Take Time to Be Holy (Ecclesiastes 4; Ecclesiastes 5)

Scripture reading – Ecclesiastes 4; Ecclesiastes 5

Continuing our study in the Book of Ecclesiastes, this is the second of two devotionals for today, and is taken from Ecclesiastes 5.

Ecclesiastes 5 – A Call to Worship

Solomon’s counsel in his old age stands out in sad contrast to the proverbs he taught his sons when they were young. Rather than exhortations of wisdom and cautions to walk in the way of the LORD, Ecclesiastes calls to mind the counsel of foolish parents who say to their children, “Don’t do as I do; do as I say.”

The instructions of Solomon are stated so clearly in Ecclesiastes 5 that there is little need of commentary.

Four Offenses to Avoid When Worshipping the LORD (5:1-7)

We offend the LORD when we open our checkbook before we open our heart to Him (5:1).

Solomon wrote: “Keep [guard; watch] thy foot [i.e. be careful] when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear [listen; obey], than to give the sacrifice of fools [silliness]: for they [fools] consider not that they do [commit] evil [sin; wickedness]” (5:1).

While men are given to looking upon worship as an outward act of sacrifice, the Scriptures emphasize the matter of the heart. Solomon challenged his son, “Keep thy heart with all diligence” (Proverbs 4:23), and the prophet Samuel warned King Saul: to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).

Rather than a deliberate act of earnestness, and a consciousness that a holy God “looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b) and knows our thoughts and motives (Jeremiah 17:10), 21st century worship has become raucous entertainment. Rather than follow the exhortation, “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10), today’s “worshippers” dance to the beat of drums, the blare of deafening music, and the strobes of psychedelic lights. Many have forgotten, God is more interested in your heart, than he is in your sacrifice.

We offend the LORD when we speak before we think (5:2). Solomon admonished:

Ecclesiastes 5:2 – “Be not rash [hasty; eager] with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty [swift; quick] to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.”

Though God is in heaven, and may seem distant; remember–He hears every word!  I fear we rush into the presence of God in our prayers, state a list of prayer requests, and seldom take time to listen to the soft voice of God’s Spirit.

We offend the LORD when say one thing, and do another (5:4-7a).

God remembers every prayer, vow, and word. He know every thought. The LORD will not forget the vows you have made. He taught His disciples, every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).

Finally, God is offended when we fail to revere and worship Him in humility and sincerity.  We read, “but fear thou God” (5:7b).

Closing thoughts – When we come before the LORD to worship Him, whether it is in the quietness of our daily devotions or in the congregation of His saints–slow down, and take time to be quiet. Before you sing, and before you pray, remember the LORD hears every word.

Psalm 46:10“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

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Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith