Acts 28:1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.

2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

Introductory Thoughts

Following a shipwreck, Paul, and those with him, escaped to an island called Melita. The Bible describes the natives as a barbarous people who were not completely void of truth. They demonstrated kindness toward those who had escaped the sea by kindling a fire for them. Paul helped the natives by gathering a bundle of sticks to cast upon the fire. As he cast the sticks on the fire, a viper came out of the heat and fastened on Paul’s hand. Immediately, the barbarians assumed Paul to be a murderer who was being recompensed for his wickedness. Even though these people did not know the Lord, they had some of His laws written in their consciences.

Devotional thoughts

  • (For children): Even if people do not know God, God puts it in their hearts to know the difference between good and evil (Romans 2:14-15). Isaac told Abimelech that his wife was his sister. When Abimelech discovered the truth, he scolded Isaac saying that if someone had taken her for a wife, they would have been guilty (Genesis 26:10c).
  • (For everyone): If there were no God, there would be no vengeance. Why? How does the understanding of vengeance validate the existence of God?
  • How did the barbarians understand kindness and vengeance? How did these truths, that necessitate the existence of God, enter into the understanding of these heathen?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Thank God for writing His truth in your conscience.
  • Ask the Lord for a deeper understanding of vengeance.