Approaching God with the Right Attitude

Approaching God with the Right Attitude

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 

“Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools.”

 

            Familiarity can breed flippancy.  We live in a time when we have more information and access to teaching regarding God and his redemptive plan than at any other time in history.  We have multiple bibles on the shelf.  We can turn to radio, tv or listen to podcasts on the internet to hear gifted preachers expound upon the truths of God.  We have multiple options for where to attend church.  We are inundated with messages (and rightfully so) that God loves us and desires a personal relationship with us.  As a result, we can become complacent about worship, and our worship can become more man-centered than God-centered.  Tragically, our worship often focuses more on what God does for us rather than who God is.  Ultimately, we can become flippant in our worship and attitude toward God.  We start to view God as a cosmic teddy bear rather than the holy and righteous God whom the angels worship with anthems of praise. In Ecclesiastes 5,  the sage warns us to guard our steps when we draw near to God, not because he is unapproachable but because of his supremacy and divine nature. We are to precede with an attitude of reverence.  Even though we are invited into a personal relationship with God, we are always to remember that he is God, holy and majestic in his gory.  

            He further admonishes us to approach God to listen and not to be hasty or impulsive in our words.  In our inability to fully comprehend God’s activity, we can become irreligious and see God as someone we can manipulate rather than someone to whom we surrender our life. We can approach God with the attitude that he exists to serve us.  So in our prayers, we focus solely on what we want him to do.  This does not mean God does not desire us to present our requests to him.  Throughout scripture, he invites us to do this very thing.  However, our relationship is more than an “ask and receive” relationship. The preacher warns us of the danger of seeing God only as our giver and not our teacher.  When we come before God, we are to come with a desire to hear from him, learn from him regarding who he is, and how we relate to him.  This points us to an attitude of submission.  We are to approach him with a recognition that his words are accurate and that we are to conform our lives to him.  To conform God to our perspective is the sacrifice of fools who come before God with demands of God while refusing to submit to him (vs. 3). 

            To come into God’s presence requires a recognition that he is in heaven and we are on earth.  We have nothing to offer God and are in no position to bargain with him or alter his word.  Instead, we are to approach him with fear (vs. 7), not the fear that leads to anxiety and terror, but the fear that leads to a sense of awe and respect.  It is the type of fear that elicits obedience. In our approach to God, do we come to learn and obey his word, or do we come merely to rationalize our disobedience and disregard his word? When confronted with sin, we minimize it and say it was only an unintentional mistake (Lev. 4:2,22).  However, God does not accept our excuses, and we are at risk of his judgment (6)   

In these words, the writer is reminding us that in all the incongruities of life and all the paradoxes we struggle to understand in this broken world, the one absolute is God. He is the starting point and guiding star in navigating this confusing world.  Consequently, wisdom and significance start with recognizing the supremacy of God and the surety of his word. 

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