I just had one of those moments when God led me somewhere in His word I didn’t set out to go so I’d read something I really needed to hear.
The concept of stopping to listen to God isn’t new to me. It’s something I do regularly – though it’s frequently a battle. (Journaling my time of listening is a huge help.) But these verses I know I’ve read many times before struck me in a new and profound way.
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 – emphasis mine).
I stopped and grabbed my journal and wrote:
Sure, I know I need to have a heart prepared – seeking, humbled, and repentant – to worship God. And I always ask the Holy Spirit to guide my worship – help me fight distractions and focus on Him alone.
But what if I need to “go near to listen” first, so I’m not too “quick” or “hasty” (or NASB says, “impulsive”) in what I “utter” to Him? (Me? Impulsive?)
I’m already careful about how I enter worship, but this made my worship-loving mouth fall open.
What if stopping – really stopping – to ask my God, “What do you want me to know? What do you want from me today?”, made my worship more pure . . . intimate . . . or beautiful to Him.
• Maybe He wants to “guard my steps” as I enter worship – help me slow down and focus on Him so I can better fight distractions or move beyond the tradition.
• Maybe He wants me to give the Holy Spirit space to reveal an unnoticed sin.
• Maybe He wants me to surrender something to Him that I’m clinging too tightly to that might keep me from surrendering to Him.
• Or perhaps He wants to remind me of His unfailing love, new mercies, or resurrection power as I enter my time at His feet.
I obviously can’t out-guess what God might want to do with that time, only that He’s requested it – so I need to do it. That’s all I need to know. Plus, it’s inviting the promised work of His Holy Spirit within us!
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).
That doesn’t mean that I don’t need to listen for Him during worship. (Perhaps that’s another post.) Just that I need to remember to begin my time by inviting whatever He has for me there.
So whether I’m entering a time of worship at home or at my church,
“ . . . the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him” (2 Chronicles 15:2).
God, may I be obedient to stop and listen for You. Increase my longing and ability to hear Your voice so I might be better prepared to offer you what you deserve and desire from me in worship. Thank You for Your love that invites and allows me into Your presence.
How do you see the concept of “listen MORE and listen FIRST” helping your worship life?
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