Pierce My Ear

In the last half of the book of Exodus, after the Israelites escaped from the clutches of the Egyptians, we read about God enacting some of the first laws of His covenant with Israel. As we look deeper into these laws we can clearly see that the Law of Moses foreshadowed the principles behind the Law of Christ (Gal. 3; Heb. 10). In Exodus 21:1-6, we find one of God’s laws concerning the relationship between slaves and their masters.

"Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,' then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.”

Why would a slave pass up freedom and commit to staying with his master forever?! God knew “love” could cause one to do that. Now, this is not the concept of love that we are familiar with; most people only know a watered down perverted version of love. The popular idea of love would assume that the master must be paying the slave a six-figure income or providing him with a house as big as his own. This is the concept of love that drove Demas out of the service to God (II Tim. 4:10). Working with Paul for his Savior just wasn’t giving him the success and wealth he had hoped. Demas “loved” the world because it paid out just the way he wanted. Many people serve the world for this reason. Unfortunately, the Devil has them greatly deceived because they are receiving a reward that is not spiritually fulfilling and will soon vanish away (I Jn. 2:15-17).

No, here we find love in the true sense. This love developed out of six years of respectful, kind commanding from the master and zealous, committed obedience from the slave. Though the master knows the slave is his possession, he is very loving, merciful, understanding and considerate of the slave’s needs. When the slave recognizes all this about the master, he sees no better choice than committing to serve his master forever. The slave’s greatest desire becomes diligently completing all the things his master requires of him. When his ear is pierced, it means something: “I love my master… I will not go out free.”

If you are a Christian, what did it mean to you when you were baptized? If you’re thinking about becoming a Christian, truly contemplate what you will be committing to when you confess your faith and are baptized. Are you more concerned with what you can get out of your relationship with God or are you committed to your Master in gratitude for the forgiveness and hope He has provided through His Son (Jn. 3:16)? Are you even thankful for what He has done for you (Lk. 17:11-19)? Do you consider what your Master provides for you today and everyday (Lk. 12:22-31)? Who listens and cares for you more than He (I Pet. 5:6-7; Psalm 34)? Is being a Christian something that will only remain important as long as it fits into your schedule and plan in life (Jam. 4:13-15)? How do you respond to the things He asks you to do (Lk. 6:46)?

“Pierce my ear O Lord, My God. Take me to Your door this day, for I will serve no other God. Lord, I’m here to stay. For You have paid the price for me and with Your blood You ransomed me. A free man, I’ll never be.”

While pondering on this passage, Steve Croft penned these opening words to his hymn, Pierce My Ear. Each day when we wake, may we consider the love of the Master and recommit ourselves to being “slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:6). Because of our Master’s great love, we can joyfully cry, “A free man I’ll never be!”