1Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.
(Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 ESV)
Up until this point King Solomon has looked at life from a horizontal perspective – just what is on this earth – and he found it lacking. Now he starts to look at life from a vertical perspective – including God in the picture – as a way of relieving all the vanities he had previously identified. Solomon’s goal with the book of Ecclesiastes is to drive us away from the unfulfilling activities we are tempted to engage in and to drive us toward God.
When King David was confused about life he didn’t go to psychiatrist. He didn’t turn to Oprah or Ellen. He went to God [Psalm 73:16-17]. This is where we, too, should go.
But to be sure, a relationship with God can be just as empty and meaningless as trivial pursuits in life if it is not done properly. So Solomon first spends some time addressing how to have a proper relationship with God.
For one, we are not to approach God with a lackadaisical attitude. When we go to the house of God we are to be prepared – guarding our steps. We must have the right attitude. When we don’t have the right attitude we worship God wrongly.
We all get into the habit of going to church on Sunday or praying to Him out of habit or obligation. Or we go with the wrong attitude (maybe begrudgingly). This is not right. We will get nothing out of it if we do this. We must approach God properly – with an awareness of His holiness.
Notice, by the way, that Solomon said “when”, not “if – we are to regularly meet with God both in individual prayer and corporate gatherings (i.e. church). And when we do we are mostly to listen. The Hebrew word for “listen” here means more than just hearing. Just like in English, it means “to take heed; to obey”.
Nor should we offer the sacrifice of fools which is being rash with our mouth. We are not to be hasty to utter a word before God. When we meet with God we should be patient before Him and be seeking to hear what He has to say.
If any of us were in the presence of another human being who we greatly admired and whom we considered to be a role model we’d let them do the talking; our words would be few so we could absorb and learn all we can from what they have to say. How much more so should be do the same with God.
A fulfilling relationship with God begins with the proper perspective. God is in heaven. We are on earth. God is God. We are not.
God knows more than we do. He even knows what we need before we even ask [Matthew 6:8]. Therefore we don’t need to use many words. We just need to approach Him with the right attitude.
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