Daily Devotional: Saturday 27th June

by William Moody

Acts 28:1–6

Paul on Malta

28:1 After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The native people1 showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice2 has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

Footnotes

[1] 28:2 Greek barbaroi (that is, non–Greek speakers); also verse 4
[2] 28:4 Or justice

(ESV)

The initial relief at being rescued and cared for (v1-2) is changed as Paul is bitten by a snake (v3). The attitude of the islanders (v4) is common to views people often have today which is, ‘When bad things happen it must be because of a person’s bad actions.’ Some people and even some churches teach this but it is far too simple a view.

All suffering in this world can be traced back to Adam and Eve’s sin and God’s cursing of this world (Genesis 3). We suffer because we live in a sin cursed world. It is also true that sometimes suffering does come because of individual’s sin (see Acts 12 v23). But his does not mean that all suffering is down to an individual’s sin (see John 9 v1-3).

The people of Malta were very superstitious and it is quite amusing how they change their minds quickly from thinking Paul was a murderer to thinking he was a god (v4-6). It is a well-rounded knowledge and faith in all of God’s Word that gives people a balanced outlook on life and prevents them from running from one extreme view to another. Have you a stable and balanced world view that comes from knowing God’s word well?

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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