“Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools …” (Ecclesiastes 5:1)
Here is a good word for many of us: when we draw near to the Lord in our devotional times, let us do it more to LISTEN, than to speak our own mind to Him.
Verse 2 follows up: “Do not be hasty in word of impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.”
How many times do we “offer the counsel of fools” to God, as if we would advise from earth Him who sits in heaven, Who has a much better perspective than we do, as :2 indicates. Too often our prayers include what may be termed as “advice” to God on how He should arrange things, like: “Lord, help that surgeon to take that mass out right in between those two arteries …” and so on. How presumptuous we are! God sees from heaven what we have no idea about here on earth. So as the verse exhorts, let our words be few. Let us pour out the poor incense of our prayers before His throne, and let His Spirit intercede for us according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).
James 1:19 says we should “be quick to hear, slow to speak …”. We typically apply this verse to HUMAN conversations, but it is certainly applicable to the Divine conversation in prayer as well. Let us be ready to LISTEN to Him, not to tell Him what He already knows! How do we “hear” Him? God’s Spirit will speak His truth to us through His word!
A godly pastor was once asked if he had to choose between praying, and reading scripture, which he would choose. He replied that both are vital, but forced to choose, he would pick the word of God, because it was more important for him to hear what God had to say, than for God to hear what HE had to say!
This is something like the Preacher of Ecclesiastes is telling us today: let us “draw near to LISTEN”!