Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live.” But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.
Looking only on the outward appearances with no knowledge of the heart or inner spiritual workings we find frequently that we have an inaccurate and incomplete picture. The islanders demonstrate this for us in this passage. The snake attacking spoke judgment to them. When death did not occur, they drew the conclusion that Paul must be a god. From one extreme to another and are we all not guilty of the same? Then when his touch provided healing, they responded with honor and provision for the completion of the journey. A simple approach to life on a daily basis and a simple response. When we experience the touch of God in our storms do we respond with honor? Or do we find ourselves going, O, Wow! And moving on with daily living. Forgetting often times to even say thank you. Instead do we ask Why?, and bemoan the storm? Open our eyes that we may see truth and see clearly. We are at the effects of our storms, often they bring us pain, but we are not defeated by the storm because we possess a greater power to carry us through. Do not borrow from the habits of unbelievers and the rest of mankind and pass judgment on others. Paul could have continued to give the centurion and the ship owner a hard time for even being at sea. He could have adopted a judgmental attitude that they should have listened to God’s voice, or they should have been better prepared for the storm, or a multitude of other complaints. Instead he allowed the Spirit of God to dwell in him and lead, in and through the storm.Allow the storms of life to work out the transformation of spirit and mind that comes from total reliance upon the Lord for everything.