Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Acts 26:1-23

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads. (Acts 26:14)

What is a goad? Even though we may use the expression, “You goaded me into this,” many of us still probably do not know what a goad is. Understanding the cultural background of the Bible often helps us understand the imagery it uses.

The Greek word for “goad” (_kentron_) basically means “a sharp point.” In fact, the word occurs in Revelation 9:10 for the “stings” of the locusts (see also 1 Cor. 15:55-56). In the ancient world, a farmer who wanted to control an ox while plowing used a sharp, pointy stick. If the animal started running, his foot would kick back against the goad, and he would feel sharp pain and slow down.

Saul’s resistance to God’s will was like kicking against the goads. God planned to chastise the young man until he focused his life in the direction God wanted him to go.

Are you resisting God’s will for your life? Are you feeling pain and dissatisfaction because you’re not doing what God wants you to do? Then you are kicking against the goads. We must all examine our lives and the direction we are going, and God will prod us until we yield to his will – not to punish us, but in love.


Lord God, I pray you will not need to use your goad on me. Help me to see your will and then do it cheerfully and willingly. Amen.