5 Guard 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. Be 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. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.
When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.
The Vanity of Wealth and Honor
If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.
He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
Ecclesiastes 5 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“Fruitful and acceptable worship begins before it begins.”McLaren
The worship of our God begins from deep within. Simply going to church and participating through the worship, listening to the sermon has become routine. The need of our heart and mindset is to be ready before we enter into the sanctuary. Our times together as a Body begin before they begin. They start in our minds and preparing ourselves in readiness for what He has for us. More importantly, it is a heart of worship that ushers us deeper within His presence.
The NIV warns in the opening statement to guard our steps when going to the house of God. This means to be careful for our attitude should not be what do you have for me this morning but more of I’m open and willing to listen to you. Unfortunately, the one-sidedness of our worship has become the standard of which we determine many things when gathering together. We critically look at the worship, we distance ourselves at times from others who have gathered. Our purpose in gathering is for our own personal intimacy with the Father, not with others or how something in the service meets our own needs.
It really begs the question of how then do we gather our thoughts before coming before the Creator of the universe? How do we redirect our focus toward our Savior Jesus? It seems so simple but yet the reality is we often walk into any given time of worship and service with our own baggage. We have needs that often press out the majesty of our God whom we’ve come to worship. So it begins before it begins. We must be diligent in our time before coming to meet with Him. We must be open to His will in our lives. Often this involves personal surrender before we even enter the building.
The reason we do what we do at gatherings of worship is not for ourselves but for praise toward our Jesus who has saved us. It is redirecting our mindset to the things beyond the grind to a trust in Him who holds all things. It is wise to honor our God before we even get to the house of God. It’s not a checklist but a life lived before Him.
Solomon says to let our words be few. Interesting thought in his words of wisdom. In essence, we should be ready to hear God more than speak without thinking. We are all so prone to such behavior. Our mind gets ahead of our rational and many times speak first. Where this is critical in our worship is to wait and quiet ourselves before Him in order that we can hear clearly. Again, this comes back to the beginning before it begins.
Our meeting with our God each day should be done with waiting and hearing. So many times our prayer life is a vomiting of sorts with all our troubles and then rushing off to our day. The fool is rash with his mouth and words and never waits to hear. We never sit in silence to listen as we push out the distractions.
The challenge is before us. Yes, this is about our mindset in gathering as a Body of Believers. But this is a mindset as well in our meeting one on one with our Jesus. This day, do not come before Him with all your needs throwing all of them before Him. Take some time as you ready yourself for His presence to quiet your heart. Speak not but listen. Spend time in praise for the greatness of who He is. Lean into the Holy Spirit to direct your thoughts and then your words. Let your worship of Him begin before it begins.
Ecclesiastes 5 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Not exactly a popular message these days. You don’t hear many sermons on the fear of God or what that even means. So, what does it actually mean to fear God?
Solomon gives a list of practicals.
Don’t Go Through The Motions
Be careful about going to the Temple. It is better to go there to learn than to offer sacrifices like foolish people who don’t know right from wrong.
Think Before You Speak
Don’t make any rash promises to God. He is in heaven and you are on earth, so don’t say any more than you have to.
Do Not Worry
The more you worry, the more likely you are to have bad dreams, and the more you talk, the more likely you are to say something foolish.
Stay True To Your Word
So when you make a promise to God, keep it as quickly as possible. He has no use for a fool. Do what you promise to do.
In a very practical way, fearing God means responding in obedience to Him. The process that we call “fearing God” does not end after we speak words to Him. Words are cheap. The process doesn’t end after we do something good for Him. Our works are like filthy rags. Holistically, when we fear God, we obey Him. We accept grace and turn from sin. We persist in our relationship because He is our God who has done great and amazing works before us!