Kicking Against the Goads

I hear the Lord saying, “I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life. I will advise you along the way and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide. So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. Don’t make me tug you and pull you along. Just come with me!”

Psalms‬ ‭32:8-9‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I don’t know where the resistance rises up in me, but today is like that. I had a concept for a blog post that came to me a few days ago and each time I tried to work on it, I struggled to piece it together feeling like I was forcing scriptures to fit the way I wanted them to fit. Beyond that, I couldn’t find a suitable picture. I went to bed frustrated and woke up resisting writing. The phrase “kicking against the goads” kept repeating in my mind, and I resisted that, too. So, here I am, looking into the scriptures, following the trail God is leading me on.

“At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’”

Acts‬ ‭26:13-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What about Saul’s life caused Jesus to make these claims that he was persecuting Jesus, and he was resisting Jesus’ call?

Then Paul said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs. I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did, just like all of you today.”

Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭22:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As Paul reflects on his life as Saul, he tells us he was well educated. He desired to honor God. He had studied all the scriptures that should have convinced him that Jesus was the Messiah. Yet, he sought to find fault in Jesus claims, and persecuted the members of The Way.

Jesus used the term “kicking against the goads” which was a common phrase in this time period. A goad was a spiked rod used to prod an animal forward. As long as the animal was moving in the right direction, they would be well, but if they resisted, there would be pain.

To me this indicates that Saul had been present during Jesus public ministry, hearing the words and seeing the miracles Jesus performed. But something within him resisted the call to believe. Was it resistance to change? Was it stepping out of structure and taking a step of faith? Was it moving past the dependence on what is known and moving into the boundless unknown?

Resistance, isn’t that what we feel moving out of our comfort zones?

Read Psalms 39:8-9 again. Do you trust God’s word that he is guiding you? That he has the best way forward?

I don’t want to be the stubborn mule that needs the bit and bridle or the ox that kicks against the goads. Whether it is into the unknown or down a well-worn path, I want to follow where he leads.

Are you resisting? Will it take a bolt of lightning and a thunderous voice from heaven to get your attention? Or will you follow his soft whispers and his gentle nudges?

This song popped into my mind: O Come to the Alter. This is a great place to start.

Grace & Peace,


Image of fist by John Hain from Pixabay—final image created in Canva.

2 thoughts on “Kicking Against the Goads

  1. Gene

    I had to laugh reading this one because I know you struggled getting this one out. Also because it’s is so true in many ways reminding me of moments in life I can reflect on.
    Good job honey.

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