Summary: How we approach God in our worship reflects how we really feel about who God is in our lives.
“Our Attitude Towards God”
• The Preacher Solomon has been looking at the empty pursuit of wealth, position and power, however now he turns to the vanity of empty worship of God.
• Specifically Solomon deals with our attitude towards God before, during and after public worship.
• Define worship: our English word derives from the Anglican word worth-ship, and is defined as an active response to God whereby we declare His worth. Worship is faith-in-motion. It’s not passive but something we participate in; it is not a mood but a response; it is not a feeling but a proclamation; it is not a ritual but an earnest celebration; it comes not out of a sense of obligation but is the highest expression of love.
I. Our Attitude in Worship (1)
• “Keep thy foot” can also be translated guard your steps, literally the Preacher is telling us to watch how we walk into the House of God.
• Fruitful and acceptable worship begins before it begins.
• How we prepare to worship God shows the true picture of what we think of God, do we ever take a step back to make sure we are entering thoughtfully and intentionally ready to hear from God.
• Our attitude (how we approach God) can hinder us from being able to hear the word of God.
• If we are not ready to hear the word then Solomon calls our attempt at worship “the sacrifice of fools.”
• In Solomon’s day the sacrifice at the Temple was central to their worship of God, but even this could be empty and meaningless is the person’s heart attitude wasn’t right; I believe Solomon must have learned this truth from his father David.
Psalm 51:16-17 (NIV)
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
• If we come into God’s house with an attitude of just carrying out our religious duty we are fooling ourselves in thinking that God is pleased with that kind of worship.
• Or if we find ourselves showing up week after week being distracted because of the songs we sing (or don’t sing) or because of the of technical difficulties or if we spent the whole ride to church yelling at the kids or arguing with our spouse, then we are hindered from truly hearing the word of God and are guilty of giving the “sacrifice of fools!”
• Also notice what the Preacher sees as the central part of worship, it’s not the sacrifice (or what we give), but it’s the word.
• I’m not saying those other things are not important, they are, God loves to hear His people singing praise and adoration to His name; however God also wants us to hear from Him through His word, and that should be the most worshipful part of our service.
• It is God’s word that convicts and changes us so that we can live in obedience and worship God with our lives the rest of the week.
Amos 5:21-24 (ESV)
21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24 But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.
• Sacrifices are not substitutes for obedience.
• Because they do not draw near with the purpose of first hearing and then obeying, Solomon says “that they do evil” and don’t even realize it.
II. Our Attitude in Prayer (2-3)
• Take time to consider what we are going to say before we come into the presence of God in prayer.
• Solomon warns us not to be rash or hasty or impulsive with our prayers.
Psalm 141:1-3 (ESV)
1 O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you! 2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! 3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
• But how many times do we treat God like some kind of cosmic vending machine because we fail to take time to consider what we are going to pray.
• Again this goes back to our attitude towards God, He is not our buddy or our doting grandfather, He is in Heaven and therefore should be approached with carefully weighed words because we are upon the earth.