Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sometimes We Need a Godly Smack

When I was Younger I had the opportunity to go with my father when he was hauling cattle.  I had a lot of fun, especially when I got to use the cattle prod.  Okay, maybe a little too much fun.  The cattle prod was used to guide the cattle into the run and then onto the truck.  If the steers weren't cooperating you could just hit them with a little shock from the cattle prod and most of the time they could be easily guided into the shoot.  However, every now and then one of them would get a little stubborn and my dad would take a club and smack it right between the horns and it would become a little more cooperative.

 This is what the lord was talking about when He spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus.  And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” (Acts 9:5)  A goad is a stick that they would sharpen and then use it to guide cattle as they herded them around, an old fashioned cattle prod.  Apparently the Lord had been trying to get Saul's attention and he was kicking against the goads, ignoring God's voice.  So God had to smack Saul down off that horse, knocked him off his high horse if you will, to get his attention.  It worked and most of us know the rest of the story, Saul became Paul and became an apostle of God and probably the greatest preacher of all time.

 Several years ago I too needed to get smacked down off my high horse.  I had taken a job in a city which had made ministry impossible for me. I stopped preaching, I eventually stopped going to church, and then I gradually stopped coming home.  It not only affected my relationship wife, it nearly destroyed it.  My relationship with Christ was even worse.  I had stopped listening to God's prodding. I asked my wife for a divorce and was on my way to meet her to discuss the details, or as she put it, “to work things out.”

I wasn’t having any part of, “working things out.”my mind was set.  On the way to that meeting, on a corner I had made every day for months, I couldn’t keep my lane and wrecked my bike.  I hit a minivan head on at 45mph.  I lay there in the road thinking, “this is it, it’s over.”

It was then that it hit me, if I die, I’m going to Hell.  I knew the truth, I had taught the Word of God, and now I was living as if there were no God, worse, I had become my own god.  I knew I was blessed just to be alive.  My wife was waiting for the ambulance at the hospital.  Wow!  What a spectacular display of God’s love through her.  I had disregarded her as a woman, despised her very existence at times, and treated her as if she were a burden.  All along I failed to see that God made her for me, blessed me with a strong, patient, godly and forgiving woman and I was acting like a fool. I knew the Lord was trying to tell me to go home and restore my marriage and my family.  It took a smack between the eyes, but I am so glad the Lord didn't just stop talking to me altogether.

 So often we get caught up in our own desires and ignore our calling and purpose.  That's what James was talking about, "when tempted no one should say that God is tempting them...we sin when we are dragged away and enticed by our own evil desires."  We kick against the goads, find ourselves completely outside His will going down a road toward selfishness and self-destruction.  Thank God that He loves us enough that He keeps pursuing us.  He who did not spare His only Son will also go to whatever lengths necessary to get us back on the right track.  I don't know about you, but I'm glad that God has a big stick and He isn’t afraid to use it.

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