Acts 28:5 – And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.
The ordeal was over. Everyone on the ship “escaped all safe to land” (Acts 27:44). Paul remained in custody and would eventually stand trial in Rome, but before that he would face yet another problem while helping gather some sticks for the fire. A viper would latch on to him, but he would simply shake it off.
Temptation is much like that viper. It is inclusive in that it matters not who you are. You would think after all Paul had been through he would be spared this, but that was not the case. Temptation will bite you in every period of your life (young or old), in every position of life (poor, rich, healthy, sickly), and it does so regardless of the person you are (spiritual or carnal, in church or out of church). Even our Lord was tempted (Matt. 4).
Temptation is also seductive. Satan is the tempter (1 Thess. 3:5) and he is “more subtil than any beast of the field” (Gen. 3:1). Paul is doing a good thing – helping out with the fire, but the viper was hid in the sticks and took him by surprise. They will jump on you when you least expect it, even when you are trying to serve the Lord. And they are diverse as life itself.
Had not Paul “shook of the beast” who knows what would have happened. Temptation is very destructive as James 1:13-15 tells us. The charm of sin lures us away from fellowship with the Lord. The conceiving of sin is only the beginning and often varies with person and deed, but the conclusion of sin is always the same – death and destruction!
Temptation can be ineffective if resisted. Only temptation yielded to has power to hurt. The secret is immediate resistance. Paul didn’t give the viper a chance to hurt him, he shook it off quickly. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to yield to it. Be like Paul when tempted and shake it off!