Kicking Against the Goads

When Jesus appeared to Saul (soon to be the Apostle Paul) He told him something very interesting. He said:

“It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

Now up unto this point Saul had been a persecutor of Christians. Reading through this today this verse stood out to me and I had to research what a “goad” was. I found out that it is a sharp pointed stick used to move oxen. So what I get from this is that Jesus was telling Saul it’s hard to keep doing that which was hurting him. Kicking against a pointed stick is going to hurt! Also since a goad is used to push oxen in a certain direction Jesus could have been implying that Saul was fighting against a direction he was being pushed. Reading into this even more we could conclude that Jesus was telling Saul that deep down he knew what he was doing was wrong. He knew he was headed in the wrong direction and that it was hurting him but he was continuing that way anyways.

I think “the goads” symbolizes our conscience.

Paul later wrote this to the Romans:

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them. -Romans 2:14-15

Here Paul is telling us that many people who do not know God or have His written word still act out morally and often know by their conscience that what they are doing is either right or wrong. They know this because there is a natural moral law written on the hearts of men and implanted by God in all people.

Sometimes I just don’t understand us humans. I can think back to specific points in my life where I was clearly acting against what I knew to be right. I have deliberately disobeyed my conscience and done that which I knew would hurt me. Why? Why do we do this?

It’s hard to kick against the goads.

7 thoughts on “Kicking Against the Goads

  1. sophiedavis

    I completely agree with you on this one.
    And the verb “to sin” actually means, to go against oneself. We often think of sin as something that we do against God. But it’s actually against ourselves. And God loves us so much. He wants the best for us. Therefore He doesn’t want us to hurt ourselves.
    When we think about it, how could we sin against God. That would be saying that God can be hurt by us, that we can affect Him in a negative way. But as humans, we don’t have that power. We only have the power to choose between doing good to ourselves or hurting ourselves pretty bad. We often choose the latter!
    (Thank you for liking my post btw 🙂

  2. nopew

    I would say that this is just another example that God is NOT invisible. We have an ability to connect with God, and often those who have never known Jesus live lives that bring honour to Him through their love and justice. I have found many facets of the First Nations of this continent to speak loudly to that. And we prefer to follow the example of Eve and Adam (disobey) even when it hurts! May God help us to love like Jesus said to do instead.

    1. Justin Post author

      True. Though we do not see God standing physically in front of us we see Him in so many other ways like love and morality, nature (what is made Rom 1:20) and of course through Jesus (Col 1:15).

  3. 1woman2women

    Thank you for the like on my post. Romans 7 speaks about warring with our flesh. Paul writes about how he wanted to do right, but evil is present. Our flesh has to die daily in order to submit to the spirit. Once Paul submitted to the Spirit of God, which was written in Romans 8 that the law of the Spirit of Christ Jesus has set him free from the law of sin and death. He was no longer under that bondage.

    1. Justin Post author

      Thanks for commenting. Romans 7 is great scripture to go with the post and a perfect example of our flesh driving us to do what we know to be wrong. I love Romans 8. That is a very powerful chapter! 🙂

  4. Idebenone

    Wasn’t that wonderful! Jesus was speaking to Saul from heaven. Saul was certainly surprised! He had been arresting the disciples of Jesus and putting them in prison, and he had consented to the stoning of Stephen for preaching about Jesus. But now Jesus was speaking to Saul, and he knew from this that he had been doing wrong in causing the friends of Jesus to suffer.


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