Come Back, Words!
The little blue Twitter logo of a bird is the perfect representation of how the words and phrases we say can easily take flight. In my conversations with others, there have been way too many moments where that bird has shot out, dive-bombed people nearby, and flown away, leaving behind damage and me frantically saying, “Come back, words!” Unfortunately, I’ve done the same with God in our dialogues, too—making sure I’m being heard and that my plans are made known.
When reading today’s passage, God gently realigns and tames the bird by placing my focus where it needs to be—on him. From this better perspective, my prayer life, relationships, and worship are all a response to everything that he has done and to who he is.
- Think back on a time where you were quick to respond, and your words reflected that. What were the consequences of those words?
Read the Word
Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 (ESV)
5 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool's voice with many words.
4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.
- What do you think it means to “guard your steps when entering the house of God” as described in verse 1? How have you exercised this in your worship of him?
- How does a right understanding of who we are in relationship with God inform our words (vss. 2-3)? What has that looked like in your conversations with God? How often do you take time to listen to his voice?
- When making a vow or promise with God, when do we begin putting it into action, as shared in verses 4 and 5? How have you seen God keep his promises in your life?
- What do you think the Teacher is describing in verse 7?
- What’s the temperature of your heart? Do the words you say to God and others overflow from the abundance of grace he has shown to you?
Respond to God
All too often, the mouth carries a talent for bringing forth destruction, evil, and haste, both in our response to God and to those around us. This proverb teaches us to enter God’s presence with a heart wide-open to his voice and leading—moving from a fist in the air to bowing down in humility. In fact, the writer goes on to say that’s the very posture and answer to our sometimes-devious tongue and the promises we make—it’s all meaningless without us approaching him first with respect, honor, and a heart that is slow to speak.
- Pray that God would give you ears to hear his voice.
- Be still, and listen for what God is saying to you in the silence.