Friday, October 09, 2009

2009 – Day 282.Oct 9 – God’s Goads

Passage of the Day: Acts 9: 5 - 9 … 3 As he [Saul of Tarsus] journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 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.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

My Journal for Today: Today Chuck Swindoll in his devotional does a little exposition of the phrase “kick against the goads,” which is not a very common expression in our language. But apparently a “goad” was an implement a 1st century farmer used to drive oxen, which would cause pain if used to direct the oxen and thereby direct the large beasts to move. However, when the oxen resisted the “goading,” they often “kicked against goad,” causing even more pain as they resisted.

I think we often think that Paul’s conversion happened all at once on that road to Damascus; and certainly that was a crucial moment in Saul/Paul recognizing Christ as his Lord. However, as Swindoll correctly points out, the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth had to be a “goad” to the young “bull,” Saul of Tarsus, who had likely seen/heard Jesus preaching in the countryside of His day. And it’s likely that it was a “goad” to see the people follow this man, many of them claiming that Jesus was “The Messiah.” So, when Jesus asked why Saul was “kicking against the goads,” the Lord was likely referring to why Saul had been resisting Christ as his Lord so strongly.

And here is another place where my identification with Paul goes so deep. For many years, I fought to resist Christ, even though for several of these years I recognized the spiritual weakness in my life, seeking strength in many “isms” of the day. But finally, after pushing Christ away from me for years, I had my own “Damascus Road” experience; and like Paul, I became broken to the core, recognizing that this Jesus Christ was my only way to lasting peace and strength.

Swindoll correctly teaches, I believe, that when you encounter someone like a Saul of Tarsus or a Bill Berry, … a resistant seeker, it is best just to encourage such a one to study the life of Jesus. Because when such a person really sees the truth of Christ, they are overwhelmed with the reality of just WHOM this God-Man truly was and is.

Think of those who came to Christianity from atheism by examining thoroughly the facts about Christ. There was Lee Strobel, the author of The Case for Christ; or before him, Josh McDowell, who wrote Evidence That Demands a Verdict, or even earlier, C.S. Lewis, who wrote the masterpiece of Christian apologetics, Mere Christianity. All of these brilliant men “kicked against the goads,” rejecting Christ as the Son of God for many years in their lives. But God pursued them and broke them; and they became some of our Lord’s greatest apologists and Christian teachers. And as I write this, though I may not be a C.S. Lewis, I truly identify with how these men had to become broken to self so that they could, like the Apostle Paul, find Christ as their Lord and Savior.

As I write this, I can only hope that any who read here are not “kicking against the goads,” fighting what Christ would have for the life of any of His children. Oh how God wants the best for His kids; and anytime we “kick against the goads,” we simply resist the wonderful and fruitful life God has for us. All He wants us to do is to surrender and quit “kicking against the goads.”
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I surrender all !! Amen

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