Giving God my Awl
It shall come about if he says to you, “I will not go out from you,“ because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. – Deuteronomy 15:16-17
So I just watched the movie “12 Years a Slave.” It is a story about a free black man living in New York who is abducted and sold into slavery. It is very tough to watch. It just left me with the most horrific feelings as I saw with my own eyes exactly how dark the hearts of men can be. There were slave owners who treated their slaves fairly well, but there were others who were just flat out awful. There are scenes in that movie that I’m not sure will ever exit my mind.
I am amazed at how so many people still view God as an angry taskmaster. People who have not experienced salvation will often ask, “Why does God force His will upon us? Why will He send me to Hell for not obeying His rules?” These are legitimate questions.
God has and never will force Himself upon anyone. Love cannot exist outside of free will. As soon as I force someone to obey me against his or her will, I have removed that person’s free will. They can no longer choose to serve me, or love me for that manner. I know it sounds blasphemous to say there are things God can’t do, but I can think of two things that He can’t do. He can’t lie (Titus 1:2), nor can He receive love outside of a person’s free will to give it.
As far as the rules are concerned, I always ask this question: Which rules do you not like? Thou shalt not commit adultery? Do you despise God because He asks you to find one partner and stay together for as long as you both live? Thou shalt not steal? What is it you want to take that doesn’t belong to you? Do you want people stealing from you? At first glance, His rules do seem oppressive and restricting, especially to the minds of sinners.
I have to admit, I first submitted myself to God’s rules out of fear. In my mind, He was an angry taskmaster who couldn’t wait to send me to Hell for not following His rules. On top of that, I was about as bad of a rule follower as anyone could be. It was constant sin and constant repentance on constant repeat. That is until one day when I got alone with God. I read the Bible and read something about lying. I thought of just how much I lied and God asked me to simply tell the truth for that entire day. Circumstances arose where I felt like my entire world hinged on me telling a lie to get out of some serious trouble. I remembered what God asked me to do. I trusted Him possibly for the first time in my life and told the truth. I ended that day in awe of Him because He more than took care of me and far exceeded my expectations on that particular day.
Slowly, but surely, I came to the place where I wanted to serve the God of the Holy Bible. I no longer had to serve Him simply out of obligation.
I love these verses in Deuteronomy because I feel like they describe me. When I first got started in my walk with Him, in my mind, I was convinced that I had to be His slave. I was commanded to read the Bible, never cuss, never lie, never cheat, never have sex outside of marriage, go to church three times a week, and follow many, many other similar rules. No matter how hard I tried, I always failed at keeping the rules. Therefore, I was always afraid of hearing His words, “Depart from me, Adam . . . I never knew you.” That is until that day where I obeyed Him by telling the truth. From then on, I have wanted to do right . . . not because I was in danger of being thrown into Hell, but because I knew He had my best interest in mind. He ceased to be an angry taskmaster, and became a good, good Father.
Today, Lord, I gladly say, “I will not go out from you.” I hand you my awl to signify giving you my all. I place my ear on the edge of the door and willingly allow you to drive it straight through. Yes it may hurt, but you may mark me. I may have served you for a while because I felt like I had to, but today make me a marked man. I serve you now because I want to. I choose you. There is and never will be another like you!
My Lord, and my God.