I am not squeamish about much, but I can’t quite come to terms with the idea of poking things through your ears; so while I really like the look of earrings, I’ve never fancied having mine pierced. So the verses of Exodus 21:1-6 really had me puzzled. Why on earth would anyone give up their right to freedom for the whole of the rest of their life for the reward of having an awl stuck through their ear??? I totally get that they might want to stay with wife and family, but this takes commitment to a whole new level.
Ear piercing and earrings were commonly used a sign of slavery in the culture of the nations around at that time; but this was no ordinary form of servitude. This was about a guy who wanted in. He had been around his master long enough to know he was onto a good herb. He wanted to be, not just a purchased addendum to the household, but a person who belonged there. As he made his choice to be physically attached to the doorpost, he was declaring that that was where he wanted to be, for the rest of his life. He wanted the security of knowing that he belonged; it was not just his place of work, but his home. It must have been a great joy to the master, to know his servant trusted, loved and esteemed him enough to commit the rest of his life into his service. That spoke of a special relationship.
Then I read Psalm 84. “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty…blessed are those who dwell in your house…Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper…no good thing does he withhold…O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” And I finally got it.
We who have accepted the forgiveness of God, have been purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ. Legally we belong to him. Legally, we should be serving him; that is our status. But what gives him joy, real joy, is when I choose to freely, willingly, wholeheartedly, stay close by him, serve him, honour him, live in his presence, and know the security and protection he offers. When I fully submit the whole of the rest of my life to him, no matter what. Not because I have to, but because I choose to. When his house is my home, and my heart is his.