Acts 27:9–10, 20, 22, 31 “Paul began to admonish them, and said to them, ‘Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.’ . . . All hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned. . . . ‘Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.’ . . . Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, ‘Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.’”

Observation: The ship carrying Paul to his appeal in Rome had set sail. As God supernaturally gave Paul knowledge about the ship’s impending doom, Paul shared this insight with an unbelieving ship’s crew. 

Application: Paul’s warnings were true, but they initially went unheeded. He was merely a prisoner, and the seasoned sailors thought they knew better. They relied upon their extensive training and experience and forged into the gathering storm. By Acts 27:20, all hope of being saved had been abandoned. But Paul heard from God again and urged them to keep up their courage. By the end of the passage, Paul had achieved such credibility among the crew that he had become a de-facto leader, and his words and warnings were instantly heeded.

Why do I assume that I know best how to run my life? I go charging ahead making decisions based on my experience or value system, ignoring what might be clear warnings from friends or from the Word of God. 

What it seems to come down to is this: I have learned to ignore such warnings at my own peril. The stove is hot. The traffic is dangerous. The paint is wet. As my Creator, He knows what is best for me, yet I seem reluctant to give Him sway over more than burned and painted fingers. God gives me the freedom to respond or not. He allows me to make my own decisions in things large as well as small, to take Godly advice or turn my back upon it. Why do I so often choose to touch the wet paint?

But He continually gives such warnings nonetheless, because He loves me. He wants to steer me away from places of danger, away from the hidden reefs where life will shipwreck and come to ruin.

Prayer: Father, I am painfully aware of those instances in my life when I have responded to Your warnings like the sailors did early in Paul’s voyage. But I can also see that You have gradually taught me the wisdom of giving credence to Your warnings. My life has been so much better, so much safer, as I have determined to heed what I hear You saying. Make me even more eager to obey You, Lord. Teach me the folly of thinking I know a better way than You.