Fools In The House of God, Ecc 5:1-7

Solomon built the house of the Lord. So he was very aware of some principle things that men should consider when coming to the house of the Lord.  He warned against being fools in the house of God.

Keep thy foot.  When Solomon finished the house, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord, 1 Ki 8:10-11.  It was a holy place.  You’re coming into the presence of the Lord in the house of God.

This is like Ex 3:5-7, when Moses was on holy ground, and the Lord spoke to him.  And this was like Jos 5:13-6:2, when the Lord told Joshua the place is holy.  In both places, the Lord said something and the men were told to remove their shoes.  When Jews entered the house of the Lord, they were on holy ground.

He’s saying “don’t go into the house of God unless you’re going for the right reason and with the right attitude, to be in the presence of the Lord and meet with God”.  Jesus ran people out of the temple for being there for the wrong reason.  They were fools in the house of God.

Be more ready to hear, Jas 1:19.  In the house of God, they were to be ready to hear.  Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”.  The first time the phrase “house of God” appears in the Bible, Gen 28:17, God had just spoken to Jacob, Gen 28:12-15.  In Jud 20:18, the house of God was where Israel could make inquiry of God; to hear from God.  The problem in Jer 6:19 was that “they have not hearkened unto my words”.  It was foolish for them to enter the house of God without being ready to hear from God.  They were fools in the house of God.

Don’t offer the sacrifice of fools.Cain’s sacrifice was foolish and unacceptable, Gen 4:3-5.  He did evil, 1 Jn 3:12, yet he considered not that he was evil.  He replied to the Lord curtly, “am I my brother’s keeper”?  Saul’s sacrifice was foolish, 1 Sam 15:20-23.  He did evil, yet he considered not that he was evil.

The Pharisees’ sacrifices were foolish; they did evil.  They turned the house of God into a house of merchandise and a den of thieves, Jn 2:13-16; Matt 21:13.  In Prov 15:8, “the sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord”.  “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice”, Prov 21:3.  In Jer 6:20, the Lord said, “your burnt offerings are not acceptable”.

They considered not that they were doing evil.  Showing up at the temple to sacrifice to God when they were not listening to his words was a huge mistake.  God eventually destroyed the temple because Israel did this.  They were fools in the house of God.

Be not rash with thy mouth.  Rash with thy mouth is speaking without thinking.  You’re giving no measure of thought or deliberation before speaking.  They were warned to be careful with this because “God is in heaven and thou upon earth”.

In 2 Chr 18:3, Jehoshaphat’s reply to Ahab is a good example of rash speaking.  Jehu met Jehoshaphat in 2 Chr 19:1-2, and proclaimed that the wrath of God was upon him for helping Ahab.

To prevent rash speaking, Prov 30:32, you are to lay thine hand upon thy mouth.  Jas 3:2-6 don’t let the words out of your mouth.  In Job 38:2 God rebuked Job for speaking words without knowledge.  And in Job 40:1-5 Job said, “I will lay mine hand upon my mouth”.  In Job 42:7, Job got it straightened out.

Let thy words be few.  Prov 17:27-28.  The easiest way to prevent problems with the words coming out of your mouth is to shut your mouth.  The fewer words the better.  In premarital instruction, I teach the couple that the short answer is the best answer in tense discussions.

“For a dream cometh through the multitude of business”.  This is a negative connotation.  These dreams are like Deut 13:3-5, Jer 23:27-32 and not like the dreams in which God is revealing truth. Some dreams come directly from the Lord.

These are dreams coming from the man, through the multitude of his business.  Like these kinds of dreams, a fool’s voice is know by the multitude of words, Prov 10:19.  v.7 In the multitude of dreams and words are many vanities. These are foolish dreams.  And the multitude of words identify a fool’s voice.  They were fools in the house of God.

Be careful with vows.  “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it”, v.4.  See Num 30:2; Deut 23:21-23.  It was foolish to make a vow and not pay it, because God held them to it.  He has no pleasure in fools.  In v.5-6 Solomon said it is better not to vow than to vow and not pay.  It’s a sin.  He asked, “Wherefore should God be angry at thy voice. and destroy the work of thine hands”?

“Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error”.  This is the angel of the Lord, who appeared to Moses and to Joshua.  He is the one that commanded Gad to tell David to build an altar in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, 1 Chr 21:15, 18, 26.

But fear thou God.  The right approach to God in the house of God is in the fear of God.

Practical applications for today.  People today get the idea that God will favor them in three circumstances:

  • Their multitude of words, Matt 6:7.  It is much better to listen to  God and obey him, than trying to get him to listen to you.  Vain repetitions, like the prayers of a rosary, are foolish.
  • Their sacrifices, Hos 6:6, Matt 9:13.  The Lord made the sacrifice you need to have mercy and to come into favor with him.  Trying to do penance to appease God over sins you have committed is foolish.
  • Their vows, Jon 1:16.  Years ago, I had a secretary whose husband was facing a difficult heart surgery.  He vowed to be in church faithfully if God would help him survive.  He never darkened the door of a church after he left the hospital.  Vows like this are foolish.

Fear God and don’t be like the fools in the house of God.

To study the prior lesson, see Things That Are Better.  To study the next lesson, see Eat and Drink.