Paul and those onboard were brought safely to land and find out that they are on the island of Malta. Arriving from the opposite end of the island to normal trade traffic must have been confusing and disorientating, but we read that the native people showed [them all] unusual kindness by lighting a fire for the soaked sailors.
Whilst gathering sticks for the fire Paul is bitten by a viper, shakes the snake off, and is proclaimed as both a murderer and then a god (vv.3-6).
The natives of Malta give us, in just a few verses, a keen insight into our own human nature. They show unusual kindness (v.2), see the Greek goddess diké striking Paul through a snake because ‘he must be a murderer‘ (v.4), then change their minds again and proclaim that he was a god (v.6).
We are all prone to extremes in thinking just like Paul’s Maltese hosts. When this happens, consider these passages for a more balanced look:
“…every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.”
(2 Corinthians 10.5, NET, emphasis added)
“…by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to…”
(Romans 12.3, NET, emphasis added)