Right at the end of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses delivers a final sermon from the Lord. He asks Israel who they will serve. Who will they choose for their master? He warns that whatever path they take will bring its unique repercussions.
Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you.
The Lord has brought us from darkness to light.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the son of His love,” (Colossians 1:13)
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
He has delivered us from sin’s consequences, and its power.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:8-9)
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
He has made us his children and heirs.
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are…heirs according to the promise.” (Galations 3:29)
“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galations 4:6-7)
Besides all this, He gives us peace, joy, hope, comfort, strength, and a host of other blessings that I don’t have room nor time to reference.
Why wouldn’t we choose to serve Him?
But somehow or other, I find myself unwilling from time to time to obey my Creator who did everything for me.
So He lets me serve my enemies. Not people, but the world, sin, Satan, and my flesh.
What exhausting taskmasters these four are! You serve and slave, but still they demand more–more sin, more worldly satisfaction, more fleshly pleasure–without rest. Contrast this with the One who bids us “cast all our care upon Him, for He cares for us.” (paraphrased from 1 Peter 5:7)
If I insist on serving my enemies, I will be weak and weary, “in need of everything.”
I will hunger, unsatisfied, for the Word of Life.
I will thirst, desperate, for the Living Water.
My taskmasters will strip from me my robe of righteousness.
And I will cry out for rest, peace, and relief from the yoke of the masters I chose instead of Christ.
Strange, the way I find it difficult to remember this before I tell the LORD, “No, I don’t think I want to do what You asked of me. Not this time.”
The LORD certainly doesn’t desire us to choose our enemies for masters. He warns us what they’ll do to us. He says:
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days;” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Why would we not cling to our Life?
When I find myself serving my enemies, I don’t have to throw off the yoke by myself. I can’t anyway. All I must do is beg my Lord’s forgiveness, and He gives it. He calls me back to His service, and then I may try again to do what He asks. He is a gracious Master.