Listen to God
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know what they do wrong.” (Eccl. 5:1)
The wise man, Solomon, long ago penned these words to a crooked and perverse generation of people who thought they were honoring God by their continuous sacrifices. Solomon knew folly. He had lived his life chasing after the wind like a cat chasing its tail. He had reached for everything under the sun, but still found no satisfaction. In reflection, he said, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (Verse 2).
Solomon knew a secret that it takes most of us a lifetime to learn and understand. “LISTEN TO GOD!” That was his secret.
A friend called me the other day and asked about a computer problem he was having. Helping someone in person is one thing, but doing it over the phone is another all together. As we spoke I said, “Now only do what I tell you when I tell you.” That’s not so hard is it? As the conversation progressed he would occasionally stop me and say, “We have to start over. I pushed the wrong button.” Finally I stopped and said, “Stop! Listen to me! Don’t do anything that I don’t tell you to do and we will fix the problem.”
We sometimes get so anxious to do it right and do it now that we fail to hear what the instructions are. Without following the correct procedures, we will most often fail.
Christians are like that. We know how to push a few buttons. After all, we have been operating the keyboard of life for all these many years now. We know that there is a right way and a wrong way. And, we most often think we know the right way. Every once in a while God has to stop us and say, “Now listen carefully to me. You are not doing it correctly.”
Our sacrifices before God can be offered with good intentions but yet, they can be the sacrifices of fools. We are not foolish because we are dumb or mentally incapacitated. We are fools when we fail to listen to God. We are foolish when we read the Bible with pre-conceived ideas, thus we hear God through that prejudice. We order the steps of our lives according to what WE think is right. It may be what God said and what He meant, and then again, what He said and meant may have been altogether different.
James taught us to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” Listen to Solomon in verse 7, “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.”
Powerful statements! Listen again: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God… Stand in awe of God.” How can I really stand awe-stricken when I can’t even hear God? How can I guard myself when I really don’t even know what is expected of me.
Does your life often seem upside down? Do you ever feel that your river flows uphill and in the wrong direction? It may be that we need to redirect, listen again and be quiet. God really knows what He wants. LISTEN TO GOD!