Kicking Against The Pricks
Kicking against the “pricks is King James Version language; what I memorized as a child. Modern translations use “goads. Either will do, but “pricks is more expressive to me. God may use a slight prick in our life to get our attention or to guide us, like the sting of a needle, or He may use something more severe and painful, akin to a sword. In any case this illustration used by the Lord when speaking to Paul in his life-transforming-Damascus-road-encounter was a common sight in 1st Century agrarian society and clear to Paul in its meaning. Prior to this encounter, a dramatic prick that penetrated his hard heart, Paul’s life was a constant resistance to the Gospel, to God’s plan revealed in Christ in the fulfillment of God’s Law of which Paul erroneously thought he was the chief defender. Instead, much about Paul lashed out at the Law written on his heart and conscience (Romans 2:15); he railed against the truth of the Creator’s plan and manifested a bitter refusal to accept the true Messiah; the Lord who had laid claims on him.
Through the reading and study of the Scriptures, consistent and logical reasoning of facts, personal faith, and life experience, the sovereignty of God in our lives is simply irrefutable, though the blindness of sin produces many ranting objections to the contrary. You may not comprehend the depths or process of God’s sovereignty and subsequent divine plan in yours and others lives, or the parallel truth that we are definitely not automatons. Rather, we are willful beings cast in the image of the One who made us, even though we have succumbed to rebellion, producing in us a spirit of “kicking against the pricks; a burden many carry on their backs through life producing at various times resentment, bitterness, guilt, indifference, bondage, and dysfunction, despite every conceived machination to express your personal “freedom; a freedom from any “encumbrance which would weigh on your “free choice to do what you want, when you want, even if it kills you. God’s natural laws alone, such as gravity, genes, or health, will tell us our so called “freedom needs to be understood with a grain of salt and a wink of the eye. But what really “gets one’s goat is to be told or to think that God can in any way control your autonomy. In some cases this instigates virulent objection, in others, total or partial indifference; either one equates to the Old Testament Hebrew word “hate; hating your Maker with opposition, denial, or indifference. His Enemy and yours gloats in this behavior and claims such to be “his children. (John 8:44)
The common world view that saturates every area of our society, and most noticeably much of the world of academia and public education, does not recognize nor acknowledge the truth of original sin or its pervasiveness in human society, nor what to do with it. All expression of this world view no matter the contributing sources is a state of mind content with contradiction and incoherence toward what is. Myriad evidences in life contrary to this prevailing thought process are ignored, the pricks against which many persistently kick.
I see God’s sovereign hand at work in every part of my life’s journey. It is not a journey devoid of pain, sorrow, disappointment, or even premature death of child and wife. If you think God’s sovereignty is there to give you a life devoid of any hardship, think again, or read the Bible. Nevertheless, when rightly understood as you walk with the Lord in the light of His word, His burden is truly light and His yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30). You will not understand this as long as you kick against the pricks, and as long as you have not experienced the truth of Wesley’s great hymn, “And Can It Be that I Should Gain an Interest in the Savior’s Blood. The goads, the pricks, are life-saving. I fear for those whose nerves go numb when the Almighty stops His striving.
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