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The Scriptorium

Watch What You Say

Ecclesiastes 5.2, 3

2Do 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.

3For a dream comes through much activity,
And a fool’s voice
is knownby his many words.

The Story:God, Solomon implies, pays attention to our words, even though we may not. In Psalm 50 God confronts hypocrites in the midst of their worship, insisting that they have no right, whether in prayer or singing, to take His covenant on their lips. The reason? They live like fools, not like pious people. In Isaiah 1 God rejects all the elaborate rituals and offerings of a sinful people. Jesus also condemned those whose religion consisted primarily in empty words (Matt. 6.1-8). Again, Solomon’s point seems to be that our posture before God should be one more inclined to receive than to give. Not that we should not speak at all – whether to pray, sing, or give testimony. Certainly we should. But the words we offer to God should be few and such as we might receive from God, and not just those we might “dream up” to impress Him – or others.

The Structure:Worship such as Solomon prescribes here is difficult for many people. Many people in our day seem to treat public worship as an opportunity for drawing attention to themselves, either by their many words, prominence in leading worship, or other dramatic gestures. Solomon seems to counsel quiet and humility as the proper posture in the house of God, rather than much talking and gesticulating. In a day when, for many churches, public worship has taken on more the atmosphere of drama and entertainment than silence and humility, Solomon’s words provide an opportunity for us to reflect, both on what we aredoing in worship, and what we should bedoing if we were truly worshiping “under the heavens.” Undoubtedly Rehoboam was faithful in going to the temple; but was he a sincere worshiper or simply a fool?What about us?

What opportunities fo silence, reflection, listening for God, and humbling yourselves before Him does your church’s service of worship provide?

Each week’s studies in our
Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Approaching God: Ecclesiastes 5,” simply click here.


T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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