Chapter 5: Worship and Wealth
When You Go to God’s House, vs. 1-8
- Spiritual activity
- Attending the temple
- Solomon’s Watching people going to the temple
- What am I doing?
1. Be Careful
1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God,
with care .... Watch your step … Be aware Traps to fall in mechanics and formalism … prepare before going “prudent” .. ready to hear
keep God actively involved in our lives … Go to the house if God … Are we actively submitted to God? Going to church is a part of this submission
2. Be Ready to Hear
and be more ready to hear,
3. Do Not Sacrifice like Fools
than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
Qohelet warns about making the "sacrifice of fools." "The sacrifice of the fools should be thought of not as a denial of the value of sacrifice per se but as a critique of superficial religion that goes through the rituals with many words but no awareness of God." There are other warnings in the Old Testament about offering vain sacrifices to God, such as 1 Samuel 15:22–23, Psalm 40:6, and Isaiah 1:11. These verses combined show us that God is not pleased with sacrifices if the heart of the giver was unclean.
4. Do Not be Hasty with Your Words
2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. 3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
- Much Speaking
- Do we really think God is impressed?
- Not impress, but “pour out your heart to God”.
- Elijah’s prayer on Mt. Carmel versus false prophets
In verse 1, there is instruction that those that go to the temple should be ready to listen. The idea is continued through verse 7. It is instruction to listen more than we talk, and specifically to listen more to God than we talk to Him. The principles of listening to instruction and controlling how much we talk are found often in the book of Proverbs (Prov. 2:2; 4:20; 5:1; 15:31; 18:15; 21:13; 22:17; 23:12; 25:12; 28:9). There is considerable similarities with Ecclesiastes 5:3b, which says, "a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words" and Proverbs 17:28, which says, "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise." Jesus also warned against praying with "vain repetitions" and thinking that your prayer will be heard because you use many words (Matt. 6:7).
5. Do not be Hasty with Your Vows
4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
- Vows are not required here, but God is listening when we make them.
6. Do not be Dishonest with Your Vows
6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? 7a For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: …
- “angel”: messenger; preist, preacher
- “it was an error”: it was a mistake; I should not have made this vow in the first place and therefore should not keep it
- dishonesty; mockery of God
Galatians 6:7 — Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Qohelet continues the idea of being careful with our words by giving advice on making vows to God. He said that it is better to not make a vow than to make a vow and break it. Jesus went farther with this teaching, and He said that we shouldn't make any vows at all (Matt. 5:33–37).
7. Fear God Above All
7b … but fear thou God. 8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.
- We are to keep down the fear of man. Set God before us
- Is Worship and specifically church attendance all about me and my felt need? We should come for HIM! Fear God and reverance Him. Hold in high regard. The unrighteous:
Romans 3:18 — There is no fear of God before their eyes.
The Vanity of Riches, v. 9-17
- Wealth never satisfies (v. 10)
- When you have more wealth, you have more problems (v. 11)
- Wealth can cause anxiety, which robs you of sleep (v. 12)
- We cannot take wealth with us to death (v. 13–17)
1. Love Silver = Not Satisfied with Silver
9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. 10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
MHC “The king needs the common things of life, and the poor share them; they relish their morsel better than he does his luxuries.”“
2. What Good is Beholding?
11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?
- Counting Money
3. Sweet Sleep
12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
- The sleep of the labourer is sweet, not only because he is tired, but because he has little care to break his sleep.
- Adding and Borrowing Trouble
4. Where is the Profit? (naked shall he return, you can’t take it with you.)
13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. 14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. 15 As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. 16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind? 17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.
The Conclusion to Increase, vs. 18-20
18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. 19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. 20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.
- Eat, Drink and Enjoy Life.
Wealth may not satisfy, but God does give blessings to every person. They can eat, drink and enjoy life. This is similar to statements in 2:24–26 and 9:7–10.
“that which I have seen…”, (inferred “under the sun”): You worked for it, enjoy it -
Do we have a problem when someone that has worked hard, enjoys the fruit of his labor? Do we begrudge him? “amiable”, “looks good in the eyes of men.” Good and comely; good or comfortable to man’s self, and comely or amiable in the eyes of other men, as penuriousness is base and dishonourable.
We must not view our calling as a drudgery, thankful ejoyment
“this is the gift of God”: Riches ought to be received of God and to be used for His glory.
“It is his portion” – for the FAITHFUL BELIEVER, he has a much greater portion: in Heaven!
Rewards of the Faithful Believer
What is Our Portion?
Ecclesiastes 2:21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
Ecclesiastes 3:22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
Revelation 22:12 — And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Happy; enjoying spiritual happiness and the favor of God; enjoying heavenly felicity; Spiritually Prosperous, Having God’s Favor; consecrating by prayer; a wish of happiness pronounced; a prayer imploring happiness upon another. The divine favor is the greatest blessing.
Psalms 2:12 — Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Psalms 84:4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Psalms 106:3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. Psalms 119:1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Psalms 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
- Heaven, Comfort, Authority, Satisfaction, Mercy, See God, Be the Children of God, What is Christ’s is Ours, Honor (Matthew 5:1-12)
When we pray for blessing for each other we are saying Biblically:
“Let them be poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, merciful, pure, peacemakers and persecuted.”
We can never be happy living self-centered lives.
What is Christ’s is ours
Numbers 18:20 — And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.
- Revealed Truth
Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. Luke 10:23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
- The Best is Yet to Come
Luke 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
- Serving God is its Own Reward
Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
- Fed and Served by the Master
Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
Revelation 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Romans 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
- Eternal Life
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Some More Blessings
One morning R. C. Chapman, a devout Christian, was asked how he was feeling. “I’m burdened this morning!” was his reply. But his happy countenance contradicted his words. So the questioner exclaimed in surprise, “Are you really burdened, Mr. Chapman?” “Yes, but it’s a wonderful burden; it’s an overabundance of blessings for which I cannot find enough time or words to express my gratitude!” Seeing the puzzled look on the face of his friend, Chapman added with a smile, “I am referring to Psalm 68:19, which fully describes my condition. In that verse the Father in heaven reminds us that He daily loads us with benefits.’“
Psalm 68:19 — Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
F. E. Marsh has enumerated some of these blessings:
- An acceptance that can never be questioned. (Eph. 1:6).
- An inheritance that can never be lost (I Peter 1:3-5).
- A deliverance that can never be excelled (2 Cor. 1:10).
- A grace that can never be limited (2 Cor. 12:9).
- A hope that can never be disappointed. (Heb. 6:18, 19).
- A bounty that can never be withdrawn. (1 Col. 3:21-23).
- A joy that need never be diminished (John 15:11).
- A nearness to God that can never be reversed (Eph. 2:13).
- A peace that can never be disturbed (John 14:27).
- A righteousness that can never be tarnished (2 Cor. 5:21).
- A salvation that can never be canceled (Heb. 5:9).
-  Baker, p. 267