The Inner Voice of the Spirit: Acts 27:9-12
“9) When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, 10) Paul began to admonish them, and said to them, “Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11) But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul. 12) Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.” Acts‬ ‭27‬:‭9‬-‭12‬
In this text, Paul seems to display a prophetic gift. He perceived the voyage would be met with calamity. This inner caution is a function of the Spirit.
Paul was so convinced that the inner warning was from God, he spoke up to the centurion. When God puts a word on your heart, it is important to verbalize it to those in authority, but then allow them to make the final decision.
Paul was esteemed enough by the centurion that he brought the warning to the ships captain. Then they engaged in a rationalization process and the arguments of the pilot won out.
I’ve seen it hundreds of times and done it myself. The still small voice of the Holy Spirit will speak to my heart, and then my mind starts arguing with God. The end results in excuses to ignore God.
Let’s make this practical. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says; “13) No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
When these inner cautions are ignored, a trap is set. The alcoholic says; “I’m in control, I will only take one drink!” The porn addict thinks to himself; “I don’t need a block on my computer!” The vengeful and bitter person resists the grace of God to forgive by rationalizing; “I have the right to be angry!” The procrastinator stops the project early by rationalizing; “I will finish it tomorrow!” The hoarder thinks to self; “I might use it some day!” I believe the Spirit of God speaks to us more often than we realize.
So why did’t the ships captain listen to the warning from Paul. It came down to pride! It may have followed two lines of reasoning: 1) I’m not going to allow a prisoner too tell me what to do or question my authority! 2) I’m the expert here and have the ability to handle this situation!
Second guessing the cautions of the Spirit comes down to not listening to God and ignoring to good counsel of those around you. Pride always proceeds a fall and leads to a shipwreck. Balaam is an Old Testament example of arguing with the clear voice of God.
You will never learn to walk in the Spirit without obeying His inner voice. Failure to do so leads to wisdom gained the hard way!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global