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Living in an Unbelieving World - All The LORD is near Daily Devotionals for 2024

Living in an Unbelieving World details logo    The LORD is near - Monday, June 10, 2024
  by Jacob Redekop, Brian Reynolds, John van Dijk, Eugene P. Vedder Jr
Living in an Unbelieving World

After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island.
Acts 28:11 NKJV

Living in an Unbelieving World
Acts 27 recounts the shipwreck that cast Paul and 275 others onto the island of Malta. There they spent three months, awaiting suitable sailing weather; and here in Acts 28, the voyage to Rome was to continue on another ship.

As was common, this vessel had a figurehead, a carved image on the prow and likely also the stern of the ship. It served as both an ornament and an expression of religious devotion. The “Twin Brothers,” Castor and Pollux, were Greek deities believed to be responsible for fair winds, calm seas, and good sailing conditions. Since the ship’s home port was Alexandria, Egypt, a stronghold of Greek culture ever since Alexander the Great founded the city, such a symbol was not unusual.

But what should Paul do? Everyone else was boarding a ship that by its very appearance announced a belief in those false gods. Should Paul refuse? Should he reject the ship’s seaworthiness because it was built for an idolater? Should he demand a different vessel because the Twin Brothers contradicted his faith? Such questions do not seem to have troubled Paul. For him, the ship was simply a mode of transportation, and his presence on board had nothing to do with the origins of its construction.

There will be many such instances for the believer in an unbelieving world. While we do need discernment (cf. 1 Cor. 10:27–30), we do not have to be troubled by these things. Can we work for a vulgar man, buy food from a sinful woman, or ride a bus driven by an atheist? We can. Even days of the week and months of the year have been named after various false deities! But none of these things are defiling by themselves. Instead, we sail through an unbelieving world, carrying the light of Christ into the darkness.

-- Stephen Campbell


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