Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611

Lessons For Ladies
This Series was taught by Mrs. James Modlish

Lesson Thirty

The Anchor Holds

Introduction: Not being a “sea-faring” individual, I had never given much thought to the subject of anchors. After all, when you are raised and spend much of your life inland, anything to do with large ships isn’t of the highest consequence. However, when I moved to the west coast in 1989 I gained a greater appreciation for those incredible masses of steel that stop ocean-going vessels dead in their tracks, then hold them fast to prevent collisions with obstacles that could cause irreparable damage.

And so it was at a low point in my life, that I came to the realization that without an anchor, we are destined to crash on the rocks of life, fragmented and beyond hope. Without that steady hold on our rocking ships, we will find ourselves adrift in the tumultuous sea of life.

As usual, the Bible provides a wonderful story resplendent with descriptions of a literal battle with the sea which can easily be translated into the spiritual battles we all encounter in our life’s journey.

ACTS 27:14-44

I. The Storm

A. This type of storm was named Euroclydon

[1]. The name literally means “storm from the east.” This is the direction which is often referred to as cursed in the Bible.
[2]. As with many fierce battles the saints encounter, you have to wonder if this one was brought on by Paul’s adversary, Satan.

Paul was on his way to Rome to be a witness to Caesar; it’s abundantly evident who would want to prevent that.

II. Man’s Efforts to Overcome the Storm (vs. 15-19)

A. “We let her drive.” Vs. 15

[1]. In the midst of a life storm, an individual is tempted to be swept along by the circumstances, to put up no resistance to the force of those circumstances. This often occurs as a result of the overwhelming degree of the pain and powerlessness that comes with life’s tragedies.
[2]. In allowing the crisis to carry the momentum, we become the victim instead of the conqueror. We “let her drive.”

B. “…they used helps, undergirding the ship…” (vs.17)

[1]. The sailor’s efforts to stabilize the vessel reminds me of the many resources we use to stabilize our lives in times of trials. While the use of self-help books, counselors, and the advice of friends is certainly well within the boundaries of good sense, to rely on those helps to the exclusion of what God’s Word says is foolish indeed. And this may result in insufficient “undergirding.”

C. “…they lightened the ship.” “And the third day we cast out the tackling of the ship.” (Vs.18-19)

[1]. Speaking from experience, I have found that “lightening the ship” and “casting out the tackling” does little to calm your ship in the midst of a storm. If anything, it makes the situation worse. I remember how it seemed that the release of the heavy responsibilities of a church would give some measure of freedom of mind… that no longer carrying the burdens of so many others would bring peace of mind, but this was not so.
[2]. At this point I began to see the futility of man’s efforts just as those sailors of long ago saw all their efforts come to naught.

III. All Hope Is Gone (vs.20)

A. How easy it is to give up hope when all your human efforts fail. The first part of Proverbs 13:12 says it so poignantly: “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick..”

B. When hope is absent, desperation, or at the very least, resignation takes its place.

C. Imagine the mindset of those long ago men of the sea as they came to the realization that all their seafaring skills were totally useless in the face of such tremendous force.

IV. The Ship Is Not Sunk! (vs. 22-25)

A. Paul steps forward as the one calm force in this potential disaster and relates his experience.

[1]. The Angel of God (Jesus) gives assurance regarding the safety of all in the boat. This is very good news since Jesus is an expert on sea matters. Check out (Mark 4:35-41)
[2]. The key words in the passage are Paul’s: “…for I believe God.” This was wise on Paul’s part since at that point none of them had anything else on which to depend. How can we cling to the safety of God’s protection unless we believe?

B. Paul had confidence in the ultimate plan of God for his life, and he knew his purpose and his role in God’s great scheme was not yet complete. A famous preacher once said, “I am immortal until God is finished with me.” And so it is with all of us…if we follow the Lord’s path for our lives.

V. Deliverance Comes in Installments (vs.28)

A. God didn’t provide instantaneous relief for the beleaguered sailors. That would have made it too easy and might have resulted in them giving credit to their own efforts. No, often God lightens the burden one pound, or even one ounce, at a time; in this way we learn patience and trust.

B. “…wished for the day.” How often in the dark of night do we fight off the demons of Satan who invade our minds and reap memories of pain and regret? It’s in these times that we must put down our anchor and “wish for the day.”

VI. Stay in the Ship (vs. 31)

A. The seamen were about to hang their fate on a boat smaller that the one in which they were presently being tossed about.

B. Wise words from Paul: “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” (vs.31)

[1]. It is always prudent to follow God’s instruction and not attempt to create our own solution. Staying in the ship isn’t always easy but it saves you a lot of grief later.
[2]. The degree of Paul’s influence is shown in the men’s response. (vs. 32)

VII. The Result of an “Anchorless” Ship (vs.40-41)

A. In a last ditch effort to save themselves, they take up the anchors and hold on for dear life!

B. As expected, the ship makes a rather ungraceful landing, and the unfortunate passengers are forced to swim for their lives. As I look back over my life, I can think of many instances when I made “ungraceful landings” as a result of trying to steer my own ship!

C. But God, being merciful, allows all to arrive on shore alive, albeit some of them on pieces of the ship.

I would rather choose to stay in the vessel , rocked and pelted by the turbulence of life and put my confidence in the Anchor than to attempt to find my way in the sea of life on the broken pieces of my ship. The words of a beloved song say it best:

The good news is that there is more to Proverbs 13:12 than “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.” Here’s the rest of the story: “but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”

The Hope is certainly coming soon, but for right now, here in Colorado, we will build “Rancho Esperanza”…the ranch of hope.


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  1. I have journeyed
    Through the long, dark night
    Out on the open sea.
    By faith alone,
    Sight unknown,
    And yet His eyes were watching me.

  2. The anchor holds,
    Through the ship is battered.
    The anchor holds,
    Though the sails are torn.
    I have fallen on my knees
    As I faced the raging seas;
    The anchor holds
    In spite of the storm.

  3. I’ve had visions;
    I’ve had dreams;
    I’ve even held them in my hands.
    But I never knew
    They would slip right through
    Like they were only grains of sand.

  4. I have been young;
    But I’m older now,
    And there is beauty these eyes have seen.
    But it was in the night
    Through the storms of my life,
    Oh, that’s when God proved
    His love to me.
    And the anchor holds
    Though the ship is battered.
    The anchor holds
    Though the sails are torn.
    I have fallen on my knees
    As I faced the raging seas;
    The anchor holds
    In spite of the storm.

  5. (Written by Lawrence Chewning and Ray Boltz)