Prepare – Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
Ecclesiastes 5:1 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.
Ecclesiastes 5:4 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.
As I write this devotional it has been two weeks since we have been able to gather in person to worship at Bethel Church. I don’t know if we will have been able to gather when you read this on April 26th or not. I miss being together! The occasional snow storm or trip out of town are totally different from forced isolation for weeks.
- In this isolation I also realize that I have taken for granted the opportunity to gather regularly. I have gone to church not ready to worship and so I have not benefited from what God could do in me as a result. The words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes help and guide me on Sunday mornings. Solomon challenges us with four thoughts as we approach the house of God.
- Think before you Worship (verse 1): practice heart preparation before you worship. Pray, meditate on a verse of Scripture, ask the Holy Spirit to soften your heart to hear before the worship service begins.
- Wait before you Worship (verse 2-3): don’t rush into worship, rather have reasoned and sensible participation. Allow the Holy Spirit to work on your heart before you utter hasty words to God.
- Do as you Worship (4-6): the idea of a vow is similar to our idea of application. Take time to sincerely apply what you have learned. Consider what needs to change in you as you reflect on the Sunday morning service.
- Fear who you Worship (7): to fear God is to revere him, to know he is always right, always tells the truth, and is always good. We can’t just brush him off, rather we need to obey him. To fear God is to keep his commandments, this is the whole duty of every person (read Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
~ Pastor Craig Johnson