We will gather ONLINE ONLY this Sunday @ 10:00 am

Listening

To say that we live in busy times feels like an insufficient understatement. Maybe for many or most of us, it can be a significant challenge to slow down, and to enjoy what is meaningful and beautiful in life--to embrace Jesus' teachings on real living, that include considering the flowers that spring up from the earth around us, that can otherwise go unnoticed. Sometimes, or often, this lifestyle rush crosses over into our approach to our Father in heaven.

In fifth chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon teaches about worship, and the right and wrong way to enter the presence of the Lord. He begins with these words, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God,” and, “draw near to listen,” and, “don’t let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God.” He finishes the thought with the reason that care is needed as we approach God, because “God is in heaven and you are on earth.”

Ecclesiastes 5:1 tells us to “draw near to listen,” and carries with it the idea that correct, biblical “listening” presupposes a heart bent towards obedience.  In this passage, we’re instructed that worship begins with our mouths closed and our ears open to the great God whom we love and serve.

The “listening” described here is not a half-hearted activity, but requires focus and commitment, preparation and deliberate thought. Solomon reminds us at the close of this section, that “God is the one you must fear.” The fear of God is essentially the respect and reverence due Him, remembering His position, and mine: “He is in heaven, and I am on earth.” He is immeasurably greater and more powerful than I can imagine, and a recognition of His majesty is a fitting heart-attitude for worship.

As one of the worship leaders at our church, I’m used to preparation before a corporate worship service. But too often, I rush into personal prayer or worship without much forethought. Letting my heart become, or just remain, quiet before Him as I enter his presence is becoming the core of my communion with the Lord. As we approach God in prayer and worship through listening first, and then perhaps, offering words, our reverent expression is made in the context of His sovereign greatness; He makes and remakes us in wholeness, and fellowship with Him can be a place of peace.
--J. Harper