Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. ~Ecclesiastes 5:1
On a typical Sunday morning, millions of people go to church. Not all go with the same motives. Before I was born again and totally changed by the Holy Spirit of God (II Corinthians 5:17), I went to church to fulfill my moral obligation. I dressed up (like today’s beautiful picture) and put on my Sunday best. Sadly, it was my heart that should have been prepared, not my outward appearance. (I Samuel 16:7) I also went to church so that others would see me there, not because I desired to hear from God. I don’t think I was too different from many who attended along with me.
However, once I was saved, I was totally different. After salvation, we should thirst after God’s word. We should read the bible for hours on end as though we are dying of hunger or thirst and cannot get enough to eat or drink! (Luke 4:4) When we long to hear from the Lord, He will satisfy our thirst day after day! (Matthew 5:6) Each time we enter His gates (the church house), we should be ready to hear what He has to say to us. If we want our spiritual cups to be filled to the brim by the Holy Spirit, we must enter with empty cups. If our spiritual cups are filled with concerns, burdens, sin, etc., we won’t have any room available. We must prepare ourselves prior to reading and hearing God’s word – a spiritual housecleaning, if you will. God can fill an empty cup but He can’t fill one that’s full of sin and worldliness.
Today’s text takes this a little bit further. God points out that there are those who will go to church, as I did before salvation, merely to fulfill their religious obligation and moral duty. These do not go expecting to hear about one of their sins and repenting from it. No, they will not see their sin – they will not hear. This is not the way of a repentant heart. The one who goes into God’s house expecting to hear from the Lord is the one who will benefit. Fulfilling one’s religious duty is not obedience to the Holy Spirit of God. It is a futile sacrifice!
And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. I Samuel 15:22
Christian, God desires obedience to His word. (Psalm 119:9) We cannot fully obey Him if we are not born again by His Spirit. (John 3:3, John 3:5) We cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit if we are not hearing Him. Let us enter our daily reading with spiritual ears – let us enter the Lord’s house with spiritual ears. Let us be ready to hear what the Lord has for us. Seven times, the Lord tells us, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” in the Book of Revelation. He also says 18 times in the New Testament, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” He wants us to hear Him. He desires to communicate with us through His word! Luke 4:4 states that we cannot live by bread alone but by every word of God. He has given us His word through the King James Bible – Now we must be ready to listen!
After hearing what the Lord has to say, let’s put it to action: repent, be a testimony and tell others about the Lord, Jesus Christ!