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Could you explain Ecclesiastes 5:1?

Submitted: 11/27/2006
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Question: Ecclesiastes 5:1 says 'Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.' What is the meaning of this? It seems to be referring to our attitude toward the house of God. But what is the house of God? Is that church services, home groups, Bible studies, none of the above? What is a sacrifice of fools? Hear what? Can you please expound on this for me?

Answer: In Solomon's day, the house of God was the temple he had constructed in Jerusalem. Today, we are the temple of the Lord. This means that anytime a group of believers comes together, we can think of that as going to the house of God. If you read on in Ecclesiastes 5 down through verse 7, you will find that this passage is teaching us to be more focused on listening and learning than speaking. As James wrote, 'Be swift to hear, slow to speak....' The fool is one who makes commitments to God that he does not keep. We are advised to be careful what we commit to, since God takes our words seriously, whether we do or not. Jesus warned that we would be judged for every idle word we utter. This is a serious matter. The 'sacrifice of fools' is a quickly and foolishly uttered commitment to God. As the passage tells us, it is better not to make a vow than to make one and then fail to keep it.