Read Ecclesiastes 5 -- 8
When Solomon began his reign, he loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father (1 Kings 3:3). But, as the years passed, he searched for satisfaction from every possible source except from the Lord and His Word. How different his life would have been if he, like his father David, had confidently said: O how I love Your Law! it is my meditation all the day. You through Your commandments have made me wiser than my enemies. . . . I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Your Word. . . . Therefore I love Your commandments . . . exceedingly (Psalms 119:97-98,101, 127,165-167). But, following years of wantonness, Solomon concluded that all was vanity and vexation of spirit (Ecclesiastes 4:4,16). He also observed that both rich and poor were equally obsessed with such vanities.
Solomon's thoughts then turned from the secular to the religious life, and noted that many attended the House of God with thoughtlessness and hypocrisy, offering insincere prayers and making vows that were never kept. The Holy Spirit, speaking through him, warned: Keep your foot (your own purpose for being there) when you go to the House of God, and be more ready to hear (and obey), than to give the sacrifice of fools (insincere worship): for they consider not that they do evil. . . . let not your heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in Heaven, and you upon earth: therefore let your words be few (5:1-2).
In any gathering of professed worshipers, there may be those who express the right words of praise and prayer and even give generous offerings, but who have come with motives other than to worship the Lord. It is an insult to God, as well as self-destructive, since God does not overlook such actions of fools.
The first requirement of true worship is obedience to the Word of God: "Draw near to hear and obey" (see 5:1). It is of utmost importance that we desire to know all that God requires of us, and then commit ourselves to being obedient to Him. As we assemble to worship, it should be to open our hearts to adore, praise, and exalt the Lord. Jesus defined worship when He said: God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).
The Scriptures reveal that you are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (I Corinthians 3:16). The place where we gather to worship the Lord may be a magnificent cathedral, a thatched hut, the home of a disciple, a hillside, or a cave. Christians can, and do, worship God the way the early Christians did, even when in prison. At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God (Acts 16:25). There is no time so dark that God is not there with His children (John 14:16; Hebrews 13:5). Because of His abiding presence, we should always praise Him. We, the Body of Christ, are the Temple wherein God has chosen to dwell. The Temple of God is Holy, which Temple ye are (I Corinthians 3:17).
Christ Revealed: As One who expects us to keep our vows made to Him (Ecclesiastes 5:4). But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these comes of evil (Matthew 5:37).
Word Studies: 5:12 suffer means permit; 5:13 sore evil means great injustice; 5:14 evil travail means misfortunes; 6:3 an untimely birth means born dead; 7:2 lay means take; 7:12 excellency means advantage; 7:26 bands means ensnared by deceit.
Government Officials: Rep. Diana DeGette (CO), Rep. Jennifer Dunn (WA), and Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH) · Pray for Mission America and Paul Cedar, Director · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Rick Hash · Country: Sierra Leone (5 million) in western Africa · Major language: English · Increasing restrictions on Christian work in some areas · 50% belief in river spirits, medicine men, and witchcraft; 39% Muslim; 7% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Ask that Gods will be done in your life (Luke 22:42).
Optional Reading: Hebrews 6
Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 3:17