Solomon warns us in Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 about our approach before God. We most certainly need God in our lives. Life is full of vanity; oppressions, trials, worthless pursuits. The way through it is to turn to God, but when we do, we must take care.
When we worship God we must do so with reverence (Ecc. 5:1). The “house of God” is the place and time of worship. Our attitudes and actions determine whether or not the worship is acceptable to God (Jn. 4:24; 1 Cor. 14:40). When we assemble with the saints, we are there, in part, to listen.
- To teaching from God’s word
- To admonitions in spiritual songs
- To prayers offered by godly men
When we are before God in worship, we must take heed not to offer the sacrifice of fools. This is essentially worship according to man’s will; worship without reverence for God. King Saul was irreverent in his worship as he did what he wanted, not what God commanded (1 Sam. 13 & 15). The Pharisees were irreverent in following their will, not the Lords (Matt. 15:1-9). Note, you can be sincere and still be irreverent.
Today many are irreverent when they include instrumental music and hand clapping in their worship. There are plays, concerts, and emotional outbursts that reflect a lack of respect in the presence of God – as men follow their will, not His.
Our prayers to God must be sober (Ecc. 5:2, 3). We will give an account for idle words, including those uttered in prayer (Matt. 12:36, 37). Thus, be careful for what and how you pray. Sometimes frustration, despair, anger, or exhilaration may get the best of us and cause our prayer to God to be unacceptable.
Our vows to God must be well thought out (Ecc. 5:4-7). Vows are good and proper (Acts 18:18). However, some vows are made in haste and a time of trouble; in sickness, financial loss, extreme stress. We are told to keep our vows. Do what you say and be timely about it. God takes no pleasure in fools. It is better not to make a commitment at all, than to fail to fulfill a vow.
What if you vow something that is contrary to God’s will? Solomon said, “Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin…” (Ecc. 5:6a). In other words, do not do something that is sinful just because you said you would. For instance, the person who vows to raise their child in the Roman Catholic church should not keep that vow when he or she learns the truth.
Also, do not say your vow was a mistake (Ecc. 5:6b). A legitimate vow that does not contradict God’s will cannot be lightly dismissed. God knows what you said and your intent. Take care of your “dreams,” boastful words, plans, commitments.
When we worship before God or make a commitment to Him, we must use great care. Think, speak, and do with reverence before the Creator and Judge.