Mom, I want to get my ears pierced! Considering the many alternatives in today’s world, such a declaration might actually bring relief! There are a variety of reasons people pursue various types of piercing; it can be a cultural tradition, a sign of beauty, or an act of rebellion.
I was reading Psalm 40:6 recently, and the reference to piercing caught my attention:
“Sacrifice and burnt offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced” (NIV 1984).
The New Century Version renders it this way: “But you have made a hole in my ear to show that my body and life are yours.” Many other English translations reference an open ear or an ear ready to listen.
The NIV’s reference to pierced ears reminded me of Exodus 21:5-6, which speaks about the law for freeing Hebrew servants after they have served for six years:
“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and my children 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.”
This is repeated in Deuteronomy 15:16-17:
“But if your servant says to you, ‘I do not want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life.”
As I thought about this servant’s expression of devotion and love, I also recalled that touching interaction between Jesus and Peter in John 6:67-69:
“Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’”
Peter’s words in John 6, and his self-identification as a servant (2 Peter 1:1), give us a beautiful picture of servants who love their Master so much that they don’t want to go free. They know there is other place where they will receive His precious words of life, and they are ready to listen.
Perhaps when you think about ear piercings in the future, you will reflect upon this wonderful picture of a servant who wants nothing more than to be identified with his Master. And may we all endeavor to be such devoted servants of the Lord!