Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kicking Against The Goads

Acts 26:14

21st Century King James Version 
 And when we had all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, `Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? It is hard for thee to kick against the goads.'

Have you ever known someone who insisted on doing something they knew would end up hurting them? They won't listen to anyone who tries to stop them because in their mind they think they're right in their action and that 'this' time the situation will be different. Sure you have, we all have known people like that. Saul was persecuting the church and God basically told him that he would only hurt himself if he continued to 'kick against the goads'. Kicking the goads evidently referred to the futility of his persecuting the church. God had already said that He would build His church and even the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

To fully understand what God was saying we have to know what a 'goad' is. A goad was a sharpened stick that was used to prod animals along when they were plowing. When God said that Saul was kicking against the goads, He meant that Saul was only causing himself pain as if he was kicking against a sharp stick. 

How many times have I seen Christians who feel they are right in persecuting a pastor or his family! (Remember Saul was a religious person too.) They feel that this pastor isn't who God wanted in the pulpit, or that it is time for the pastor to move on to another church or they don't like how the pastor preaches or does certain things. So they withhold their tithe, which by the way doesn't belong to the pastor anyway, they are only robbing God. Or they skip church or worse they come to church with a scowl on their face and their arms crossed over their chest and stare the pastor down while he is attempting to bring the Word the Lord has laid on his heart. How these things grieve the heart of God!

But Christians like these are just being 'Sauls'; they're kicking against the goads. God will judge those who persecute His chosen. (Luke 18:7) God places pastors in pulpits, not men. We are to respect our pastors. (1 Thess. 5:12, 1 Timothy 5:17) And we also know that God does not repent of His calling. He doesn't change His mind about who He wants to be a pastor. (Romans 11:29) We know all these things yet there are still those who think they know better than God as to who should be in the pulpit and sadly because of these 'Sauls' many pastors have given up and left the ministry. 

They haven't given up on God and they still serve Him but they have given up trying to pastor people who do not want to be pastored. Oh the silly things I have heard from Christians over the years! One elderly woman said that she no longer attended Bible study because 'there is nothing any man can teach me'. Another middle aged woman said that she and two other women met faithfully every week to pray against her pastor, that God would remove him from their church! How can these people think they are pleasing God? They're kicking against the goads. God will not bless them for such actions but He will take care of His faithful servant who continues to pastor them. 

If you saw someone jabbing themselves with a sharp stick, you'd quickly tell them to stop because they would hurt themselves. But when we hear someone tearing down a pastor in malicious gossip, oftentimes we either don't say anything in defense of the pastor or we join in the conversation showing our agreement. Unwittingly, by doing so, we have joined forces with Satan to attack this man's ministry. 

If you have been guilty of kicking against the goads, why not repent today and ask the Lord to direct your paths. God will not bless a rebellious spirit. You may be a deeply 'religious' person but if you are rebelling against the authority God has placed over you, then you are clearly out of God's will. 

It's never too late to turn your life around and honor God with your actions, your words and your heart. Saul did and he became Paul. He changed from being the greatest persecutor of God's people to being one of the greatest, or perhaps the greatest preacher of all time! Just imagine what God can do with your life if you stop kicking against the goads, like Saul did. 

"There are always people eager to falsely accuse a man of God. They may do so because they resent his calling, reject his teaching, resist biblical authority, resent virtue, or are jealous of the Lord’s blessing on his life. Ultimately, however, they demonstrate by making such accusations that they have become messengers of Satan. Such false accusations are one of his most dangerous weapons. Joseph, Moses, David, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and our Lord Jesus Christ all suffered from false accusations" 
(The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 1 Timothy, 20-21).

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