The Obedient Heart
Psa. 40:6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
David’s psalm comes from the depths of his obedient heart and his greater understanding of God. The more that he gets to know the heart of God, the more that he understands what God desires from him. This is what God wants from David, but as David’s fellowship with God continues he is already understanding the heart of the coming Messiah.
The God of love does not desire rituals, but an openness to an intimate relationship with the Holy Trinity. The term “open ear” can be translated in many ways. An open ear may be about the willingness to listen and to really get to know God. It may also refer to the piercing of the ear. Some have suggested that it can be understood as the servant having their ear pierced by the awl, acknowledging that they belong to their master, and that Jesus’ ear was pierced on the cross as he gave up everything to become the ultimate sacrifice. The burnt offerings and sin offerings replaced by the live offering of the lamb of God.
David could already see that this participation with God brought him into a much more intimate place than burnt offerings. The result of this new relationship with God would be revealed in the scroll where it would be written of the activity of the Messiah. Jesus was the obedient servant who would delight to do God’s will — but it was more than that — it was David’s foretaste of what was to come. David was already experiencing the assurance of his own salvation. He was being drawn into a future which was already planned out by God for from his own family line, Jesus would be born. What David could not see clearly, we are enlighten to understand. God isn’t looking for us to complete a set of tasks, but is drawing us into intimate fellowship, where there is serious commitment to God’s will, and an obedient heart.
David was not a perfect man and yet there was a period of time in his life where he discovered what it meant to live in a deeply intimate relationship with God. He provides for us an example of where we are to go in our relationship with God. We are being invited into a deeply intimate and personal relationship of fellowship with our holy God.
I’ve been reflecting on my own character lately. I am a rather task oriented person who likes to tick the boxes at the end of the day. I find fulfillment in getting things done. My parents raised me with the mantra, “plan your work and work your plan.” The only danger in that is the “plan” can overrun the relational. Where does time to slow down and be in relationship with God and others fit when it comes to a "to do" list? It means that even time with the Lord can become something that we time or we do because we want to tick it off the list for the day. Could that be our modern day burnt offering or sin offering? God doesn’t just want to be one of the things that we tick off our list for the day — God wants us to sit down and have fellowship. It’s that cup of tea and unhurried conversation with a dear friend! That comes out of a heart that passionately desires to be in God’s presence.
The obedient heart is the one that has gotten to know the heart of God. Just as the Father’s desires became Christ’s desires and the Father’s passions were Jesus’ passions, the same should be revealed in our lives as we participate and fellowship with God. The obedient heart leads to Christlikeness, and Christlikeness leads us out into the daily mission field of our lives.
Lord, please help me to know you more today than yesterday. Amen.