Acts 9:5 Amplified version reads…
5 And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].
The part that is in italics is not in the original writing. It was placed here to help us understand the context of what was being communicated, a word picture of sorts.
This is an example of an ox goad.
This tool was used to get a stubborn ox to move forward, to “goad” them to do what the farmer needed him to do. Occasionally, the ox would rebel and kick back against this. Can you imagine how painful it would be to kick against this wicked looking object?
It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].
How often do we resist the “goading” of the Holy Spirit? Oftentimes, He is urging us in a certain direction for our own good and yet we rebel. We begin kicking and screaming only to make it way worse for ourselves when in reality, God has a wonderful blessing and a plan for us on the other side of that hard thing we refused to do.
I feel like that is exactly what God was saying to Saul here. Saul had in his head that he was doing the right thing, going the right way, and doing it all in God’s name. I believe that God was speaking truth to him all along and Saul was resisting the Holy Spirit, insisting that he was right. The truth was to radical accept. It would require him to change his entire way of life, his entire way of thinking. Most often, because of our stubborn nature, it takes more than a gentle “goading”. It usually takes a dramatic event that knocks us to our knees to get our full attention.
Can you relate?
So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ Acts 22:19-20
For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 1 Corinthians 15:9-11
These are two examples of where Paul spoke of what he was before Jesus got his attention on the road to Damascus. I look at these verses and I think of all the times I was convinced I was doing the right thing being busy doing God’s work only to find out later that I wasted a lot of time and unknowingly hurt people in the process. Take a second look at the first part of 1 Corinthians 15:10. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.”
Praise God that we can say the same thing! We are where we are by the grace of God. God didn’t allow Paul to stay where he was doing what he was doing. He “goaded” him many times before He finally blinded him so that he could see the Truth.
I encourage you today to spend some time seeking God and ask Him if you are “kicking against the goad”. Are you resisting the perfect plan that God has for you unaware? Please don’t wait until He has to get your attention because it is almost always a painful process.
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