Pierced Ears

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,

But my ears you have pierced;

Psalm 40:6a NIV

I guide the thin metal to the small hole and it slides smoothly to the opposite opening in the back of my earlobe. Quick and easy, I do it almost mindlessly, but I recall when I first got my ears pierced.

I was sixteen, and most of my friends already had little gold hoops or sparkly studs prettily decorating their lobes. I am not a fan of pain, so the thought of having someone jab a needle through my ear for beauty’s sake was off-setting. Watching others tearfully, with gritted teeth and screams do it, I had decided it was not for me.

Finally, however, my besties convinced me by telling me the jewellery store people had a painless way of doing it. With a queasy stomach, tight throat, and clenched fists, I took a deep breath and sat in the chair. Swift swipes of alcohol across my lobes, two snaps of their needle gun, and it was over. Twin gold circlets hung embedded in the flesh of my ear, pronouncing my initiation into womanhood, or so it seemed.

But what does David mean in Psalm 40 when he says the LORD has pierced his ears? Devout Hebrew men did not wear earrings and David didn’t mean God had jabbed anything into his eardrum. In other translations of this verse, they translate the word pierced as opened.

The Hebrew word used here is karah–pronounced kawraw-and means to dig, but is most often used to mean to bore or open.

David is saying the Lord bored into his ears, opening them so he could hear. But to hear what? David wasn’t deaf. He had been a shepherd who would have relied on his ears to hear the cries of his sheep and approaching predators. He was a talented musician with an ear for music. So, what did the LORD desire David to hear?

The beginning of this verse talks about sacrifices and offerings. The LORD had prescribed the Israelites a detailed way of bringing sacrifices and sin offerings to the altar in order to be cleansed of their sins and restored to Him. Here, however, it seems He is changing the rules, that He doesn’t care about sacrifices and offerings anymore, but God did not repudiate those acts of repentance to David. He opened his ears to the spirit of them.

God is not interested in us simply going through the motions of religiosity-tithing our money, going to church on Sunday, volunteering our time at church or in our community. He is interested in our hearts. The Lord desires us to do these things out of a deep love for Him, displayed in faith and obedience to His will for our lives.

We need to ask ourselves, have we allowed the Holy Spirit to bore into our ears the truth of God’s Word? Are we piercing our ears for how we look on the outside to others around us, to be accepted into a community or to feel good about ourselves?

This is not what pleases God. He desires both. Obedience, but done with a heart for Him, out of a deep love for His sacrifice and His offering of love and restoration to us.

So how do we check ourselves on this?

  1. Pray. Talk to the Lord and ask Him to open your ears to hear the spirit of His word.
  2. Read. In order to hear the truth, we need to open our Bibles and read them, maybe even out loud to ourselves.
  3. Listen. We need to make time to be still and quiet to hear what the Holy Spirit wants us to do or tell us.
  4. Wait. Sit and soak up being in the Lord’s presence, simply enjoying Him and savouring His love.

Our God is not a god who is distant, coldly demanding blind obedience. He is the One who desires a deep, personal, eternal relationship with us.

Sisters, let us not be those who prettily adorn our bodies but ignore the deep needs of our souls. Pierce your lobes if you want to, but what matters most is allowing the Lord to pierce your ears and souls to the spirit and truth of His Word.

Be well!


3 thoughts on “Pierced Ears

  1. I will think of boring God’s word into my heart and soul every time I change my earrings!
    Interesting translation!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Another piece to ponder. Some days it is hard to listen when we think God does not hear our prayers. We have prayed for our grand daughter for over 3 years and so far God seems to be silent. God says “ keep praying” and so we do. Thanks for your wise words.


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