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Pierced Ears

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced…
Psalm 40:6

I well remember the day I had my ears pierced by a nurse who lived in my neighborhood. My best friend and I walked to her home, and I was the brave one who went first. The nurse took a long needle—tiny at one end, thick at the other—and began pulling it through my ear lobe. No deadening, no ice—just pull, (Ouch!), pull, (Ouch!), pull... I sat there silently, but inwardly I was screaming. “Ok, now let’s see if the earring fits…No…OK, let’s do it again.” It was a painful experience, but afterward I was thrilled. My ears were pierced!

In the verse above, the psalmist talks of having pierced ears, but he speaks of something quite different than piercings of today. In his day, pierced ears were not for cute earrings. A pierced ear was a sign of being owned by a master. A pierced ear identified a person as a slave.

And so with these words, the psalmist clarifies what the Lord wants of His people, and more specifically, what He wants of me. He does not desire me to merely participate in rituals or rote acts of worship. Instead, He desires full surrender of my life to Him. Put simply, He desires me!

The psalmist continues: Then I said, “Here I am, I have come…I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:7-8). I can identify with that psalmist for I, like him, have come to God in belief. I gladly profess Jesus is my Master, and His will and Word are my delight.

How about you? Have rituals or rote acts become a substitute for a relationship with the living God? Or have the desires the Lord created in you been awakened by a close relationship with Him? Complete surrender is the avenue to amazing life and fulfillment.

Lord, turn us from meaningless rituals to full surrender. May Your will and Word be our delight. Amen.

Jan Burkhart

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