No need for dead reckoning
For reading & meditation: Acts 26:1-18
"I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth." (v.9)
The place where we can see life as a whole is in the sanctuary of God, or, if you prefer, in the presence of God. There we are reminded of things we have forgotten or ignored. See how the Good News Bible translates Acts 26:9: "I myself thought that I should do everything I could against the cause of Jesus of Nazareth." Here you see the root of Paul's problem: "I myself thought". And is not that the underlying cause of many of our problems too? We say, "I myself thought '" instead of asking: "What does God think?" Sometimes sailors will attempt to establish the position of their ships by estimating the distance and direction they have travelled, rather than by astronomical observation. This is called "dead reckoning". It is sometimes necessary in foul weather but it is fraught with peril. One mariner has said: "Undue trust in the dead reckoning has produced more disastrous shipwrecks of seaworthy ships than all other causes put together." There are people who attempt the voyage of life by dead reckoning, but there is no need. God has charted the map for us with loving care in the Scriptures, and our plain duty is to study the chart so that we might become better acquainted with His purposes and His ways. For the better we know the Scriptures, the better we will know God. We cannot ignore the facts of history or science - they help - but if our perspective is not drawn from the Scriptures it will lead us astray. We must not rely on dead reckoning but on divine reckoning.
O Father, just as the art of navigation requires definite and fixed points from which to take a bearing, so does my voyage through life. I am grateful, dear Father, that in You I have all the fixed points I need. Amen.
For further study:
1. What was said of the children of Israel?
2. Can the same be said of us?