Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.
I have been challenged recently concerning my attitude in worship. Ecclesiastes isn’t the place in the Bible that I would except to find such a challenge, but I believe there are some vital truths to consider about worship and prayer from this passage.
First, worship is something that God takes seriously! Solomon here is admonishing the Israelites about the sin of making empty vows to the Lord, vows they never intended to fulfill. I believe the application can be made that when we come to the house of God to worship Him, He expects us to enter into that worship with a sincerity of heart and willing heart to listen to His Word. Warren Wiersbe makes the following comment about this passage in his commentary on Ecclesiastes entitled Be Satisfied: “The worship of God is the highest ministry of the church and must come from devoted hearts and yielded wills.”
Second, prayer to the Almighty God and Creator of all is serious business! The following thoughts concerning the matter of prayer addressed here in Ecclesiastes 5 are also from Wiersbe’s book: “If you and I were privileged to bring our needs and requests to the White House or to Buckingham Palace, we would prepare our words carefully and exhibit proper behavior. How much more important it is when we come to the throne of Almighty God? Yet, there is so much flippant praying done by people who seem to know nothing about the fear of the Lord.” Eloquence in public prayer does not indicate a profound prayer life. Prayer is my communication line to God. It should be an avenue that I am familiar enough with that I don’t feel like I have to say something impressive for those who hear me pray publically. My public prayer is still communication with God not with those listening. When I approach God’s throne in prayer, it should be done with a broken spirit of humility and with a realization of exactly Who I am talking to. Spurgeon put it this way, “It is not the length of our prayers, but the strength of our prayers, that makes the difference.”
Those two observations from this passage lead me to the last four words in Ecclesiastes 5:7 – but fear thou God. When I approach God with the right attitude in worship and prayer, I will understand the true fear of the Lord. It will not cause me to be afraid of Him, but rather to have the proper respect for Him when I come to His house for worship and when I approach His throne of grace in prayer. God wants us to worship Him. It is why He left us here after He redeemed us. How do YOU worship?