Piercing my ears – Ps. 40

Am I getting my ears gauged?  I don’t think so.  Even if I was 18 again, it wouldn’t interest me.  But in Psalm 40, David writes about getting his ears pierced.  When he wrote this, David captured the very essence of why we should follow our Saviour with all of our hearts.

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.

… but verse 6 hit me in a special way a couple of days ago.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require.

How many times did David hear the story about Samuel confronting Saul and telling him “To obey is better than sacrifice”(I Sam. 15:22) ?  I bet he heard that story a thousand times.  It became a part of who David was.

As I  was reading verse 6, my mind immediately shot back to something I had just read a couple of weeks earlier.  While God was giving Moses and the Israelites His law in Ex 21, He covered the topic of servants:

Exodus 21: 2,5&6

“If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything.

“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’  then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

Ouch!  A servant who gladly gave up his right to freedom was marked for life.  I never put much thought into David saying that God had pierced his ears before.  Now, it’s taken on a whole new meaning for me.

Here’s what also hit me.  I get the sense that a lot of Christians read  “To obey is better than sacrifice” and think:  “Hmm, God doesn’t need me to sacrifice anything if I just obey Him”.  That completely misses the point.

Obedience is not the opposite of sacrifice, it’s the next level.

David gave it all to God, willingly – in obedience.  It wasn’t a sacrifice anymore for him.  Do you feel like you have to make sacrifices for God?  Or does it not feel like sacrificing anymore?

I won’t physically be getting my ears gauged anytime soon.  But spiritually, I’ve told God to put my ear to the doorpost.

I’m marked for life.


One Response to “Piercing my ears – Ps. 40”

  1. Hey David! I just ran across this while looking up those same two passages.
    I heard about that interpretation a few weeks ago and thought it was really cool.
    Like you said, it takes on a whole new meaning with that context.

    PS: I just got done piercing my left ear. 😀

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