.
The storm was still raging and God is still aiding
Paul – never one to be lazy – began gathering wood to help warm his fellow prisoners, the sailors, and the soldiers.
As he was placing his wood on the fire a snake/serpent hiding in the midst of the wood and stirred by the heat of the fire bit Paul on the hand.
All he was trying to do was help!
When you are trying to build a fire – you can expect opposition!
The serpent can’t stand the heat.
Paul did not panic – did not give up – did not feel sorry for himself.
Paul “shook off the creature into the fire”. (5)
Had he let it hang on to his hand the poison would have certainly killed him.
How many times have we been faced with difficulty and failed to shake it off but instead allowed it to cling to us only to leave its poison behind?
How do you react to circumstances when it seems as though everything is going against you?
Storms batter you, shipwrecks, stranded, and now snake bit.