Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

Ecclesiastes  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:53
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Approach God carefully because he knows more and is attentive to what you are doing.

Approach God carefully for He alone can provide meaning in a meaningless world.

Scenario: Who would you rather have work for you? One who says: “On it, right away, nothing too it!” or one who says: “No I really don’t want to.”
FCF: We come to God foolishly and continue in meaningless living.
How do we approach God carefully

Approach Him with the intention to listen/obey( v. 1)

Ecclesiastes 5:1 NKJV
1 Walk prudently 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.
What is the house of God:
During the time of this writing, approaching the house of God would have involved coming to Solomon’s temple to bring sacrifices.
John 4:21 Jesus speaks of His work on the cross changing this. The location would no long be in Jerusalem. Mt. 18:20 speaks of Jesus’ being present among 2-3 gathered. Mt. 6 speaks of the disciples privilege to come before the Father with no one seeing.
Approach- coming to do something for God or talk to God.
Why would one approach his house and then why would he need to be careful?
In the reasoning for the guarded approach, the teacher mentions the sacrifice of a fool. The foolish approach is thinking God would be pleased with whatever sacrifice was brought. The fool seems to be satisfied with his religious action while not mindful of the One he is coming before. Care must be given because one doesn’t come before a God who thinks and according to the thinking of the individual.
Care must also be exercised because, foolish approaches to God result in blindness. You start to see nothing wrong with coming to God in this way.
What does a careful approach look like?
This word is used in Deut. 6:3, 5. The admonition to listen intently to who God is is followed by the command to love Him. Jesus would say to people who heard him physically but did not internalize what he said: “he who has ears to hear let him listen.
What keeps us from listening?
The heart would be one’s own foolish view and agenda. (prideful, hasty, impatient)
A desire to be entertained.
How then do you listen?
Illustration of listening to time share /safety speeches so that you can get the discount or go play.
The teacher in Ecclesiastes is wrestling with the complex questions, brevity, and the meaningless things of life. Listen to the only One who is understands all and whose plans endure.
Illustration: one time chance to ride a helicopter in Kauai. We did not search for one who would take us where we wanted to go when we wanted it.
So if time in God’s house is boring or a familiar routine, this is a struggle that comes with having a body that is tired or hurting, and a sinful self that would rather be watching football, playing games, or resting on one’s couch. Agree with God that you don’t know how to live in His world, ask him to teach you about His ways, and then ask for help with the confusion, selfishness, or weariness.
Transition the teach goes on to give the action that would accompany listening to God.

Be slow to speak in God’s presence (v.v. 2-3)

Ecclesiastes 5:2–3 NKJV
2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words.
Why would one says a lot of words in God’s presence
Our first clue would come from verse 1. He doesn’t take time to listen to God.
Another clue comes from a somewhat hard to understand saying at the end of verse 3. There is a busy hasty person who has much dreams. He is compared to a foolish one who says a lot of words. When there is a busy heart there is a lot of words just as dreams abound with one who is excessive in activity.
A lot of words would convey as well that one thinks that he has understanding.
Another clue would be found in the gospels, where Christ speaks of religious people who think God will hear them for their many words. We know that this does not mean that all prayers must be short. (Some of Jesus’s prayers). One author suggests that this kind of wordiness comes from one who tells God what He thinks God wants to know. He puts on a show before God without regarding the fact that God already knows him.
What is the reason for being few in words before God?
We would use the word transcendent to describe his nature of being way above.
He controls and understands things way beyond our ability and understanding.
He also knows what is taking place in your heart
What does this few words look like in our setting?
Our singing to God is not an outward show we do to impress God and others.
In our conversing with others, we would not be brothers and sister who act like we understand all things (there are again many complexities in this world). There are times to speak to matters, but may it be done from a heart who has done much humble listening.
Consideration of what is means to listen to God when he seems to be quiet
“The reality of God is measured by the truthfulness of His speech not by my grasp of His presence. Under the sun sometimes everything is so mixed up.. that actually we are meant to learn that god intends for us to be suspicious of ourselves- suspicious of why we doubt him and why we cannot find him, suspicious of the deceptions of our own hearts- but nevertheless trusting the truth of His word with every fiber of our being, even when we cannot see him.”
Transition: The instruction that we have seen so far in approaching God counters a foolish of coming before little listening and much speaking. As the passage closes out, it addresses another foolish view of approaching God. God many times is ignored and only contemplated when things get desperate. Even in those situation it is still easy to treat God casually and attempt to manipulate Him. The teacher closes this section by saying:

Approach God with sincerity (v.v. 4-6)

Ecclesiastes 5:4–7 NKJV
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed— 5 Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.
Why would vows be made to God?
Vows are a voluntary matter, one did not have to make them. (Better not to vow)
They are often given in tender, needy moments along with stipulations(Jacob, Jepthah)
What would a foolish vow look like?
Promising God you will do something, and failing to follow through when things are back to your liking.
Excuse is then given as to why one cannot pay.
It would like an excess of dreams- empty. An excess of words that mean nothing
This may bring up questions as to what to do if you have failed to do what you promised or whether you should make promises at all because of your known inability to keep them. We will consider that in a minute. What we need to keep in mind here is the casual view of God which leads to shallow promises to God.
A wise vow is directed by the character of God
He sees your sincerity. He does not take delight in empty promises.
He is the one who controls your productivity. It is not as if things are secure in your hands.
He is one to be feared
In seeing this high no nonsense view of God, what should promises to him look like?

“Simplicity guards your sincerity.”

Illustration: All the signs and ways of bluffing: “I’m fine, I can beat you any day, I know exactly what you have,” while the mind may be panicking with in, the tears are puddling up in the eyelids, or your calculating what will happen if you fail.
When God works in your heart, you may not say I will never do that again. There is a humble recognition that he already knows you in your failures. There is a humble seeking of help. You may say God, I believe what you say about this struggle, I don’t want to do it again. Truth is not just heard on your way to the next event. It is contemplated and repentance is taking place. You don’t have to say to God or others “I really promise this time.” May simplicity guard your sincerity.
This leads to us looking at the passage in light of Scripture. The teacher gives us a needed view of God and his exalted status. One should not come before Him with a casualness. However, this is not the complete view of God. When Jesus teaches us to pray, He says to address God as Father who is in heaven. The teacher seems to be wrestling with the view of God as one whose ways cannot be figured out. He admonishes not to be so brash and foolish before this God. We can come to a Father who will not give stones when we ask for bread. He has sent His Spirit to teach us to cry to God as a Father.
If you have played the religious game over the years, hear the warning to those who profess that they knew God- Depart from me I never knew you.” Jesus has done the work to make you a son or daughter of God. Trust in His work rather than continue the foolish religious facade.
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