Guard Your Steps When You Go to the House of God
Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 raises this same question, as the Preacher steps out of investigation mode and into the pulpit to instruct us about the danger of religion, particularly when we forsake the gravity of having an audience with the holy God of the universe, or even worse, turn our worship into an opportunity for selfish gain. We considered this passage last Sunday at Westgate Church (audio and notes are available here).
We all face a great temptation to approach God not because of who he is or what he’s done, but because of what we think we can get out of him. We enter his presence not to love him, but to use him, treating him like something less than worthy of our full attention and devotion, and making him a means to an end, rather than the chief end of our lives. Solomon calls this the worship of fools, and not only is it stupid, it’s evil, and it’s deadly. Because it fails to appreciate God’s holiness and respond with the appropriate fear (5:7).
God is our heavenly king, not our personal assistant, or some cosmic backup plan. And taking him seriously in worship means we need to listen up (5:1), hold our tongues (5:2-3), keep our word (5:4-7), and in all these things, cling to the cross (cf. Heb. 10:19-23). Listen here for further reflections on what this means for us in our personal and corporate worship today.