“Walk prudently (guard your steps, ESV) when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil … but fear God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7)
King Solomon was the wisest of the wise. “Behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” (I Kings 3:12)
And for a time, he acted accordingly … but later found himself in the unenviable position of living a life out of balance with God’s will! Consequently, he found himself not staying true to the Lord and holding on to the proper reverence and respect for God and His Word.
I don’t know if King Solomon decided one day to take a walk over to the magnificent Temple and, as he watched the citizenry come and go, observed that some were inattentive, bored with the activities … or if there may have been occasions when he had allowed his own mind to wander and not be focused on the importance and significance of worshipping God.
But I do know he makes it clear that the wise man in visiting the Temple takes the time to address the place, the value, and the importance of worshipping the Lord!
We are living in busy times with so many obligations that are mind-consuming as well as time-consuming.
The Bible shows us that God’s people of old, the Israelites, somehow lost the meaning, relevance, and importance of what they were doing. Have we?
What I am wondering is, what really happens when we come together to worship the Lord? Have we grown so accustomed to the assembly, and worship services that we have lost the wonder of it all?
Worship refers to that which we consider to be worthy of high esteem … to worship is to prostrate oneself before a greater power! My first loyalty, my first love, my first devotion, and my feeling of joy and sense of well-being are centered on the object which I worship.
Regardless of what is going on around us … getting the kids out the door, traffic issues, other person issues … preparation of the heart, the mind, and the soul before coming into the presence of God to worship Him is necessary.
In light of King Solomon’s admonition and warning in our text … it would be a wise idea to just sit quietly for a few minutes in the parking lot … even have a prayer … catch your breath … and then enter into the ‘house of the Lord’ ready to worship!
The worship and service of the holy and righteous God is not a casual business at all! In fact, the New Testament appears to be even more urgent in its warning to be more serious about what it is we do in worship unto the Lord! (Matthew 7:21ff; 23:16; 1 Corinthians 11:27)
Solomon writes “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.” We are to proceed, even the visual of tiptoeing, into the presence of God with awe and great reverence!
We, His people, are to come before Him with great care and caution … with the greatest amount of dignity that we have and the very deepest respect.
Let us not be guilty of relegating our worship unto the “Great I Am” in a way that resembles the casual way we ‘do lunch with friends or ‘drop by for a visit.’
There is no greater privilege than assembling with God’s people, regardless of the size of the building or the number of those who are present! We need to be prepared to worship and our children and our grandchildren need to watch us and learn these truths even now!
Before you make your way to worship services, help your own heart to be prepared to hear, learn, and apply the wonderful treasures and truths that constitute the Book of God!
- Read from God’s Word
- Arrive well-rested and alert
What it all comes down to is this: God is God, and we are not! God is in heaven, and we are down here on earth! God is Lord, and we are His servants!
This is the eternal God of the universe who has a claim on our lives because He “placed eternity within our hearts.” We’re to approach Him with the appropriate respect and reverence He alone deserves.
“Serve the Lord with gladness and delight; come before His presence with joyful singing.” (Psalm 100:2)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.