A Portrait of a True Worshiper as Revealed in Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
May 7, 2012, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

Bible study tonight at 7 p.m. at the home of the Creasy’s and Wild’s.  Join us to study Ecclesiastes 5:1-7.  There are great thoughts that we will see.  Check out CSI Bible Study.wordpress.com

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

5:1–7. The emphasis of the passage is on the folly of an empty religious profession before a sovereign God:

First, we are to enter the place of worship to listen (vv. 1-3).

Second, we are to enter worship intending to keep the commitments we make to God (vv. 4-6).

Third, we enter worship in awe of God (v. 7).

Verses 1-7 contain a number of instructions for preparing for True Worship:

  1.  Be careful what you do and how you enter into worship.
  2. Be prepared to listen
  3. Think before acting and speaking
  4. Listen more than you speak
  5. Pay what you vow
  6. Admit your failures instead of coming up with excuses for failing to carry out your promises
  7. Fear God

1 Keep thy foot (“guard your feet” or act right.  The idea is to  “Be careful what you do.”) when thou goest to the house of God (the house of God. The temple Solomon built in Jerusalem (cf. 1Ki 8:15–21).  Solomon spoke of going in to worship), and be more ready to hear, (“to hear so as to do”; it focuses on actions, not just on information: doing the right things with the wrong attitude or for the wrong reasons does not bring God pleasure.  To hear implies not only hearing, but understanding and obedience as well.) than to give (not the usual word for offering a sacrifice and in this context, it may refer to sacrifices of the lips, or vows; refers to the thank offering and free will offering mentioned in Leviticus 7:12) the sacrifice of fools (acts that are for the wrong reasons or with the wrong attitude, our acts are not impressive to God, what He wants is for us to be living sacrifices, submitting everything to Him and doing nothing in our own strength or abilities): for they consider not that they do evil.

2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thinga before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth (the essential contrast between our righteous God and sinful man.  In the Bible, heaven always means the invisible world of reality, what is going on that we cannot see but yet is really there. God is in that realm, and that is why he sees much more than we do.):  therefore let thy words be few.(God is not impressed by foolish vows;  God is not impressed by any of our works)

The proper worship of man stands in stark contrast to the worship of the fool. The wise worshiper is a careful listener whose heart is bent upon obedience. The fool’s worship is punctuated by braggadocio, his foolish heart manifesting itself in rash and rapid chatter.

3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

The main thrust here is the demonstration of a cause-and-effect relationship. The person who frets over a multitude of things shall surely fall to dreaming of those things in the night. The heavy burdens of the day act as an effectual cause of dreams in the night. In the same manner the heart of the fool becomes the effectual cause of a multitude of words.

The more you worry, the more likely you are to have a bad dream.  Likewise, the more you talk, the more likely you are to say something foolish.


4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

The verb “vowest”  refers to the action of making a solemn promise to the Lord to perform an action or offer a sacrifice.  The noun “vow” was a gift or offering promised to be given to the Lord.  It usually was a sacrifice or free-will offering  that was often promised during times of pressure (Judg 11:30; 1 Sam 1:11; 2 Sam 15:7-8; Pss 22:25; 66:13; 116:14, 18; Jonah 2:9). However, we have turned these into conditional promises, which we make to God in a time of stress or need,but haven’t thought out the cost involved in carrying the promise out, simply because we are trying to con God into answering us in a way that produces an outcome that we want.

5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. (don’t promise God something that attempts to bribe Him, example Ananias and Sapphira)

6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel (“the messenger of God”, referring to the Old Testament priest who served as a mediator between God and man), that it was an error: (make excuses for not following through with the promise;  it refers to a rash vow thoughtlessly made, which the foolish worshiper claims was a mistake) wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?

Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin. The messenger (angel) spoken of is the priest to whom the guilty fool makes his appeal for atonement (Mal 2:7–8). The maker of rash vows desires the priest to offer for him a trespass offering. Under the premise that his vow was an error, he expects to thus dispose of his sin. Those who trifle with vows in this way are reminded that such shallowness is an affront to God. Far from being a marginal error, this failure to fulfill a sacred promise is a sin that merits God’s full judgment (cf. Deut 23:21). God’s just anger will surely result in the destruction of the works of such a person’s hands.

7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God. (repeats the idea of acting right from verse 1: it has the idea of correctly understanding who God is and then responding to Him with reverence, awe, and wonder in light of who He is.  The concept of fearing God is a central theme throughout Ecclesiastes)

Life Application: What is the first thought that pops into our mind when we ask: Who is in charge? Have we learned to let God be God and to humbly inquire and listen to His wisdom?

  1.  Learn to let God be God; that is the first thing he declares to us.
    1. The lessons of life will fall into place when you learn that. God is in charge of life, let him be in charge; take these lessons from his hands.
    2. The place to learn that is in the house of God. When you go there, guard your steps, i.e., enter thoughtfully, expect to be taught something. In ancient Israel, of course, the house of God was the Temple in Jerusalem. There sacrifices were offered, and explanation was made to the people as to what they meant. There the law was read, and the wisdom of God about life was given to people; this marvelous Old Testament was unfolded, with its tremendous insights into the truth about life, about what humanity basically and fundamentally is. The Temple was the only place in the land where people could learn these things. In our day the house of God is no longer a building. We must be clear about that. You, the people, are the house of God. What the Searcher is saying is that when you gather together as the people of God, be expectant; there is something to be learned.
  2.  Secondly, he says, listen carefully with a heart that is willing to do what you hear.
    1. A fool is somebody who glibly utters naive, ingenuous and usually false things.
    2. We tend to complain and murmur about what has been handed us in life and in reality, since God is sovereign, we are complaining against Him and the wonderful plan that He has for us.  We don’t enjoy our pleasures and we really don’t enjoy our pain.
    3. So he says, listen carefully, for among the people of God the truth of God is being declared; the wisdom of God is being set forth. Through painful experience, you will see you as you really are and how God can change you if you let Him.
  3.  “Don’t play games with God!” Verse 4

True Worship of our Living God, Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

  1. What things might we do in worship without proper thought?
  1. Do you pray more for yourself to hear from God or more that others will hear from God?
  1. What is the danger for us when we pray more for others to hear from God than ourselves? (cf. 1 Cor. 10:12)
  1. What are some excuses you have made when you didn’t follow through on   commitments?
  1. In v.3 and in v.7, Solomon warns about “much dreaming” and “many words” in the context of worship. What do you think he’s warning us about?
  1. When you read “stand in awe of God” what thoughts about God come to mind?
  1. Where have we slipped into “self-realization” instead of God-pleasing?
  1. Are we less than content when things are not as we prefer?
  1. Have you retained the right fear of God? When was the last time you shuddered in light of God’s holiness?
  1. Have you slipped into the trap of thinking that worship is a something we do to prepare for preaching?
  1. What activities helps you listen and center your affections upon God?
  1. When the word of God is taught and when you surrender to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit convicts and we make rash promises to God that we end of not keeping.  What prevents us from following through with our promises to God?
  1. What stood out to you from the worship service you attended? Why?
  1. What keeps you from living in relationships that reflect God’s glory?
  1. Do you think that you can change your relationships without “you” actually changing?
  1. What would keep you from taking those steps?

a thing: or, word


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