Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 30, 2019

“Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 27:27-44.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+27&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing.  Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.”  Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.  All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.  All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six persons.  When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea.

When day came, they could not recognize the land;  but they did observe a bay with a beach, and they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could.  And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders;  and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach.  But striking a reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground;  and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves.  The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape;  but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should jump overboard first and get to land, and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship.  And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.”  Acts 27:33-44.

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We remember God’s promise to Paul:  “saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul;  you must stand before Caesar;  and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’”  Acts 27:24.

“Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.”  Verse 34.

Despite everything looking so hopeless, “…  And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.”  Verse 44.

God used many things to preserve the people:  food, Paul’s encouragement, the centurion’s actions, the bay with a beach, planks and other “various things from the ship”, so we should use the means of God’s preservation of us, while we keep our focus and firm trust on God.  

As we meditate on God’s preservation of us, summarized by the words “not a hair from the head of any of you will perish”, let us consider the following from the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 1.  What is thy only comfort in life and death?

A.  That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;  who, with His precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil;  and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;  yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;  on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.

Q. 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

A.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love; since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear;  you are more valuable than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:29-31.


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