Pierced ears, eye brows, tongues, belly buttons, and the like that you see today aren’t spiritual declarations negative or positive.
A Voluntary Choice
During “biblical days” after a time of service to his owner, a servant could go free. At that time he had an option to make another choice. He could become his Master’s servant for life. In other words, he was giving up all of his rights of independence…of personal freedom. This was totally voluntary. He was not under compulsion, whatsoever.
A Choice of Love
Why would a person that has been given their freedom choose to stay “bound” to servant hood, a bond servant?
Love. The servant had developed love for his Master. He had come to the decision that greater freedom was to be found being bound to the Will of his Master, than demanding his own rights. He had discovered that his Master had a greater love for him, than he had for himself.
The servant realized that his Master was fair and just and that he would enjoy many freedoms the the Master’s love for him would bestow. And, the servant’s primary motivation was to faithfully volunteer to serve at the will of his Master whenever called upon to do so.
The servant’s heart cry each day was, “My Master, whatever is important to you today is what is important to me. Direct me as you will.”
A Choice of New Family
The Bond Servant also had another advantage. He was now considered to be on the level of a member of the Master’s family. He was embraced in life in a new way with new dignity.
The Pierced Ear of Dedication
In biblical days, the Master would publicly pierce the ear of the new bond servant with an awl on a doorpost. (ouch!) It is not conclusive whether or not there was any form of further adornment as part of the piercing. Any suggestion one way or the other would be mere speculation.
For today, the pierced ear is a spiritual metaphor pointing to an attitude of heart. It is also interesting to note here Psalm 40:6, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”
The phrase, “mine ear has thou opened” is an allusion to the piercing of the bond servant’s ear.
Instead of it being the idea of being able to “hear” God speak, it is referring to the fact that God and received the Psalmist as a bond-servant. The rest of what he says in that verse further establishes that meaning.
The Lord is declaring that His desire is not for the outward observances, but for the commitment of heart.
Pierced Ears: A God Thing
In the New Testament the opened ear takes on the meaning of purposely, intentionally placing ones self under the loving and wise rule of our Heavenly Father. It’s a conscious, daily choice of desired motivation. It is the most freeing place a person could ever want to live.
What About the Prohibition on Bodily Piercing
Bond servants were not the only ones that were pierced as a sign of submission. It was also true that there were body markings and piercings that took place with non Hebrews. In some heathen cultures, young boys were marked as life-long slaves to foreign gods by ear piercings. There were also adults that dedicated themselves to idols by piercings and cutting of their bodies.
The prohibition from God was against His people joining themselves with foreign gods and idols. It cannot be accurately interpreted to be a blanket statement applied, in general, to anyone.
As I began this article, piercings (and tattoos) today are primarily “fashion statements.” And, in my opinion, there is no reason to suggest that a person who “inks” or “pierces” themselves in our contemporary culture is in rebellion against the Word of God.
Instead, I would like to suggest that we, as His people, become more intentionally dedicated to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I suggest that we more consciously submit ourselves as His bond servants in our daily actions and attitudes.