While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. Acts 26:12-16 NKJV
Saul, Saul—God knows your name (first, last, and middle). He knows your heart, knows your choices, and knows your needs. He will address you personally and directly. He won’t confuse you with someone else or give you the wrong message.
Why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads (the sting of resisting My will).—Often, when God speaks, He begins with a question. He wants you to consider your ways, your attitudes, and your choices. When He speaks He clears things up immediately. He states things as they truly are in His sight.
So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’—God wants you to be assured that He fully identifies Himself with you because you are His. When you are persecuted for righteousness sake, He is persecuted. He walks with you through every trial and comforts you in every sorrow. When anyone touches God’s people they touch the apple of God’s eye.
But rise and stand on your feet;— There is time to be down on your knees before God and there is a time to rise, stand upon your feet, and respond to His call. God has something He wants you to do, somewhere He wants you to go, and someone He wants you to reach.
I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.— When God appears to you or speaks to you, He does it for a specific purpose. God’s call to you means God’s enabling for you. He will not call you to do anything that will separate you from His presence, His power, or His peace. And remember, your step of obedience to God’s call and purpose is only the beginning. He has so much more ahead—so much more to show you, and so much more that He will do through you as you say “yes” to what He asks.
Years later, after Saul heard God call his name, it is a blessing to hear Saul’s (now Paul’s) testimony before King Agrippa, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” May this be the testimony of each of us as we respond to the call of God upon our lives.