But, perhaps I got it wrong? The paraphrase below takes a more positive tack, and in the process challenges us to rethink our behavior in God's house.
ECCLESIASTES 5 FOR TODAY
Watch your step when you go to church. This is not some habit or ritual that you go through, unmindful of the fact that you are in God’s presence. Don’t be so foolish as to think that God is merely taking attendance and has no interest in your attitude; you don’t get points for just showing up. True worship consists of listening to God, not just going through the motions.
Don’t be too quick to speak, either. Keep in mind, you’re in the presence of the Master of the Universe; you’re at church for worship! All too often going to church serves as nothing more than an opportunity to catch up on the latest gossip or to criticize and complain. The effect of this is that you go to God’s house, and in his very presence, you honor Satan rather than him!
Think I’m overstating my case? Listen to yourself and what you talk about at church. When your mind wanders because of other preoccupations, it will come out in your speech and you will have a clear indication of where your focus is. All too often, it’s not on worship.
Remember that when you gave your heart to Christ, you made an all-encompassing commitment. This commitment includes your behavior at church. Don’t be so foolish as to say you are a Christian and then to come into the very presence of God in his house and act as though your behavior doesn’t matter. Keep your word to God by watching your words at church. You’d be better off never having committed to Christ in the first place than to have taken his name in vain.
Keep in mind that there is a direct association between what is in your heart and what comes out of your mouth. When your heart is wrong, your speech is too, and when you are careless in your speech, your entire being is at risk of eternal loss. And whatever you do, don’t add insult to injury - don’t dare excuse your sinful behavior by saying that it was no big deal, that surely God wouldn’t make you accountable for such a trivial mistake as that. When you do, you’ve not only scorned God but everything he stands for besides.
The fact is that your wandering mind and undisciplined speech leave you in a very precarious position before God - much better to give him the honor and respect he is due when you come into his house, and to show it through your attitude and demeanor.
© Alister L. Hunt Ph.D