Sunless Days and Starless Nights
Today’s reading: Psalm 50-52; Acts 27:1-25
14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:14-15
23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. Acts 27:23-25
God is the rightful owner of all people and all things, so we belong to Him and He deserves our thankful worship no matter how bleak our circumstances.
The Psalmist makes a powerful statement about God. He needs nothing from us. He lacks nothing because all things are already His. We insult Him with our puny offerings given with an attitude of pride or duty. What does God want from us? Try making an offering of thanksgiving. Try using your mind and heart to reflect on all that He is and all that He has done for us. That is pleasing to God not mere outward actions of religious rituals.
Paul in his eventful voyage on a prison ship to Rome becomes the real leader despite his lowly status as a prisoner. His initial advice to winter over at Fair Havens was unheeded but was later proven to have been wise. As the ship is driven by a storm, the angel of God appears to Paul giving him a promise of deliverance. Paul identifies God as the One to whom he belongs and the One whom he worships. In the midst of a storm, which blocked out the sun by day and the stars by night for days and days, Paul was clear on who God is and who he was before Him. “I belong to Him and I worship Him,” Paul says.
Do desperate, life-threatening circumstances draw you closer to God? Do dark days and nights make you more certain of His ownership of you and of His worthiness of all your trust and thanksgiving? That was Paul’s experience. Nothing that happened to him could diminish his convictions about the reality of God’s existence and of His personal care for him.
How can you tell your faith is unshaken in the storm? Check the level of your thanksgiving. Be sure your praise of God is on the rise. God is pleased with a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Nothing is more glorifying to Him than genuine praise and thanks especially on sunless days and starless nights (Acts 27:20).