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GOADS AND NAILS
By Ken Blue
“And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12 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.” Ecclesiastes 12:10-12.
Those who minister to God’s people could learn much from Solomon, the Master Preacher. The first thing we discover is that the preacher must be apt to teach and give the people knowledge. Not only must he give heed to the Scriptures, he is also to be observant of people and his surroundings. When Solomon saw a broken or a vine-covered wall, he discovered a practical truth worth teaching.
In addition, he was able to set in order his findings so the mind could assimilate them. The preacher must master this art. Solomon was sure the words he taught were upright and the truth. This assurance gives the preacher confidence and the power needed in the pulpit.
When handled properly, the Word of God becomes goads and nails in the hand of the teaching pastor. A goad was a long stick, sharpened to a point and used to prod the oxen to greater commitment. Sometimes a sharp piece of steel was fastened to the end of a stick. It served as an ox goad and a weapon of war. There are times when the preacher must goad the people to get them moving in the right direction for Christ.
Nails served two purposes in Scripture; sometime they fastened timbers together to frame a building. The other purpose for nails was to hang something on. Thus the preacher must observe scripture and world events in order to teach and motivate God’s people. Also, his task is to build up the people by rightly dividing the Scriptures and giving correct doctrine for this dispensation. He must know which promises are for the body of Christ and then help others hang their faith on these. Many of God’s people are given false promises which do not belong to the church. This is a great tragedy in preaching.
Although there is no end to the production of good books, the preacher must be careful that he does not neglect the Word of God for the books of men. Study in hard work, and it is the work all pastors are called to do.