Reverence and Fidelity
Ecclesiastes 5:1-12
Keep your foot when you go to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools…

This passage is a series of cautions against irreverence and insincerity in worship, against discouragement because of political wrongs, and against the passion for, and misuse of, great riches. Distrust in God underlies all these evils. Humble faith in and reliance upon Him, in the contrast, mark the wise man. Note —


1. In the first three verses carelessness and loose speech are condemned in all who come into the presence chamber of the Almighty. So it is when subjects appear before any sovereign to do him honour or make request. Exact address and studied phrase are required. The free and easy spirit which will not regard these is expelled hastily and with great indignation. Earthly dignities are but a faint type of the heavenly. The soul which faintly realizes this will come before Him with "few words," if he be a Sinaitic worshipper; "in fulness of faith" and "with boldness," if he be a Christian believer.

2. In the further admonition, hasty and ill-considered pledges are forbidden. Impetuous promising is the worst kind of trifling, and the Church or person who incites another to it only works him harm. We are in agreement with the Mosaic legislation regarding such impiety, "If thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee." Sin lies, not in the refusal to make a partial and ill-considered pledge to God, but in not heeding that first of all His commands, "Give me thine heart." Cordial assent to this requirement makes one an accepted worshipper, whose acts and words do not conflict when he appears before God. Thoughtless, giddy, garrulous lips here are an abomination unto Him. One might better be dreaming and know it.

II. THE DUTY OF RELYING UPON THE DIVINE JUSTICE (vers. 8, 9). The victims of tyranny and wrong have not ceased wailing. We hear their pitiful cries in every era of the world's history.

III. THE DELUSIVE CHARACTER OF WEALTH (vers. 10-12). To denounce riches generally is as though one inveighed against the air: all men breathe it. All men just as naturally long for these material treasures. But our lungs are fitted to receive only a certain volume; we cannot use more. We cannot store it for consumption, enjoying it all the more that others have not as much. And the like is true of these earthly possessions. Beyond the mere provision for food, and raiment, and shelter, and our varied tastes, they have no power to minister, though piled high and broad as the pyramids. "He cannot reach to feel them," as the philosopher says. Yet the deceit is universal, that the more one can amass the nearer he will come to perfect contentment. He will not believe that he chases thus only a shadow — that it is as far from his embrace when he counts his millions as when he had only units. He may as well expect to quench his thirst by drinking of the ocean.

(De Wm. S. Clark.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

WEB: Guard your steps when you go to God's house; for to draw near to listen is better than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they don't know that they do evil.

Reverence and Fidelity
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