We’ve been discussing the book of Ecclesiastes which portrays the vanities of life and our pursuit of labor and wisdom while sharing how we can better connect our lives and gifts of labor to God’s predestined purpose for us. So, here we are at Ecclesiastes 5, and King Solomon is giving us a little insight on approaching God with the correct mindset.
One of the questions I pitched early in the devotion was “How Should I Approach God?” Here are some of the listener responses:
We should approach God with praise, thanksgiving, and admiration.
We need to be open, be flexible, bendable…willing to allow the Lord to change us and mold us. We need to approach the Lord letting Him know that it is His will that we want for our lives, and not our own.
These two responses couldn’t have been said more wonderfully and on-point. Too often, we go before God with the wrong motives and with the intent to trick Him with our foolery. Let’s take a strong look at Ecclesiastes 5:1-7.
In verse 2, King Solomon warns us that God wants us to revere Him. I don’t address my parents or grandparents in the same manner I would approach my friends – out of reverence and respect for their position and wisdom. God wants us to have this same type of reverence and respect (and more!) for Him. Come into His presence with meaningful purpose, not just out of vain traditions that mean nothing to us once we complete our prayer! When we have the opportunity to enter into God’s presence (as verse 1 explains), be still and open your heart to hearing and receiving His will instead of injecting frivolous, useless vanities in His Holy presence. Don’t offer a fraud or what we don’t intend to deliver.
Verse 3 is actually pretty revealing. Just as the cares of life express themselves in our dreams, that is exactly how a fool proves himself to be a fool – through a “multitude of words.” – i.e., excess talk. Ever wonder why you’re dreaming about the shoes you picked out for Monday’s outfit? There’s a lot going on in our lives, and sometimes those extra little “goings-on” express themselves in our dreams. So when we go before God to pray or enter into His presence, don’t just be an excess or mouthful of words (verse 4) without direct purpose – ’cause He knows if you’re playing or for real! Come to God with purposeful substance and a desire to obtain more from Him.
Why? Because God is going to hold you accountable. After you’ve made petitions before Him, He revisits them asking you “will you fulfill your promise?” – because we expect Him to, right? Verses 5 and 6 cautions us against this. It is better to just sit there and bask in the glory of His presence rather than break a covenant with God (broken promises). Watch your mouth, because now that you’ve broken your promise, you have sinned against God. And you shouldn’t come back with the excuse of “I didn’t mean to say it,” because prayer and God is serious business. Now you’ve opened the door for God to charge you accordingly – He goes on to make a promise that He will destroy the results of your labor. Yeah, remember the happiness that God grants in Ecclesiastes 2 because of our obedience and fellowship with Him?
So where exactly are we getting? Ultimately, it is important for us to have reverence towards God (verse 7). As there is the vanity (or meaninglessness, worthlessness) of life and labor, there can also be vanity in prayer. The last thing we want to do is become meaningless in our prayers and collaboration with God. We should have a level of respect for God in that we intently choose not to approach Him with foolery and foolishness.
So, The BIG Question:
How should you approach God? With reverence, respect, and dignity.
So how do we get the true value out of partnership with God? There are times that God has ordained for us to fellowship and collaborate with Him. He allows us into His presence to call us into action on real vows and real purpose – to prepare us for things He would like us to fulfill.
- This is why (verse 1) we shouldn’t go before Him with foolishness or useless crap.
- Go before God with you…who you are – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Say, “This is me, God. Here I am.”
- Here is where God can use you and open Himself to you. When you make a vow before Him in this state, it is by divine assignment that you desire to fulfill.