“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 that they do wrong. 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. A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool.”
Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 NIV
Let’s back up for a moment. Two days ago we discussed our empty vows to God [Ecc. 5:4]. The verses above provide the needed context for verse four. The writer, or “teacher”, as he was called, was trying to help people navigate a part of their relationship with God. In verse one he cautions against rushing into the house of God rambling out prayers. He says to instead come inside and listen first. When you sit down to talk with God do you just start pouring everything out, or do you wait and listen first? Fools rush in. The wise know to wait. I too am working on this.
In verse two, he cautions to speak with fewer words. Jesus also said this when he cautioned that lengthy prayers weren’t necessary. He also cautioned against praying for public attention and making vain repetitions (empty phrases) [Matt. 6:5-7].
When we get to verse three, it sort of throws a slight curve ball because it mentions our dreams. Our rambling of prayers is sometimes because we’re just imitating what we’ve heard from others, especially at church. But oftentimes it’s because we’re overwhelmed by all of our issues and we desperately want resolution by God. Well it’s said that a person flooded by dreams is carrying around a lot of stuff. The dreams can be playing out scenarios, warning us, or planting seeds of possibility.
When you have a lot of fears, goals, desires, unresolved issues—you dream. The ones you remember may be the ones you need to examine further, or surrender quickly to God for resolution.
Let us also work towards saying more with fewer words, as the longer we speak the less is retained by others and the more we seem to be on our own soapbox. It can also be said that the more you talk, without the goal seeming to be clarity, the more it appears you don’t know what you’re saying, you’re just trying to “wing it”. Besides, when it comes to petitioning and praying to God, as Jesus made clear, God already knows our issues, concerns, needs, and desires before we ask Him [Matt. 6:8]. So why do we feel the need to ramble and babble? It’s not like He was on vacation and we need to catch Him up with all of the details. He’s more present in our lives than we are.
This analysis really helped me. I hope it helps you or someone you know.
Father, I have dreams both good and bad throughout the day and at night when I rest. Comfort me Lord when I’m in pain by the visions of bleakness and despair. Help me to see the right paths towards resolution.
Father, help me to frame my thoughts before I speak so that I may make best use of the message, delivering fewer words with the greatest of impact. In Your Name I pray. Amen.
Have an amazing weekend and Labor Day holiday!
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