Shipwreck dead ahead


Acts 7:5 But God gave him no inheritance here, not even one square foot of land. God did promise, however, that eventually the whole country would belong to Abraham and his descendants—though he had no children yet.

It’s vital to know where we’re going, but even more so from where we’ve come.

On the eve of September 8, 1923, historic tragedy struck off the coast of California near Santa Barbara. The greatest peacetime US Naval loss in history was recorded that night after Captain Watson of the USS Delphy made a navigational error. His objective to reach San Diego Bay was never attained on a foggy night with unreliable equipment leaving him to navigate via dead-reckoning, the process of calculating current position by using a previously determined one.   This technique requires more than knowing where you’re going. It requires knowing where you’ve come from and knowing where you’ve been.  Dead reckoning is subject to cumulative error. Even small miscalculations along the way can be magnified over time resulting in a navigator thinking he is where he’s not.

This is what happened to the religious Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day.  As captains of the faith, they had drifted off course. Stephen’s historical discourse in chapter 7 was a much needed warning intended to readjust their trajectory.

How did they get so lost?

They’d been navigating by dead reckoning from the wrong points in history.  They marked the property God had given them, the temple built for Him and the stone upon which the law had been written as the points from which to calculate their bearing.  As a result, they had drifted off course greatly.  In this verse and others in his sermon, Stephen corrects,

It wasn’t about the property. It was about His Promise (v.5)

It wasn’t about the temple. It was about His Tabernacle (v. 48)

It wasn’t about the stone tablets. It was about His Spirit’s teaching. (v.53, 30)

They had forgotten from where they’d come and though they thought they knew where they were going, truly they were lost.

Sadly, on that fateful night in 1923, it wasn’t just the USS Delphy that broke against the rocks. Six other ships followed turning the coastline into a naval graveyard.

Who are you following? None of us see the light house beacon with clarity all the time. From time to time, we are all prone to slip into a fog for one reason or another.  During those times, when darkness surrounds us, it’s vital to know more than where we’re going; we must know from where we’ve come. Avoid being yet another religious navigator drifting off course. Safeguard yourself from shipwreck.

Reclaim His promises. Recall where He dwells. Remember what His Spirit said.