“The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.” – Ecclesiastes 12:10-11
The late great Leonard Ravenhill was quoted as saying, “we spend a lot of time explaining the bible but very little time believing it. One day someone is going to pick up a bible and simply believe it, and that person will change the world.”
How true that is, and that is exactly the point that Solomon was making in this passage in Ecclesiastes. Solomon, recorded in scripture as being the wisest man that ever lived, by divine gifting, came to a point where he realized it was utterly pointless to search for truth anywhere else then from God and His written Word.
“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:12-14
Searching for truth in the world will weary your flesh but receiving truth from God will refresh your soul. Simply put, believe, reverence, trust, and obey God and His every Word. That includes the uncomfortable words also, not just the loving and encouraging ones, but also the hard words of correction and direction that prick our hearts. You see, a “goad” is a pointed stick that pricks and animal (such as an ox) to make it move forward when it doesn’t want to, or to keep it on a straight and narrow path when it wants to veer off. The words of the wise are as goads that prick the hearts of those that are veering off course and impart wisdom to the hearer by instilling or re-instilling the fear of the Lord in them. For we know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
“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.” – Acts 9:4-5
The “pricks” that Jesus referred to in this addressing of Paul before he was saved on the road to Damascus is the same as the “goad“. When the animal is pricked, if it chooses to continue to fight the word of its master and kick against the prick that is goading it, it will hurt itself all the more. Thus Jesus tells Paul that it is hard for him to kick against the prick (or fight against the convicting Word of God and all its glorious and fearful truth).
“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” – Romans 11:22
Sometimes people need to hear the simple truth even if it scares them. Yes God is love and blessings to those who are on the straight and narrow path, but for those who are straying, the severity of God must be reminded them. Don’t be afraid to speak the simple truth of God’s word that it might prick the heart of the lost or straying. Yes it can be uncomfortable for you or for them, possibly even painful, but if it gets them on track and saves them from eternal damnation, is it not worth it? For the prick is meant to cause us to believe and to heed the truth of the Word of God, a little humbling discomfort now is better then eternal torment in hell’s fires later. True love would believe, true love would warn, true love would goad if need be, and true love would fear for those who are not walking in the truth.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” – Jude 1:21-23
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” – Acts 2:36-39