End Of 2022 – The Words Of The Wise Are As Goads!

Ecclesiastes 12:11 “The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.”

Hello readers, today is my final post for this year, I think! I’ve got many more on my mind to do, and maybe another one tomorrow on officially the last day of 2022, see how it goes.

I posted this writeup on my Facebook with a picture of a farmer and his oxen holding an ox goad in his hand. You can look up “goad” or ox goad for yourself to get the picture, quite literally, but I do hope this blog will be a blessing to you.

The Bible is amazing with it’s object lessons which help us to understand who God is, how God works, and who we are as well. The picture of the farmer with his goad prodding the ox is quite informative and instructive.

Perhaps you know the word “goad”. Many people know the word “goad” in terms of being provoked or teased into responding. You’ve probably been “goaded” before by someone that’s called you a name or abused you, and you reacted.

The use of the word “goad” comes from an instrument that farmers for thousands of years have used to make their cattle move, and move in the right direction. If the oxen won’t move when the farmer is ready or wants them to, or they decide to go off course, then that farmer is likely to jab them with his goad.

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines a “goad” as “a pointed instrument used to stimulate a beast to move faster”. And the “pointy” part is a key feature of the goad, because that sharp bit at the end is what really gets the ox’s attention, as you can probably imagine. Just imagine someone jabbing you with a needle… it’s sure to get a fast and angered response from you.

With that in mind, the Bible likens the words of the wise to “goads”. What are those wise words, and who speaks them? Well, those words are the words of God found in the Holy Bible, not ours. And they’re spoken by us, or meant to be, hopefully by me too. Note: it’s not me saying I am wise, listen to my wisdom, but I can and should tell you what the Bible says.

In truth, none of us are wise, why are we likened to sheep, because we need a shepherd. And anyone who has really obtained wisdom then only further understands how they and we don’t possess any real wisdom of our own.

As Christians, we are not supposed to lean on our wisdom, nor minister it to others, we are meant to get in line with God’s word, and once that, to give the word of God to others also. So if you don’t like the goad, go complain to the “one shepherd” about his tool. But boy, people sure don’t like the old ox goad of God’s word.

Why does the farmer have to use a goad? Well because the ox has a strong will of its own, it’s also relatively dumb, it has a thick skin, and it’s slow, stubborn and obstinate. The ox also cannot see the bigger picture, that is, what’s trying to be achieved and how to achieve it aka wisdom.

Are we paying attention yet? The parallels of this to the spiritual realm are staggering. And the goad is actually used to get the ox’s attention. God is wanting your attention! How hard does he have to jab you and how many times!

These are unbelievable parallels that relate to us and the way God works in our lives to get our attention, wake us up, and move us in the right direction. Instead of the farmer jabbing the oxen’s hide with the goad, God’s word pricks in the heart and spirit of man, a place far thicker, tougher and loathe to learn than the oxen’s skin. Don’t you think?

No, we don’t like it. I don’t like it either. But often what we need and what we want are very far apart. Remember, that oxen doesn’t have the vision, foresight and understanding that the farmer has, that’s why the farmer has the goad and the ox does not. Likewise, God has the goad because he’s God, and we are not.

Please note: the ox goad is not designed to hurt and injure the animal, neither is the Bible us, it’s designed to wake us up, break through our pride and get us going in our life so God can produce good fruit in our lives. It’s for our good. Remember, the ox is a very valuable farm animal, so it doesn’t benefit the farmer to injure it, but the ox does need to submit to the mind that can direct it’s effort.

And the result speak for themselves. Compare a field where the oxen is doing whatever it wants to a field where there is a farmer with a goad at work. That ploughed field ready to grow crops and reap a bountiful harvest to feed both man and beast would never get completed without the humble ox goad.

So how do we respond to the goad? You can “kick against the pricks” like oxen do before they learn the folly and futility of doing so. And they only injure themselves kicking back and lashing out. Take note from that, when you kick back at God, you’re not hurting him, you’re hurting yourself “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;”

Obviously the “kick against the pricks” quote comes from Saul’s conversion experience on the Damascus road. Saul (later known as Paul) had been goaded a lot, he’d observed Jesus Christ, he’d heard the preaching, he knew what the disciples were about, and he was familiar with the Christian faith. But he persecuted it, and he vehemently opposed it.

But he was kicking against the pricks. Just think at the end of that goad, that pointy end that can prick straight through a tough ox hide… Paul was kicking back against it. And many people are like that with the Bible, they really jack up against it, they hate the Bible and anyone who speaks it. Don’t let this be you, all you’re going to do is hurt yourself “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks”. Man picture kicking your legs into a sharp spike… that’s gotta be painful.

Alternatively… you can respond to the goad in repentance and faith. Peter preached a stinging message on the day of Pentecost, but in Acts 2:37 “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?” This is the way to respond to the goad. Let the goad be a wake up call you need in life, a reminder when you need reminding, and a call to salvation and eternal life that places you and keeps you in the way to heaven.

Note finally: one of the goad’s principal uses is to make the ox move faster. The goad reminds us of the importance of time. Because time is running out, another year has gone by… farmers know that you need to get stuff done in a certain time period or you miss out for the whole year. Likewise, salvation is something that for all of us, needs to happen in time. It’s a matter of urgency… stop wasting time!

And to finish up, I did find it amazing how the next thought flowed from the first, regarding nails. Because those goads that prick you then become nails that keep things where they need to be in life. When you nail something in place, it’s because you’re trying to keep it there, to keep it from slipping or falling out. When you get saved, nail some things down. Instead of God’s word needing to be driven into you again and again, start putting it to you, start driving truth into the life that God is assembling, nail down what you believe and why you believe it, get some things firmly in place which cannot be moved.

Anyway, I know God’s word is a goad to many people. It’s annoying, it’s unwelcome and they kick back at it. Maybe it’s you. I know what it’s like to be pricked in the heart and kick back and lash out, I’m well familiar with it. And it’s fair to say we all are, but how we respond to the goad is vital, imagine an ox that never learns from the goad, keeps kicking and is useless for purpose. Will we ever learn? Sooner the later I hope!

And happy new year, I hope 2023 goes very well for you, thank you and God bless.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)

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