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Let’s read the fascinating account of the salvation of Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul.  Acts 9:1-8 says, “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 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. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.”

The conversion of this man is so important to us.  He will be the instrument the Lord will use to teach so many truths concerning Christ and His church.  Paul would later say of himself in 2 Timothy 1:11, “…I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”  Just who appointed Paul to this great work?  He was appointed, or ordained, by the only one with the authority to ordain men, the Lord Jesus Christ as we read in Galatians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead).”

However, just like many of us, there was a time when this great man worked against the Lord.  In fact, he was on his way to persecute Christians in a town called Damascus, when he met the Lord.  As we read, Saul was getting near Damascus, when the Lord came to him in a bright light.  Upon seeing this bright light, Saul fell to his knees and heard the voice of the Lord saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”  From these words we learn a valuable and encouraging lesson.  When you persecute the Lord’s church, you are persecuting the Lord.  How close He has made us to be with Him.  To attack a believer for his stand for the Lord is to attack the Lord Himself.

When Saul asked who it was that was talking to Him, the Lord answered, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”  The pricks, or goads, speak of sticks with a pointed piece of metal at the tip that the farmer would use to steer his ox when plowing his fields.  Sometimes, the ox would get mad at being stuck by the goad and would rebel by kicking against it.  This, of course would only make matters worse and the ox would be pricked even worse.  The words used by the Lord show that Saul was evidently under conviction and was kicking against the very thing that was causing his conviction: the Lord.  So many of us, when under conviction, strike out fiercely against the Lord until we finally realize that it is the pricking of the conscience that the Lord uses to bring us to repentance and salvation.

So, while Saul was threatening and persecuting the church, it was really because he was under conviction of the Lord.  Perhaps this is a good lesson for us to learn.  When we see people who seem to be totally against the Lord, it may just be that the Lord is dealing with them and they are fighting against His conviction of them.  May we not reject these people, but prayerfully seek to share the Gospel with them.  It may be your efforts that will bring them to faith in the Lord so that they may ask, even as Saul did, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”  (117.3)