Key Word:- CHOOSE
Title:- Dealing with ‘Dike’
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.”
In the Southern part of my homeland, the county of Cornwall lays its rugged-rocked coastline into the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean . It is not too long ago, that these same sharp shores, were utilized by ‘wreckers’. By moving navigation lanterns, robbers, rascals and murderers, would lure old wooden ships, heavy laden with imported goods, onto ripping reefs.
The disintegrated vessels, smashed into splinter wood by the pounding waves, would yield up surviving and half-drowned sailors, only to have them mercilessly ‘dispatched’ on the beaches. The wet goods, retrieved from the waves, would be crawled over by these awful ants, quickly divided, disposed of and stored. It was a gruesome trade.
It was not ‘wreckers’ that had washed the Apostle Paul upon these heathen shores, but God. I often wonder why God has not got better modes of delivery than puking whales and wrecked ships? Let’s face it, God’s ways are truly weird! I wonder if it is only the fog of spiritual warfare and the roar of canons thunder, that can account for such difficulties in mission.
God had already promised Paul that the whole crew would be redeemed from the waves and miraculously, they were. An astonished crowd, whilst retrieving what they could of the crashed cargo, would have looked on in amazement at the miracle of these standing survivors. Not one lost in this awful storm. Not one. It was unbelievable! It was against all the odds! Even so, LOOK! One of them hasn’t escaped Dike, the goddess of justice, oh no, she has got him now, even though he escaped the waves.
The word we have translated in our verse today as ‘Justice’ is in fact the name of this goddess, Dike. In Greek mythology, Dike, one of the three Horai, was reputed to have seen that justice was done, especially to murderers. The viper hanging from the hand of Paul seemed to indicate her pursuant vengeance to the watching Greeks.
The onlookers had of course completely misunderstood what was going on here. However it is noteworthy that like us, they knew, looked for and expected, justice on the earth. No matter how far you ran, no matter where you escaped, Dike, justice, would eventually get you. Even today we have this encapsulated in the most modern phrase, “What goes around, comes around.” It’s the same thing. We expect the pursuance of justice. Even upon ourselves. In our nightmares, we know that the terrible trio of Vengeance, Retribution and Justice are the dark riders that follow on the heels of all our crimes. In our modern terminology and misled understanding, we may have watered down the terrible strength of this foaming cup of justice. Yet, we all know in our hearts, that justice will in the end be applied. No one shall escape.
Friends, there may be some cold comfort in the fact that persons who have done us unspeakable wrongs shall not escape the judgment of God, but we must remember this; unless we take refuge in the rock of Christ and the city of God, the horses hooves of these dark riders shall one day trample us all under their pounding feet.
Listen:- Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.' Deuteronomy 32:35
Pray: - I know O God, that you take care of ‘business.’ Jesus, righteous judge of the whole earth have mercy upon me today. Let your blood alone be my sure defence against all the accusations of the enemy. Let mercy and grace be found in abundant quantities in my camp O God. In Jesus name, Amen.