Saturday, November 5, 2016

SHIPWRECK! by Linden Malki

The "Sea" has always been an important part of God's created world. God used water to cleanse the earth of the unrepentant evil He saw among mankind, but He also provided for a righteous family and a big boat that saved enough for a new beginning.

Some people love the sea and live by it, and others fear it, both with good reasons. The Israelites in general, though their land was near the coast, were not seafaring people.  They did, however, use the Phoenicians'  sea trade experiece to ferry cedar logs from Lebanon down the coast for the building of Solomon's Temple.  Solomon did trade by sea, including trading down the east African coast from Eilat on the gulf of Aqaba.

It's interesting that when Jonah was trying to escape God's call to Ninevah,
 he knew a name for somewhere specific that was a long way the other direction by sea from Joppa.  When the storm came up, he knew it was God, but the fish must have been a surprise!

In the New Testament, the inland Sea of Galilee was a fairly well settled area, with the sea used for trading and fishing. Jesus and his disciples spent much time here, and a good deal of their local traveling was by boat on the lake.  Boats were the scene of two major miracles--Jesus calming a storm*, and walking on water**.  His reaction to storms on the sea were unique--He told them to stop, and they did.

The Apostle Paul had grown up on the coast of Asia Minor, and often traveled by ship. His last voyage was to Rome, when he had been arrested in Jerusalem, tried before King Agrippa, and had appealed to Caesar.  When the ship he was on ran into rough seas, he warned the commanding centurion that it was not safe and they needed to find anchorage asap, but the pilot and owner wanted to go farther.  The ship was wrecked, but all were saved, thanks to advice from Paul. ***

We see here three times God intervened to save His people from shipwreck; in two cases, both caused by someone's stubbornness, all the material possessions of the passengers were lost, but no lives. Jonah's shipmates were saved by Jonah's going overboard, and he himself was saved by a miraculous fish; Jesus' disciples were saved by His intervention;  Paul's shipmates were saved by Paul's God-given wise words, and Paul himself saved for further  ministry.

We can find ourselves in trouble due to someone else's wanting things their own way.   We do not always get happy endings, but are taken care of in some--often unexpected-- ways.  God is in the saving business;  we may never know the whole story on this earth, but He is full of surprises!
*Matthew 8:23-27      **Matthew 14:22-33        ***Acts 27

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