We finish off this week by reading Eccl 5:1-7
v1: In the Hebrew Bible this is the last verse in chapter 4. (ie Eccl 4:17)
- Walk prudently: Guard your feet.
- House of G-d: This is a rare statement because Solomon rarely talks about G-d, but every now and then, in this book, he drops little hints of spirituality.
Note: This is a verse of warning. Solomon closed out chapter 4 by speaking about restraint. Here, again, he is hinting at a need to show restraint.
- Draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools: Some people go to a place of worship out of a sense of duty. They write out a check, pay what they think is their due and can’t wait to get out of there. It’s all about making the sacrifice. Worship, however, is about hearing from G-d, listening to Him, following His instructions.
- They do not know that they do evil: When we give out of an obligation (religiosity) we’re giving for the wrong reason. This is seen as evil in G-d’s eyes. G-d does not need you or me. He does not need the things that He put into our hands. However, He gives us an opportunity to participate within His Kingdom – for our betterment, not for His (He doesn’t need anything from us).
Note: In this fifth chapter Solomon is slowly but surely beginning to acknowledge the presence and rule of G-d. He is also starting to see things from G-d’s perspective.
v2: Do not be rash with your mouth…your heart (thoughts): James 1:19. We need to be very mindful of the way that we go into the Presence of G-d (ie don’t be thoughtless). We need to say less and hear more…to be still before Him. Be aware that often when we are still before G-d, our minds are prone to attack from the enemy as he wants to discourage us from listening to G-d – our minds wander here, there and everywhere. We need to grow in our ability to listen to G-d. We need to prepare our hearts to hear Him by praising Him. It takes concentration. Fasting can also be a powerful tool in assisting us in prayer. Many times, Scripturally, when fasting is mentioned it is accompanied by prayer. The purpose of fasting is that we empty or weaken our physical bodies, so that we begin to seek spiritual assistance – which comes, of course, only from the revelation of G-d.
- G-d is in heaven, and you are on earth: G-d dwells in the heavens in a unique way. We dwell upon the earth. There is a separation between us and G-d. Because G-d is very distinct from us, we need to think carefully about what we vocalize before Him.
v3: A dream comes through much activity: As we experience more and more of the world, it is going to impact our desires or dreams. Solomon is warning us about the (spiritual) danger of basing our lives upon what we experience in this world. An abundance of experience in this world is going to lead us to have a multiplicity of desires or a focus based upon what the world is revealing. We need to be careful of this. Are most of our activities spiritually significant or frivolous in nature?
- Many words: The more that someone speaks (just letting things pour out of their mouths) the more foolishness they are going to utter. We should be very, very thoughtful about what we are going to say, and we need to limit what comes out of our mouths. We also need to be very careful when we bring G-d into a conversation -that we don’t attribute to Him words that He never said (eg: “I feel G-d saying…” etc)
v4-5: A vow before G-d is a serious issue (Matt 5:33-37). There is a consequence to any vows we make. Not all vows are foolish (eg marriage vow), but those that are made rashly, generally, are foolish. We can ask G-d to forgive us for rash vows made, and although we are forgiven for making them it doesn’t mean that we are automatically released from our obligation to carry through with them (Judges 11:29- 40 – This was a foolish vow). What Solomon is communicating to us here is that we need to be people of integrity.
v6: Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin: This is speaking about feeling obligated to do (physically, in the flesh) what your mouth has said you will do.
- Messenger of G-d: The one who is leading/reminding/convicting you to carry out the vow you made.
- It was an error: You said something rashly and had no intention to carry it out (…on second thoughts…).
- G-d be angry at your excuse: G-d is holy. When we say something that turns out to be deceitful (intentionally or unintentionally deceitful – we say something we have no intention to carry out) G-d is going to hold us accountable. Learn this principle: Everything that goes forth from our mouths is going to have judgment rendered to it. We need to be serious about our speech. Pause, stop and think carefully about the things that we say. All too often we let emotions dictate our words rather than the Holy Spirit. We need to learn to put a bridle on our tongues.
v7: Many dreams and many words lead to vanity, futility – unless we are dreaming G-d’s dreams for our lives or speaking the words that He gives us to say. If our own dreams and desires are the basis of our lives, we are going to live in frivolity and futility. We need to limit ourselves to those things that we know G-d is placing upon us.
- Fear G-d: A simple but profound statement. To fear G-d means to give Him priority in everything. We don’t go to places where G-d wouldn’t want us to go. We don’t say things that G-d wouldn’t want us to say. When we demonstrate the fear of the L-rd, it is going to be a source of revelation. Fearing Him is how we find His will for our lives – rather than being deceived by pointless dreams and what we think our destiny should be.
1 thought on “The Book of Ecclesiastes Bible Study Chapter 5 Part 1”
Thank you so much Rivka for continuing these studies! I am going through each one, trying to catch up with you. I copy your study notes onto my computer for further study reference and to share with others. These studies are of great value to the Body of Christ!