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Kicks are for Kids
In Defense of the Faith
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Kari Velemirovich

To be socially acceptable one is expected to use effective interpersonal communication skills to make their points; politely.  But in some cases more force is needed to drive a point home.

In Acts 9 we find Saul on the road to Damascus doing the Lord’s work (or so he thought).  This story is very familiar.   It begins with Saul being struck down by a big shining light.   It was the Lord Jesus Christ!  Jesus says two things to Saul.  One is a question and the next a statement.  The statement is what has always given me a moment of pause. 

“It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”

Before this momentous meeting Saul appears extremely rebellious, prideful and indignant.  Saul killed God’s people for a living, obviously that qualifies as the ‘wrong path’.  What could be more rebellious than that?  Sharp and painful that is what Saul deserved!  He was as dumb as a…ox!

Plowing is hot, labour intensive and just overall hard work.  Thankfully a rototiller has been manned and set to work in my field.  Turning, tilling, amending, mulching then begin again.  It’s a cycle.  For a small patch a rototiller does the job and it is miles ahead of  the lowly shovel.

Back in the day they didn’t have fancy machines, like we do today.  Beasts of burden were latched to the plows (often ox) which were guided by the farmer. Now with the price of gas so high, many have turned to the old way of doing things.  It may be a little more sweat of the brow but it is definitely more cost effective.

After the initial investment oxen require little care. They are extremely strong, work well alone or in a team, and will do the work of ten men.  But!  They are stubborn and can be brutal to train.

The ox is mentioned several times in the Word as a literal beast of the field.  One verse has the ox referenced to someone who carries the Word.

"For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.  Doth God care for the oxen?" (1 Corinthians 9:9)

Paul went blind for awhile.  Being a “righteous" Pharisee and having memorized “the law”, Paul had a lot to think on.

In Bible times they used oxen a lot. Still in various parts of the world an ox is the most viable option for getting the fields ready.

One piece of equipment for training is known as a goad or a prick.  The prick is a sharp point on a long stick that the farmer uses to keep the ox on the path he has mapped out in his head.  The farmer is not required to divulge his reasoning to the ox; and besides the ox wouldn’t understand anyway.

The pricks are not for the faint of heart; neither for the farmer nor the ox.  I am certain that the farmer would rather not use the prick, but it can’t be easy guiding a huge stubborn ox.

The prick, as the object of training really has no feelings about the ox’s comfort level.  It has no feelings at all, it is just a tool.

When the ox fights to go in another direction the prick is driven in by the farmer, but the ox thinks it’s the prick causing the pain.  That big dumb ox tries to kick the prick away…again and again…. The end result is an ox obediently traveling its path or an injured, useless ox licking its wounds in the barn. 

Paul was “the chosen messenger to the Gentiles”.  Jesus had a path mapped out for Saul but it wasn’t the direction that Saul thought was right.  In fact, it was the exact opposite to what he just knew was right, according to the law.  He was a learned and great Pharisee after all.

Interesting how scripture is always the same, but sometimes it takes being blind for a time to be able to really see things.

Looking at the message again I had a look at what the word “prick” is in the Hebrew. (I am still amazed that I can look up Hebrew).  

Prick is not a noun as presented on the surface of the scripture but a verb meaning to learn, to teach, to be taught, to be trained.

Our home is in heaven, but our house is on earth.  The pricks keep us mindful of that.  The path that gets us home is rocky, painful and hot at times but it will be worth it all come Harvest time.

And that's when the ox may rest.

About Kari Velemirovich

Last article: Corn and Spinach



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