Acts 27:29

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Thursday, 16 May 2024

Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. Acts 27:29

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The Greek more literally reads, “And fearing, lest perhaps we might fall into rough places, having cast four anchors out of the stern they were wishing for day to come” (CG).

In the previous verse, soundings had been taken, finding first twenty fathoms and then fifteen. Because of that, the sailors assumed land was not far off. As it was still night, it next says, “And fearing, lest perhaps we might fall into rough places.”

The word is trachus. It is used for the second and last time, having first been used in Luke 3:5. It signifies rough, rugged, or uneven. Saying “rocky” is a bit of a paraphrase, even if it is correct.

The sailors were afraid that the ship would crash onto an unfriendly reef or shore. If so, this could be disastrous for those on the ship. Therefore, they wanted to slow down the ship so that the force of such a crash would be lessened.  To do this, it next says, “having cast four anchors out of the stern.”

Another word is used for the last time, rhiptó, to cast, scatter, etc. It gives the sense of sudden motion, as if in flinging. They had four anchors which they chucked out of the stern. This would increase the drag on the ship and cause it to lumber more slowly as it approached the land.

And more, the violence of the storm necessitated this full complement of anchors to be cast in. Doing this from the stern would eliminate the danger of having the ship swing around and be brought into any rock or reef. It would also mean that it would be in the best alignment for running the ship up onto any visible beach once daylight came. Along with that, it says, “they were wishing for day to come.”

The word used can mean to either wish or pray. As praying wouldn’t make the day come any sooner, it probably is better translated as wish. However, even the sailors in Jonah’s adventure did pray out to their gods. And Joshua did pray for the moon to stand still over the valley of Aijalon during his battle, so that translation is not out of the question.

Life application: Hebrews 6, using the word agkura, or anchor, says this –

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19, 20

If we truly possess the anchor of hope in Christ, we will never get swung around when troubles aplenty come our way. We will remain steadfast and properly directed, even in the greatest storms of life. The rocky shores may be out there, but our direction will remain unchanged, and we will have the certainty that God will direct us safely to the soft and pleasant shores of a land we have yet to see.

This doesn’t mean we won’t get there if our faith is weak. If we believe in Jesus, having received Him, we shall arrive. But think of the difference between Paul and maybe a new believer on the ship.

Paul had already been told they would be delivered. He knew it would come to pass, and there would be no question in his mind it was so. However, Sam Shipwright may have heard and believed the message of Jesus, but his hope was not yet as grounded as Paul’s.

There he would be, fearful of the coming shoreline and the trials they might face once they were cast upon it. Paul’s hope is grounded, and his anchor holds. Sam’s is not and he is still like his own little ship being cast about on the waters of uncertainty.

How grounded is your faith? Do you completely and fully trust every word of Scripture and that it will come about just as you have read? Do you even know all the promises contained there? You can’t, unless you read the Bible. And your faith can only increase through trusting the Lord with every aspect of your existence.

Have faith and read your Bible. This will be a great line that connects you to the anchor of hope that will rest your otherwise troubled soul.

Lord God, may our faith be increased from day to day as we learn to trust You and Your word. Give us the desire to know You more and more. May our anchor hold fast and may the line of our knowledge and trust be sure and sound. Help us in this, O God. Amen.