More exhortations that tell why mere religious practices often conflict with the Word of God and thus cannot satisfy. There is no fulfillment in riches or a wasted life. Natural wisdom is discussed as unjust and (Eccl. 7:15) often appears to be without purpose (8:15).
At Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream in which Solomon asked for wisdom. Yet, we have no record that Solomon ever copied the Law in his own hand, as God had instructed Israel's kings to do, and he ignored all of the laws specifically given to kings (Deut. 17:14-20). As the years passed, he searched for satisfaction everywhere except from the Lord and His Word (Ps. 119:97-98). Following years of living an extravagant lifestyle, in his old age Solomon observed that rich and poor were equally obsessed with such fruitless endeavors.
Solomon's thoughts then turned from the secular to the religious life, and he noted that many attended the House of God offering insincere prayers and making vows that were never kept. Speaking through him, the Holy Spirit warned: Keep thy foot when thou goest to the House of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools (Eccl. 5:1). Hypocrisy is an insult to God, as well as spiritually self-destructive. He further warned: Be not rash with thy mouth (5:2).
True worship requires a heart-inspired obedience to the Word of God. When we assemble to worship, we are 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). After creating Adam, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). That eternal spirit and soul life is what must worship God; mere physical speech and to go through religious ritual are not sufficient. The inner man, the eternal man, is what Jesus was saying must recognize and worship his Creator.
The place where we worship the Lord is not important. It may be a magnificent cathedral, a thatched hut, a disciple's home, or a cave, since ye are the Temple of God, and . . . the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (I Cor. 3:16). There is no time or place where God is not with His children (John 14:16; Heb. 13:5). Because of this, we should always praise the Lord — be it in a palace or a prison. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison. . . . at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God (Acts 16:23,25).
Thought for Today:
It is written, My House shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves (Matt.21:13).
As One who expects us to keep our vows made to Him (Eccl. 5:4). So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:12).
5:12 suffer =b> permit; 5:13 sore evil =b> great adversity or affliction; 5:14 evil travail =b> misfortunes; 6:3 an untimely birth =b> stillbirth or miscarriage; 7:2 lay =b> take; 7:12 excellency =b> advantage; 7:26 bands =b> chains.
Pray for Staff: Kevin Jennings • Government Official: Rep. Diana DeGette (CO) • Country: Swaziland (985,000) in southern Africa • Major languages: English and siSwati • Religious freedom • 67% Protestant; 19% animism, spirit-possession cults, and divination; 11% Roman Catholic; 3% Baha'i • Prayer Suggestion: Intercede for your nation and friends in prayer with fasting and a self-sacrificing spirit (Esth. 4:16).
Optional Reading: Hebrews 6
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 4:10