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“Theme of Reverence in Worship & Vanity of Wealth” (Ecclesiastes 5, NIV)


Ecclesiastes five delves into the theme of reverence in worship and the vanity of wealth. The chapter warns against making rash vows and emphasizes the importance of fulfilling promises to God. It highlights the transient nature of material possessions and encourages contentment in one's lot. Ultimately, it underscores the importance of fearing God and acknowledging His sovereignty over all aspects of life.

1. "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."

- This verse emphasizes the importance of reverence and attentiveness when approaching God's presence. It encourages individuals to be mindful and intentional in their worship, focusing on listening and understanding rather than merely going through the motions of religious rituals. Spiritually, it teaches humility and the need for a sincere heart in worship.

2. "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."

- Here, the emphasis is on the importance of restraint and thoughtful communication, especially in prayer and communication with God. It advises against rash speech or impulsive promises made to God. It reminds believers of the vastness of God's wisdom and position, urging them to approach Him with humility and reverence.

3. "As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words."

- This verse draws a parallel between the rambling speech of a fool and the fleeting nature of dreams that arise from worries and anxieties. It underscores the emptiness and lack of substance in excessive talk, highlighting the importance of speaking wisely and purposefully.

4. "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow."

- This verse stresses the importance of integrity and faithfulness in keeping one's promises, especially those made to God. It emphasizes the seriousness of commitments made to the Divine and the need to honor them promptly. Spiritually, it teaches accountability and trustworthiness in our relationship with God.

5. "It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it."

- This verse underscores the seriousness of making vows, cautioning against the frivolousness of making commitments that one cannot or does not intend to fulfill. It encourages sincerity and integrity in our words and actions, emphasizing the importance of honesty and reliability in our relationship with God.

6. "Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, 'My vow was a mistake.' Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?"

- Here, the warning is against making excuses or attempting to retract vows once they have been made. It emphasizes the importance of honoring one's word and taking responsibility for one's actions. It also highlights the seriousness of sin and its consequences, urging believers to be mindful of their speech and actions.

7. "Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore, fear God."

- This verse serves as a conclusion to the previous admonitions, summarizing the emptiness of excessive talk and empty promises. It underscores the importance of reverent awe and respect for God, recognizing His sovereignty and wisdom above all else. Spiritually, it reminds believers to prioritize their relationship with God and to live in accordance with His will, rather than indulging in empty pursuits and vain rhetoric.

8. "If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still."

- This verse addresses the reality of injustice and oppression in the world. It suggests that such occurrences are not unusual, as corruption can exist within hierarchical systems of authority. It serves as a reminder not to be naive about the presence of injustice, but also not to lose hope, as ultimately, God is the ultimate authority.

9. "The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields."

- Here, the verse highlights the pervasive nature of taxation and exploitation, where even the king benefits from the produce of the land. It speaks to the reality of societal structures where those in power often benefit at the expense of others.

10. "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless."

- This verse emphasizes the futility of pursuing wealth for its own sake. It suggests that the pursuit of money and material possessions is ultimately unsatisfying, as it leads to a never-ending cycle of desire and discontentment. It echoes the broader theme in Ecclesiastes of the vanity of worldly pursuits.

11. "As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?"

- Here, the verse highlights the transient nature of material wealth. It suggests that accumulating possessions often leads to an increase in those who seek to benefit from them, without necessarily bringing true fulfillment or lasting satisfaction to the owners.

12. "The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep."

- This verse contrasts the contentment of the laborer who is able to rest peacefully regardless of their circumstances with the restlessness of the wealthy, who are plagued by worries and anxieties despite their abundance. It underscores the idea that true satisfaction and peace come not from wealth, but from a contented heart.

13. "I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,"

- This verse identifies the hoarding of wealth as a grievous evil, particularly when it harms the owner or others. It speaks to the negative consequences of greed and selfishness, which can ultimately lead to spiritual and moral decay.

14. "or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when they have children there is nothing left for them to inherit."

- Here, the verse highlights another potential pitfall of wealth: its susceptibility to loss or misfortune. It suggests that even if one accumulates great riches, they may ultimately be lost, leaving nothing for future generations.

15. "Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands."

- This verse underscores the transient nature of life and the impermanence of material possessions. It reminds us that we enter and leave the world with nothing, emphasizing the futility of placing excessive value on earthly wealth.

16. "This too is a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind?"

- Here, the verse reiterates the theme of the vanity of worldly pursuits. It suggests that the efforts expended in the pursuit of wealth are ultimately futile, akin to chasing after the wind, as they do not lead to lasting fulfillment or true meaning.

17. "All their days they eat in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger."

- This verse paints a picture of the discontent and suffering that can accompany the pursuit of wealth. It suggests that those who prioritize material gain often experience inner turmoil and dissatisfaction, even amidst outward success.

18. "This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot.

- Here, the verse offers a counterpoint to the pursuit of wealth, advocating instead for finding contentment and satisfaction in life's simple pleasures and in fulfilling work. It suggests that true meaning and fulfillment are found not in the accumulation of wealth, but in embracing one's lot in life and finding joy in the present moment.

19. "Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God."

- This verse acknowledges that wealth and possessions, when received as gifts from God, can be enjoyed and appreciated. However, it emphasizes the importance of gratitude and contentment, urging individuals to accept their circumstances and find happiness in their work, recognizing that all blessings ultimately come from God.

20. "They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart."

- The final verse suggests that those who are content and grateful for what they have are spared the burden of constant reflection and worry about the fleeting nature of life. Instead, they are kept occupied with gladness of heart, experiencing the joy that comes from a deep sense of gratitude and fulfillment in their relationship with God.

Overall, Ecclesiastes 5:1-20 provides valuable insights into the importance of reverence, integrity, and humility in our relationship with God, emphasizing the significance of sincere worship, thoughtful communication, and faithful obedience.

In Christ, love ❤️ Jared

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