The Ox and the Goad
Acts 26:12-18
Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,…

Jesus even out of heaven speaks in parables, according to His wont. To Paul He briefly utters the parable of the rebellious ox. Note the tenderness of the appeal: it is not, "Thou art harming Me by thy persecutions," bat, "Thou art wounding thyself." He saith not, "It is hard for Me," but "hard for thee." Observe —

I. THE OX. A fallen man deserves no higher type.

1. You are acting like a brute beast, in ignorance and passion. You are unspiritual, thoughtless, unreasonable.

2. Yet God values you more than a man does an ox.

3. Therefore He feeds you, and does not slay you.

4. You are useless without guidance, and yet you are unwilling to submit to your Master's hand.

5. If you were but obedient you might be useful, and might find content in your service.

6. You have no escape from the choice of either to obey or to die, and it is useless to be stubborn.

II. THE OX GOAD. You have driven the Lord to treat you as the husbandman treats a stubborn ox.

1. The Lord has tried you with gentle means — a word, a pull of the rein, etc. by parental love, by tender admonitions of friends and teachers, and by the gentle promptings of His Spirit.

2. Now He uses the more severe means —

(1)  Of solemn threatening by His law.

(2)  Of terrors of conscience, and dread of judgment.

(3)  Of loss of relatives, children, friends.

(4)  Of sickness, and varied afflictions.

(5)  Of approaching death, with a dark future beyond it.

3. You are feeling some of these pricks, and cannot deny that they are sharp. Take heed lest worse things come upon you.

III. THE KICKS AGAINST THE GOAD. These are given in various ways by those who are resolved to continue in sin. There are —

1. Early childish rebellions against restraint.

2. Sneers at the gospel, at ministers, at holy things.

3. Wilful sins against conscience and light.

4. Revilings and persecutions against God's people.

5. Questionings, infidelities, and blasphemies.

IV. THE HARDNESS OF ALL THIS TO THE OX. It hurts itself against the goad, and suffers far more than the driver designs.

1. In the present. You are unhappy; you are full of unrest and alarm; you are increasing your chastisement, and fretting your heart.

2. In the best possible future. You will feel bitter regrets, have desperate habits to overcome, and much evil to undo. All this if you do at last repent and obey.

3. In the more probable future. You are preparing for yourself increased hardness of heart, despair and destruction. Oh, that you would know that no possible good can come of kicking against God, who grieves over your infatuations!Conclusion:

1. Yield to the discipline of your God.

2. He pities you now, and begs you to consider your ways.

3. It is Jesus who speaks; be not so brutish as to refuse Him that speaks from heaven.

4. You may yet, like Saul of Tarsus, become grandly useful, and plough many a field for the Lord Jesus.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,

WEB: "Whereupon as I traveled to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests,

The Conversion of Saul: its Genuineness
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