“Keep your foot when you go 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. Be not rash with your mouth and let not your heart be hasty to utter anything before God—for God is in Heaven and you upon the earth; therefore, let your words be few. . .When you vow a vow unto God, defer not to pay it—for He has not pleasure in fools; pay that which you have vowed. Better is it that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.”
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, 4-5
If “words fitly spoken are as apples of gold in picture frames of silver” (Prov. 25:11), then we should always be very careful when we speak—especially in relation to God.
All born-again Christians know they are now under Grace and no longer “under the curse of the Law” (Gal. 3:10, 13). However, this still is not a license to sin, even though some consider it so (Rom. 6:1-2, 15-22). Thus, we should not casually disregard Solomon’s words in today’s Manna—for our Lord still doesn’t take lightly loose lips and rash vows.
Solomon starts out by saying “Keep your foot when you go into the House of God.” We know he’s referring to the Temple which he built. And, even though he’d built many other magnificent structures during his 40-year reign (Eccl. 2:4-6), he later realized they, too, seemed “vanity and vexation of spirit and there was no profit under the sun” (v.11).
But, he didn’t say that about the Temple.
He knew that Holy House of God was a sacred place and those who entered within its doors should never take lightly what they say or do within those hallowed halls. Even though we now know our “bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor. 6:19; II Cor. 6:16), we still should treat our local Church assembly hall with the type of respect that befits the One by Whose Name we are called.
Sadly, too often, within those walls has been much “conduct unbecoming” of a Christian. Too many churches’ reputation has been tarnished by those “infamous business meetings,” where sinful pride, hateful words and deeds have been given free reign. And, then we wonder why the world so often wants nothing to do with the Church! God forbid!!
Oh, dear Pilgrim, of all people in the world, born-again Christians should be known as people of their word. Honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, etc., should always characterize those who profess Jesus as Savior and Lord; otherwise, He is “crucified afresh and brought into an open shame” (Heb. 6:6).
What about you, Pilgrim? Is your word your bond? Does “a handshake seal the deal” when you make a promise to someone else? Or, are you guilty of “hasty vows” like Jephthah, whose rash vow to God caused him to offer his own daughter as a sacrifice (Judg. 11:29-40)?
May the Holy Spirit help us from this day forward to always carefully “weigh our words” before vowing this-or-that before God? If we vow it, He hears it and expects us to keep it. It may cost us—even as it did the three Hebrew teenagers in Daniel’s day (Dan. 3:1-18)—but the same One that delivered them then is the same One Who’ll deliver us now (vv.19-25). Amen and amen.
July 18, 2011