Monday, August 1, 2011
The "goad" or "oxgoad" was a traditional farming implement used to spur and guide livestock. It was useful in rounding up cattle, as well as motivating any animals pulling a load. The device goes all the way back to ancient Egypt, and has become iconic as a way of explaining any needful urging that one may receive in life - the prick of your own conscience, your mate's constant nagging, or any wise words that you might not want to hear in the short term. According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, to "kick agaist the goads" means to "offer vain and perilous or ruinous resistance."
In the book of Acts, Saul learned a valuable lesson about goads - "As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 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 9:3-5). Saul found out that in rejecting Jesus he was hurting his only chance for solving the answers to all of life's problems. In presecuting the church, Saul was doing more than just turning a deaf ear to Christ. He was shaking his fist at God! He was kicking against the goads!
How many of us kick against the goads? When your spouse sees something lacking in your attitude or behavior, how do you respond to their advice? When a friend shows concern for the path on which you are traveling, do you appreciate it, or do you think about "unfriending?" When the preacher states clearly from the Bible than sin is sin, do you ignore it when it applies to you? Let's face it, we all do some goad kicking. But the goad is still needed, and all we are doing in kicking is hurting ourselves.
The next time you hear something that is true, that you don't like to hear, that may call for a change in your life, act accordingly. Don't get mad at the messenger. Don't despise the truth. Realize that goad kicking is to be left to the uneducated, unwise, untamed beasts. It is not an activity that is characteristic of a child of God. It is hard for you to kick against the goads!
"The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd." ~ Ecclesiates 12:11