Coram Deo or Fool's Religion
Topic: Exposition Scripture: Ecclesiastes 5:1–5:7
Not Wandering Alone, A Message from MCs
Coram Deo and Fool's Gold
1Guard 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.
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.
Craig G. Bartholomew, Ecclesiastes, 203-204
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.
On Wordy Disrespect
On Sincere Prayer
Part of the exercise of prayer is sincerity, without which God looks not upon it as prayer in a good sense (Psa 16:1–4). Then “ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer 29:12–13). The want of this made the Lord reject their prayers in Hosea 7:14, where he saith, “They have not cried unto me with their heart,” that is, in sincerity, “when they howled upon their beds.” But for a pretence, for a show in hypocrisy, to be seen of men, and applauded for the same, they prayed.
John Bunyan, vol. 1, A Discourse Touching Prayer. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2006), 623.
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.
Context—On Making Vows
The vow (neder) here was limited to the presentation of goods or property as the context makes clear, but vows could also be pledges of service (Gen 28:20; 31:13; Num 6:2, 5, 21; 1 Sam 1:11) or, more technically, part of the regular worship services of the tabernacle or temple (Num 15:8; 29:39; Deut 12:6, 17; 1 Sam 1:21; Ps 66:13).
Eugene H. Merrill, vol. 4, Deuteronomy, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 315.
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.
Two Mistakes we Make
- God as My Buddy
- God as Eye of Sauron
Don’t Participate in Fool’s Religion
- In what ways do you draw near to God, his Word and worship gatherings to listen? In what ways do you “go through the motions” and really offer a sacrifice of fools?
- Do you tend too talk to much? Do you make boasts about what you will do for God? Do you think you can get God to do your will by your religious action and dedication? Do you think God owes you something?
- In what ways do you “fake it?” Why do we try to appear to be more devout than we really are? Are we still faking it now, not willing to admit that we do this?
- Discuss how knowing life is lived Coram Deo can call us to honesty with God and one another.
- In what ways can we shape a culture where we can be real with where we are and yet call one another to reverence the Lord and walk in his ways?