“And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?; And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles— to whom I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:14-18). Another look at this ‘Faith’ event in the Acts of The Apostles.
This 3rd recording of ‘Paul’s Conversion and Call’ in Acts to ‘Christ’(ian) mission is his 2nd telling, again before the judiciaries who hold him captive. New this time is the adding of the direct message from the Lord— “It hurts you to kick against the goads”.
With only 3 uses of ‘kentra/goads’ in New Testament, this concept is seen in the zoological writings of Aristotle. It is the ‘sting of the scorpion’ (as also in Revelation); the ‘quill of the porcupine’; the ‘claw of the bear’. ‘Goad’ is the pain, discomfort and dissatisfaction brought on by the use of power in the preservation of life. In the hands of man ‘goad’ is the ‘prod for cattle’; the ‘stick for oxen’; the ‘staff for the sheep’. It is significant to note also that Paul is now indicating that The Lord spoke this to him in the Hebrew language for the Old Testament use of ‘goad’ references the power of God over the rebellious nature of hu(man).
I have always thought in the ‘radical opposite’ of the mass. In this my ‘Golden Year’ High School Class, I have dug out a phenomenally preserved archive of this history in preparation for reunion. To come across a major reminder of this ‘who I am’ in my 12th Grade Transcript. Having completed the course work to have graduated a year early, I was advised to remain in school and take all Math classes. My Transcript reads: Advanced Math – B; Trigonometry – A; and Algebra2 – A. Clarity now on… my ability to think.
As I think on the “2020 American National Crisis”, I see first what for me is an ‘absence of God in the land’. I cannot in any terms find rationale for the Church being closed. What with the ‘powers and principalities’ of the earth dictating the direction of the ‘religious life’; amidst a virus that has so permanently changed the course of the whole of life for the People of God; the age old question remains: “Where is your faith?”
Then, while total occupation is demanded for the “Virus Narrative” in all of it’s misconceptions; ‘Civil Unrest’ becomes the order of the day… a “Kicking against the goads” of magnanimous proportions.
‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?; And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. While it is the ‘goad in the hands of man’ that is deliberately holding Paul’s life hostage, it is the ‘goad in the hands of The Lord’ that will set him free.
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