Clay Church of Christ - Clay, Alabama

Pierce My Ear
Daniel Fritz

One of the things I enjoy about going to school at Florida College is that we learn new songs all the time. A song to me is a beautiful thing because we are speaking to our Father. Over and over again in the book of Psalms David writes about his songs to God. Psalms 146:1,2: "1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! 2 I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God...." A few simple words on a piece of paper, combined with the right melody, tempo, and harmony can have an enormous impact on ones emotions. When we sing the song "Amazing Grace" or "Ivory Palaces" we might think of a loved one who has passed away. When we sing "Washed in the Blood" or "Come O sinner Come" we might think back to when we were baptized. Songs can and do have an impact on us.

One of my favorite songs that I have learned while being at Florida College is called "Pierce my ear." The lyrics go something like this:

    1  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.

    2  For you have paid the price for me;
        With Your blood you ransomed me.
        Now I will serve you eternally.
        Lord I'm here to stay.

        So, Pierce my ear, O Lord my God.
        Take me to your door this day.
        For I will serve no other God.
        O Lord I'm here to stay.

This song comes from Exodus 21:1-6. It is also stated in Deuteronomy 15 but we are going to use the passage from Exodus for our context in this article. A little introduction leading up to chapter 21 is this: Chapter 19 talks about the preparations Moses and Aaron made before Moses goes up to Mt. Sinai to receive to Ten Commandments. Chapter 20 is the stating of the Ten Commandments. Chapter 21 starts talking about some specific ordinances decreed by God. More specifically, verses 1-11 talks about certain restrictions or laws given about owning a Hebrew male slave. No one could own a Hebrew male slave for more than six years time. If the slave had a wife and children before he was sold they would also leave with him at the end of his service. However, if the master was good to his servant he could choose to give him a wife and let him have a family. But there was a catch. Since the master gave the wife to him, both the wife and any children they would have had would be considered the property of that master. Now at the end of that six year service, when the male slave would be set free, he could make one of two choices. His first choice was to take his leave and be a free man (verse 2). Or the second choice was be a slave to that master permanently. "5 But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,' 6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently" (Exodus 21:5,6).

Looking back on slavery in America, it would appear to be that slavery was always forced and rarely if ever chosen. One might think that freedom is always the best option. However, here the slave had a choice; go free or be considered a slave for the rest of his life. We can see from our text that if the slave chooses to become a servant permanently, the master would take an awl and pierce the ear of the slave to signify that this was a permanent slave to that specific master. An awl, for those of us who do not know, is a tool with a sharp point for making holes in leather or wood. Now some of you ladies know what it feels like to have your ears pierced with a small needle. However, this was not a small needle but something along the line of an ice pick. Some commentaries have noted that the pain for this procedure was extremely intensified and more prone to infection since the instrument was not sterile but this was the custom and was done quite frequently.

I find this concept of choosing to be slave or a free man very intriguing. In America we especially like our freedoms. We might even take the freedoms we have for granted and just expect them to be there. But as one called to follow Christ, we too are considered slaves. Romans 6:17 says, "17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin..." Our sins made us slaves. Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God," but if one would read through the next verse one will see that we also have a choice. Romans 6:18 says, "18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." We make a choice! We can either become a slave to righteousness or a slave to sin.

Looking back on the song: "pierce my ear, take me to your door this day. I will serve no other God, Lord I'm here to stay." When one makes the choice to follow Him, they are no longer slaves of sin, but a slave of righteousness. So the question I want to leave you with is this: do you have your ear pierced? and, who are you a slave to?