Have you ever wondered what is going through God’s mind when you approach Him? How does He perceive your worship? In Ecclesiastes 5, the Preacher gives us some wonderfully helpful insight regarding the kind of attitude God expects when we come before Him.
We know that it is our hope in Christ that allows us to come into God’s presence, or to come to Him in our need for mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16). Christ Jesus is our high priest, and we need not hesitate to approach Almighty God with our prayers and our praise. But consider the manner in which you approach Him…
“Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let you words be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, NASB)
This is huge! In many denominational circles we find the attitude that says, “Offer God whatever comes to you, whatever you want to give Him – He’ll accept it!” Their worship is whim-driven. They trust the words of men because they themselves have not done their homework, haven’t listened to God to find out what He actually wants! This passage tells us that we need to come to God with the intent of listening – rather than giving Him something we’ve come up with – and letting our obedience to what He has communicated in His Word be our worship. That’s why He’s been revealing His will since the beginning, so we can know what His will is and obey! If a person does not consult His Word for understanding, the worship they offer is evil and they don’t even know it – the Preacher isn’t making this up! God has not left us without any way to know what He wants. He has provided everything that we need to know. Peter tells us that “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3) That means our feelings can’t direct us when it comes to God’s expectations. Ideas from other people are unacceptable, too. The Bible is the only authority on the subject, and we must listen to it and gain true knowledge from it.
So the instructions of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 are as follows:
- Guard your steps as you go to the house of God: pay attention and do not flippantly approach God.
- Draw near to listen.
- Do not be hasty in word and
- Do not be impulsive in thought: consider attentively any matter you intend to bring up in the presence of God.
- Let your words be few: Remember your place!
Some say that for the Christian every moment of every day is worshiping God. While I see the idea and commend them for seeking to honor God in every part of their life, it is important to understand God’s idea of worship and His expectations of His people when they approach Him. There is a difference between living each day with a godly attitude and specifically seeking to offer acceptable worship to God. The only way to do any of it is by finding out what He wants and obeying in humility. Ladies, consider what you offer God when you come to worship Him. Do you come to listen? What do you offer Him, and does His Word confirm that it is acceptable? Remember, without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and faith comes from hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). Do your research! You can almost imagine God saying, “Thanks for listening.”
By Keeley Rollert
Keeley and her husband David are current students at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. They have been married just over a year. Check out her blog at http://wifeofapreacher.wordpress.com.