Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire (take pleasure in, delight) to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:6-8 (NIV)
In the old testament if a slave came to love his master and wanted to stay and serve him for life, the master would bore a hole through his ear as a sign.
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. (Deut. 15:16-17 NIV)
The words in Psalms 40 prophesy the coming Messiah, the one who came to be the Servant Savior, “my ears you have pierced … I delight to do your will.”
God doesn’t long for our sacrifices and all the offerings required by the law, but our love and surrender (not all those who say ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom). He wants us to hear his voice and know him, to delight to serve him. The word translated “pierced” in the Hebrew means “to dig, excavate, dig through, to bore or open.”
I think it is kind of funny that it means “to excavate.” I’m sure God feels like it has been an excavation project to get through to me. One of the meanings of excavate is to uncover buried remains – perhaps remains of my first love? The burning passion to do His will? Digging down through the many rocks and bitter roots, to the buried remains of my first love, down to the “fountains of my soul” as Charles Spurgeon wrote in his commentary[i] on Psalm 40:6-8.
Our Lord was quick to hear and perform his Father’s will; his ears were as if excavated down to his soul; they were not closed up like Isaac’s wells, which the Philistines filled up, but clear passages down to the fountains of his soul. The prompt obedience of our Lord is here the first idea. There is, however, no reason whatever to reject the notion that the digging of the ear here intended may refer to the boring of the ear of the servant, who refused out of love to his master to take his liberty, at the year of jubilee; his perforated ear, the token of perpetual service, is a true picture of our blessed Lord’s fidelity to his Father’s business, and his love to his Father’s children. Jesus irrevocably gave himself up to be the servant of servants for our sake and God’s glory.
Yes, Lord, I need you to excavate me. Let the fountains of my soul burst forth again with your spring of Living Water. Grant me grace, each day, to irrevocably give myself up to be your servant. I will delight to do your will.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7 NASB)
I delight to do Your will, O my God. (Psalm 40:8 NASB)
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