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 5:1–3)
If we thoughtlessly stroll into church each week, too preoccupied to be mindful of God’s presence, we are being foolish. Instead, Solomon advises, we must be careful to guard our steps.
But therein lies our greatest problem: we tend to be preoccupied with our own interests. That’s why Solomon says, “…a dream comes with much business.” He’s speaking about how what we want for ourselves is often at odds with what God wants for us, and it’s because we don’t know how to listen. Instead, we frantically pursue a dream—to get what we want out of life by whatever means necessary.
We constantly think about our dream-life, and we work tirelessly for it. And, oh, how we love to talk about it, which is why Solomon adds: “…a fool’s voice [comes with] with many words.” But such preoccupation leaves us with little capacity to slow down and listen to God. In fact, the more we allow ourselves to be preoccupied with what we want, the harder it becomes to detect what God wants for us.
That’s why it’s all too easy to leave church on a Sunday morning without any real sense that you’ve been in God’s presence. Sure, you talked, you sang, you heard a good sermon—that’s all great. But did you listen? Did you quiet your soul in God’s presence long enough to learn what He wants for you? Or were you preoccupied with dream-life business?
According to Pastor Zack Eswine, “Church is meant to disrupt our denial. We are meant to learn, there in God’s house, how to un-varnish our lives before Him.” That’s what we need most. But for it to happen we need to get quiet in God’s presence; we need to stand in awe of Him. After all, “God is in heaven and you are on earth.”
So take this time to ask what God wants. Because of what He’s done, what does He want you to do? Because of who He is, who does He want you to be? Keep it simple, though. Like Jesus said when teaching His disciples to pray, “Do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matt. 6:7). God doesn’t need our “many words”—that’s how fools pray. Instead, He wants our awareness; He’s inviting us to be quiet and to learn what He wants for us.
If we’ll do that, our steps toward God’s house will be wisely guarded.
Set List for Sunday, March 18, 2018:
Hallelujah! What a Savior (Your Love Has Rescued Me) (P. Bliss, M. Carter, A. Ivey, H. Suh)
Glorious Day (S. Curran, J. Ingram, J. Smith, K. Stanfill)
I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous) (C. H. Gabriel, C. Tomlin)
Jesus Is Better (A. Ivey, B. Land)
Build My Life (P. Barrett, K. Kaple, K. Martin, M. Redman, B. Younker)
You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.