Kick Against the Goads
“Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads’” (Acts 9.4-5 NKJV).
“To kick against the goads” was a rural expression during Jesus’ time. Farmers would use “goads,” sharp, pointed sticks, to encourage the ox to continue its course on the field. Sometimes the ox would resist moving and stubbornly kick against the goads, not wanting to work with the farmer to move in the desired direction. The resistant kicking of the ox would usually cause bodily damage because the goads would penetrate its flesh. Obviously, Saul (later named Paul who wrote half the New Testament) was kicking against the goads that the Lord was using to move him into the right direction. Finally, the Lord had to supernaturally intervene and cause Saul to lose his sight. Because Saul ignored the Lord’s promptings, God needed to completely stop Saul’s life in order to gain his attention. Many times, God puts “goads” in our lives. But instead of allowing those painful situations to move us into the right direction, we kick harder making our situation even worse. We fight and fight against the Lord, hurting ourselves and the people around us. Finally, the Lord has to supernaturally intervene to stop our downward spiral of disobedience and unresponsiveness. It would be better to have paid attention to the “goads” than to have our own stubborn way of fruitless and damaging kicking. We must always be aware of how we are doing in our walk of faith. Are we kicking and fighting the Lord’s will or are we submitted to His greater plan. If we just take a moment to look at ourselves and our surroundings, we might recognize some goads that we had been ignoring.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing” (Psalm 143.10 NLT).