Month 1:9, Week 2:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year:Day 5936:009 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 31 March 2012
Those Sharp Goads
The Driven Enemies of the Gospel
Why it is that there are some people who want to seize every opportunity to try and expose the faith of believers? Why do these people wish to engage us in open debate before other people? Why are they not content to leave believers alone? Is it possible that they are afraid of what we believe? Are they perhaps afraid that our emunah (faith) is alive after all, and true after all, and right and proper for all men after all? No one in their right mind kicks a dead dog so if Elohim (God) is really non-existent, what are these people so afraid of? Why do they compulsively want to attack, ridicule and destroy believers?
We do, of course, know the answers to these questions - or ought to. Paul of Tarsus was one of these compulsive opponents of the faith when it was yet young - and when he finally met the resurrected Yah'shua (Jesus) he was asked:
A goad is a sharp pointed stick used for urging on cattle and other livestock. Here Yah'shua (Jesus) says that resisting the emet (truth) of who He is is like kicking a sharp stick and wondering why it hurts so much. Yah'shua (Jesus) is trying to get this very angry man, who was determined to exterminate believers and the Besorah (Gospel), to face the facts as to his irrational behaviour. 'What are you afraid of? Why are you so bad against the believers? Why do you torture them, making them blaspheme and so incriminate them in courts? Why do you imprison them? Why don't you leave them alone? What are you afraid of? Why this mad rush to Damascus to root them out like vermin? What can a few harmless men and a handful of women do to you? Look in your own soul, Saul! There is the bogey - the mischievous spirit! Is he really outside in Damascus, or is he per chance inside you peering at you through the eyes of your own soul?'
"Why do you continue to persecute Me - to harass and trouble and molest Me? It is dangerous and turns out badly for you to keep kicking against the goads - [that is], to offer vain and perilous resistance?" (Ac.28:14, Amp.V.)
When people get angry at the Besorah (Gospel) they are strong witnesses to the emet (truth) of the Besorah (Gospel) - which is why Paul has become one of the most powerful witnesses Christianity ever had. And now people are mad against him! Listen to what Jews, Muslims and a few unsaved messianics say about Him! Just listen to their 'explanations' for his powerful conviction - 'He got terrible sunstroke on the Damascus Road! He underwent an hallucination! His theology is out of alignment with the teaching of Yah'shua (Jesus)! It's anti-Torah! And his outlook on life? It's jaundiced, sour-mouthed, and utterly repressed! He was a busybody in other men's matters. He was a misogenyst - he hated women!'
So I ask, why do people find any and every stick they can find with which to beat this emissary of Elohim (God)? I suggest the reason they do this is because they sense the emet (truth) of all that came to him on the Damascus Road - or at least their demons do - demons who have got into them because of the lies they believe about the emet (truth) - and all they want to do is snuff that light out - that light which exposes their own darkness. After all, you don't kick a dead dog! Yet the more you kick against a goad, the more it hurts!
Someone who is kicking against the goads is in reality dealing with memories that won't leave them alone. They are dealing with something else. Saul's own religion - Judaism - wasn't giving him peace of mind. The sense of Judaism is Pelagian - you work out your own salvation - you tot up an account with God of all your prayers, all your alms-giving, and all your kindly thoughts and ways. More than that, you set your hopes on all the times you have obeyed the mitzvot (commandments). Yes, of course, there have been lapses. Yes, of course, there have been sins: there has been the adulterous look, the cruel act. But you hope that in the end, when the great book-keeping Elohim (God) up there makes up the final score, your good deeds will out-balance all that might be set against you, and so Elohim (God) will take you to your final home.
This is legalism in religion and it's the basis of all false religion from the oldest sophisticaled pagan religion, Hinduism, to the most primitive animism. And legalism is the very heart of Judaism. And it's darned hard work! It's a very uncertain work because, of course, you never know until the books are opened whether you have 'passed' or not. All this goaded Saul on the Damascus Road. It had been goading him for months. Can legalism be right? Can Yahweh be a book-keeper? Is there no peace of mind now? And hope now? And eternal life now? And because he feared he might be wrong, Saul kicked his way against the goad - that sharp stick pricking his conscience - hoping it would go away.
Now legalism may have been one goad but another was surely Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself. He is an uncommonly sharp goad in life. Indeed, He takes an extraordinary amount of explaining away for those determined not to believe in Him. And Paul never did explain Him away. And what about those who, after His death, carried His self-same spirit? You don't push innocent men and women into filthy oriental dungeons without them doing something to your soul. The first victim of hate is not him who is hated, but he who hates. And when your victims turn and bless you and pray for you who despitefully use them, asking Yahweh to open your eyes to see the folly of your ways - how do you sleep after that? How do you think after that? How do you go your way as if the world were any kind of lovely place? Could these believers be wrong? Could their Messiah be false? Could their faith be one huge damnable lie? Saul was all but at breaking point...
Perhaps you, like myself and this ministry, have experienced people who have been filled with hate against you - filled with hate because of the goads. They have either had to flee or be broken on the anvil of their own stubborn pride and rebellion. Not everyone turns in repentance as Paul did - some stubbornly cling onto their hate into death and into damnation, the ultimate stupidity. They fail to grasp that what it is that turns them against true believers is not the believers themselves but the demons within them who are reacting to the power that is in believers - that unfathomable Ruach (Spirit) that transforms every soul surrendering to the Nazarene - the same power that confronted Paul on the road to Damascus and revealed to him that Messiah was still alive even though He had died, that Messiah is real, that Messiah is Elohim (God). That was Paul's abiding conviction.
As we approach the Passover season in just a few days and return to examining the basics of our faith, it is well to remember what all of this is really all about: emet (truth) vs. lies. Paul was on the run from emet (truth), as all of us are at different times in our life, and we have a choice to embrace it - wherever it may lead us - or fight it and torment both ourselves and persecute those who have yielded to that emet (truth). One lady, who was being challenged by the emet (truth) on my website resisted it so strongly that she determined not only to oppose me with all her might but try to destroy me and my family too. She explained away the power of the Ruach (Spirit) in my witness by accusing me of engaging in premeditated 'hypnotic writing', whatever that is. She has hurt a lot of people but she has hurt herself most of all.
As the whole world faces an uncertain future, as dictators try to seize power everywhere, including our own countries, it's important more than ever that we get spiritual emet (truth) right first of all before we try sorting out all the lies being presented to us in the political, social and scientific spheres. If you are one of those kicking against the goads, may you do the wise thing and finally yield to the Master of Emet (Truth), for that emet (truth) will, I guarantee, set you free (Jn.8:32).