“It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks”
by Ken Pullen
Monday, January 14, 2013
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”
And he said, “Who art thou, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
And he trembling and astonished said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” And the Lord said unto him, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”
The Acts 9: 1-6
This is a preface to articles, or columns, or essays – call them what you want – that I have had come to me regarding judging. Now you might say to yourself what does the beginning of The Acts chapter 9, in which Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee, a devout Jew, a Roman, and a man who was the chief prosecutor of the first Christians have to do with judging? And if so, why did you begin here?
Because OBEDIENCE and JUDGING are sewn together in the words of truth, which are the Word(s) of God. And they cannot be isolated or separated. And in this time of great heresy, apostasy, and confusion – in this time of blatant disobedience while at the same time making blanket statements regarding judging (out of ignorance and who is being served).
Saul, chief prosecutor of Christians, arose from sinking to the earth trembling at the appearance of Jesus Christ the Lord, and was led by the hand to Damascus, where he went to the house of one named Judas, and Saul prayed.
He obeyed Jesus Christ the Lord. Now this was no easy or casual event. This was literally earth-shaking and physically shaking. Spiritually shaking. Saul when he opened his eyes on the road to Damascus could not see.
And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven.
The Acts 9: 3
Saul of Tarsus could not see when he opened his eyes after the visage of Christ the Lord left him on that road. Saul was weakened. A man of power, a man of the law, a man of position weakened and brought to his knees by the power of the truth and the Word(s) of God.
Saul was in bad shape. His world had been altered. He had been stricken blind. Many days may have passed before Ananias came to him and put his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost” (The Acts 9: 17).
The Holy Ghost would not have entered into Saul if he had not already been a man renewed of spirit and mind, a man who had come from threatening, imprisoning, and slaughtering those who believed in Jesus, the crucified Nazarene, who was the Christ, and therefore the son of God. Saul was no longer a man who kicked against the pricks. If unacquainted with what verse 5 in The Acts chapter 9 means; in Biblical times, and still in present day times, farmers who tilled the soil with oxen to plough the furrows used a long stick with a very sharp end. This stick was usually six to seven feet in length according to historians. And when an oxen became belligerent, when an oxen refused to obey the farmer and do what the farmer said the farmer would use the goad, or prick, and nudge the oxen to get it or them to move. If the oxen rebelled still and kicked against the prick its sharp point would dig into the animal even deeper. The more the animal kicked and rebelled the deeper the prick would go into its thick hide.
Saul was continually kicking against the Living God and His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, Christ the Lord. Even though Saul was a devout Jew, pharisee, and man of office.
Saul finally obeyed. And he made judgments as a man in this spiritual path. From that place on the road near Damascus until his last breath as a man of flesh. The two go hand-in-hand and the one cannot exist and survive – live; thrive – without the other.
If this is the first column I’ve written that you have read then you are not familiar with my consistency regarding taking the whole, complete Word of God in context. And railing against picking and choosing select verses, or even partial verses and not taking the meat and bone of the context.
So much is involved in this. From those who permit everything under the sun within their lives while professing they are Christians, to proclaiming “once saved always saved” while not taking the whole meat of God’s Word to their hearts, minds, and spirits.
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1 John 5: 1-2
To merely profess “I believe in Jesus and believe He is my personal Savior” does not save one and grant them a place in heaven.
Sorry, but in modernist times – those being from the ascension of Christ the Lord since in truth from that time until now is very short, in truth, compared to all of time with man and woman on earth from the time of the Garden of Eden – those professing all one need do is to say “I believe in Jesus and take Him as my Savior” to attain eternal life? They have been doing many a grave and deadly disservice. One left to God to judge, but if we take and hold the complete word of God in our lives we must then know by the truth of the Spirit there is more than mere belief – for even Satan believes, and the angels which fell with Satan from heaven believe, and every evil spirit knows and believes Who Jesus Christ the Lord is.
The Apostle John tells us whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. And every one that loves God also loves the Son. This is how we know love, that we love the children of God (true believers as opposed to apostate or convenient ones not following and serving Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives), and when we love God, and His children, both the Son and all Brothers and Sisters in the faith; we keep His commandments.
We obey God. We obey Christ the Lord, Jesus of Nazareth. We obey the Holy Spirit. We obey the complete Word of God. God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God must be “The Boss” of our lives if that is how it must be put in order for understanding to occur. Saul of Tarsus learned this on the road to Damascus and he was a changed man – renewed of mind and spirit, devoting his life to serve the Lord and bring the gospel of life, salvation, justification, and grace to all non-Jews; Gentiles.
We don’t pick and choose from Scripture. We do not say, “Well, that may have been what worked back then, but that no longer applies.”
To do this is to kick against the pricks. To be stubborn. To think we know better and we will not budge from our position. God, the Farmer, the Creator of all, is in charge. He will not be mocked. We will not change God. We must change according to the Word of God. We must not in all we do and say lower God to our level – we must rise up towards God’s level. And this begins and continues while on our knees. Bowed humbly before the Father.
God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God are the same always. Unchangeable. Incorruptible. God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God are the same today as they were yesterday, 2,000 years ago, 90 trillion years ago, and the same as they will be tomorrow; even though man commits the abominations of new translations in which he perverts and corrupts the Word(s) of God, and attempts to make it fit this world rather than us fitting according to God’s Word. Man would have us believe to do so is to be in the service of the Lord our God, rather than serving this world. These are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Leading millions astray. God gives us the minds, the knowledge, the wisdom, the discernment to learn and understand these things through His unchangeable Spirit and Word. We are instructed to rightly divide the Word – this requires faith and judgment. And being of sound doctrine, mind, heart, and spirit for the Lord to work within us. For if we serve this world rather than Him, and if we persist in sin even though we profess we are Christian, we grieve God, we grieve Christ the Lord, and we grieve the Holy Spirit and they will turn from us because they can have no part of sin or evil. We obey God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God out of love, out of respect, out of awe, out of joy and rejoicing at learning the truth and discovering grace and salvation! We do not obey out of drudgery, out of pretension putting on airs thinking if we work at it we’ll make it to heaven! Grace is separate of works, yet works are the evidence of obedience, love, and the Spirit of God working in our hearts!
We must judge. And judge wisely!
There is a very distinct difference between judging a fellow brother or sister to condemnation, or judging an unbeliever to condemnation – as if we are God and we know all – and judging with the wisdom, knowledge, illumination, and discernment given of God by and through the Holy Spirit. We must judge if we are to survive and reach the hoped for promise of eternal life with the Lord in heaven. Unless we judge, and judge wisely, discern well, we will fall prey to the wiles and ways of this world. We must mortify sin and mortify the things of this world from our life, from taking precedence in our life here.
OBEDIENCE and JUDGING cannot be torn apart without both suffering and their purpose being lost.
We will embark upon a series discussing this.